19 Aug Lisa leaves beloved school role to manage Contacta’s office
Lisa Thomas has worked as Contacta’s office manager for four years but she still has very fond memories of the primary school children she used to work with.
After many years in the travel industry, term-time work better suited the needs of her family and she took a job as a teaching assistant at her son’s primary school in Kent.
“I loved it,” she says. “I was working with the children with special educational needs and I had ten very happy years there. It worked perfectly for us when our son was small but after that, we were needlessly tied to the school holidays.”
A new challenge
Lisa is married to Contacta’s Market Development Director, Andrew Thomas. When the business was looking for administration support, Lisa was able to step in.
“My role has developed since I joined Contacta. My responsibilities range from the general day-to-day running of the office, ensuring that Contacta remains compliant with health and safety regulations and various accreditations, managing the company’s training requirements and HR roles such as inducting new staff. I also manage the fleet of company vehicles,” says Lisa.
Preparing for lockdown
The advent of COVID brought fresh challenges for Lisa as she needed to prepare the team for the transition to working from home in early 2020.
“The first thing we did was to make sure everyone had a laptop,” she remembers. “The staff took them home with them every night so that if lockdown was suddenly announced, they could carry on working.
“When it did come, the transition went quite smoothly because we’d prepared well.”
Health and safety compliance became more of a challenge at this stage as new processes and procedures were required such as making sure engineers on the road had supplies of face masks and hand sanitiser.
As businesses installed safety screens to prevent the spread of infection, demand for our window intercom systems surged and engineers needed protection when they visited customer sites.
The return to the office
Now, Lisa is focused on bringing people back into the office in as safe a way as possible.
“Although working from home has many benefits and has worked well for most, our teams missed the social interaction of working in the office. So, we’ve organised a day for each team to come back in. We put together guidelines so that everyone knew what to expect – these include doing a lateral flow test before coming in and maintaining social distancing while they’re in the office.
“Our measures are perhaps stricter than some premises but so far, it’s kept our staff well and able to carry on working.”
Lisa is hoping that, now COVID restrictions have eased, celebrations for Contacta’s 50th anniversary can soon go ahead.
“We had big plans for marking the occasion in 2020 but we had to postpone them because of the pandemic. I’m looking forward to us all being able to celebrate this milestone birthday soon.”