People & Perspectives

A Day in the Life at WBA: Managing a Boots store during a pandemic

Read what life has been like for a Boots store manager in Glasgow, Scotland – an employee of an essential business that’s open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amanda in a Boots Store smiling at the camera

Amanda headshotAmanda Thomson, Boots store manager, says the team spirit at her store in the Glasgow Silverburn Shopping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, has never been stronger.

Things are very different than how they used to be, and at the moment, we’re the only business still open in our shopping center. Some of our team is self-isolating, but for those of us still in store, we’re working our usual hours with the store closing slightly earlier at 6 p.m. instead of 9.

It’s a team effort

What has struck me most is how our team spirit has become stronger than ever. I’m so proud of my team for stepping up to this challenge and caring not just for our customers, but also for each other. Two of our colleagues from the Benefit cosmetics counter volunteered to continue working in store to support our health care efforts. Their extra help has meant one of our pharmacy advisors could work at a local Boots pharmacy that needed additional support. Our pre-registration pharmacist – what we call pharmacy grads who are training to become practicing pharmacists in the UK – volunteered to deliver medication to a patient who couldn’t easily get to the store. Our pharmacists have been focused on looking after patients, while the rest of the team has been fantastic at managing queues and implementing social distancing.

Looking after each other

I keep talking to my team to find out how they are doing and to make sure everyone is coping with all that is happening. Of course there have been some wobbles; we’re all concerned for the well-being of our colleagues and family. I’m lucky that I’ve got a family at home, but I’m aware that a lot of people live on their own. For some of our team in that situation, coming into work has been a welcome sense of normalcy that brings routine to their day. I’ve made sure to remind everyone about the help and support that’s available beyond our team, such as Lifeworks, a helpline for Boots colleagues, and the Boots Benevolent Fund. We’ve also been finding fun ways to keep up morale, such as prize draws or cooking delicious food. One of our colleagues recently turned 40, and because their plans had been cancelled, we organized a special birthday celebration in store with balloons and breakfast.

Everyone is affected in some way

At the start of all this, customers were queuing to get into the shopping center, but now there’s a steady flow with two or three people allowed into the store at one time. We’ve watched how customers’ shopping habits have noticeably changed, with the majority coming in for prescriptions and others picking up a few essentials. Customers have been very appreciative and understanding, adhering to social distancing and knowing they might need to wait a few extra minutes before being helped. They know we’re doing all we can and that we’re simply trying to help as many people as possible.

Our personal lives are affected, too

We’re all affected in our personal lives, too, with certain hobbies no longer possible, such as supporting the local football team, which is something I definitely miss. There are always silver linings, though. I travel to work by car, and I’m quite enjoying the lack of traffic on the roads as it’s reduced my hourly commute to just 20 minutes. I also have my 4-year-old daughter waiting for me when I get home, and she helps me unwind, which can be a big relief after a busy day. We may be facing uncertain times, but one thing I know for sure is that I’ll be returning to a store where my incredible team will continue offering the very best care we can.

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