Covid-19: White Stuff implements new warehouse shift system

Fashion retailer White Stuff has adopted a new shift system in its Leicester warehouse to help its employees follow social distancing best practice during the current health emergency.

UK citizens have been advised to avoid unnecessary trips out of their homes, and to maintain two metres' distance from others to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. That is the offical government guidance on appropriate social distancing, to help slow down infection rates of a disease which has now killed 422 people in the UK. 

In an email to customers, White Stuff's CEO, Jo Jenkins, said the changes to its operations “ensures social distancing at all times”, but she warned that – like other retailers which are adapting to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis – home delivery times may now be impacted.

“We hope to be able to continue to deliver our high levels of service (three to five days as standard), but things may be a little slower than normal on both the delivery and returns front,” Jenkins wrote, asking customers to bear with the team at this unique time.

“We are also adopting a strict policy of social distancing in our customer care team [also based in Leicester] too and therefore would ask you to avoid calling wherever possible.”

Instead, Jenkins encouraged customers to contact the team via live chat technology already installed on the website, or by email.

“There are many more people working from home, waiting to deal with any questions you might have,” she added.

Like many other retailers, including John Lewis, Waterstones, and Paperchase, White Stuff closed its shops at the end of trading on Monday (23 March) in a move to help protect its staff and customers from the spread of the virus. A few hours later prime minister, Boris Johnson, ordered all non-essential retailers to close shops temporarily, reflecting similar demands on pubs, clubs, restaurants, and gyms the previous week.

White Stuff has also extended its returns deadline to 90 days, telling customers “please don’t worry about returning stuff to us – we can deal with that when the storm has lifted”.

The retailer said it will hold onto any outstanding click & collect orders, although it will redirect these products to people’s home addresses or offer a refund based on their specific requirements.

White Stuff also announced it is working on producing content to distribute to its customers during these times where people are being encouraged to stay at home. The retailer calls this content a “magalogue”.