Melissa Snover, the Founder and CEO of Nourished and Scripted, has amassed an impressive track record in business and is now using her experience and skills to adapt to the changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure the job security of her team and the overall longevity of the business.
Over the last few months, Melissa and the team at Nourished have been adapting their tech start-up business to utilise its in-house resources to help those most vulnerable within the UK and join the fight against COVID-19.
Melissa said: “As a full-stack food production business, it was vital that we get out in front of the crisis as soon as humanly possible. As soon as we heard the news of the spread to Europe, we began emergency planning and implemented programmes across the board to ensure the safety of the team and the business as a whole.
“Our entire commercial team began remote working, and we provided transportation, food and PPE for all factory employees. We also implemented temperature checks when entering the site and provided accommodation for those in need.
“By establishing heightened hygiene protocols and introducing incentives to keep our on-site staff safe, production has been able to continue to meet the growing demand from consumers for personalised nutrition”
In a bid to support the community as much as possible, alongside regular online orders, the company has been making ‘Inner Defence’ nutrient stacks – a proprietary blend of high-impact active ingredients designed to help boost the body’s immune system – to donate to key workers within the NHS, care homes and the British army.
Nourished also transformed its R&D lab into a facility to make hand sanitiser, which has been donated to key workers, as well as being distributed to customers for free. Moreover, its tech department has been busy 3D printing PPE visors in the company’s 3D Lab Farm, which have been donated to Birmingham City Council for distribution amongst the local community.
Despite these changes, lockdown has brought unprecedented challenges for the young start-up. At only 6 months old, and without receiving any financial support from the government, the company has had to reallocate budget meant for expansion to allow for purchases such as bicycles, food deliveries and private car hire for production staff to help keep them safe, healthy and motivated.
Sickness rates within the small team have also increased, compounded with employees in self-isolation for 2 weeks to comply with the government’s guidelines. Remaining staff have, as a result, naturally been put under additional pressure to meet growing demand with a reduced workforce.
Melissa commented: “I’ve been spending a significant amount of time holding remote morale meetings to check in with different departments and to ensure all staff feel supported. We have catch-up calls every morning to ensure projects are still on track and the team still feel connected. It’s certainly a change of pace from our pre-Coronavirus day-to-day but being flexible and responding to the team’s needs is essential at a time like this.”
The business is readying itself for the inevitable changing landscape once lockdown ends. Thus far, Nourished has been able to survive due to its agile culture and its model of being an online subscription service in the nutrition industry – 3D printing all of its products on demand and sourcing 90% of its supply chain from within the UK.
“I am extremely thankful that we’ve been fortunate enough not to have to furloughed anyone, which has for many simply been a necessity. At this moment in time, as the business stands, we’re keen to start hiring more support as soon as it’s safe and sensible to do so.” Melissa added.
Flexibility and innovation will be crucial for any business within the UK that hopes to survive. Moreover, businesses must remain responsive and inventive after this pandemic to meet changing customer lifestyles, consumer demands and new methods of doing business.
Consumer behaviour will be significantly different when the COVID-19 crisis is over. Nourished is already experiencing a higher level of consumer interest in nutrition, and the data suggests this will continue to increase after normality resumes as people seek to protect themselves and their health as a priority for the future.
Melissa reflects: “The loss and isolation we feel as a nation due to the pandemic has made us more aware of what matters most in life – our family, our friends and our health.”
For more information on Melissa and Nourished visit get-nourished.com.
Melissa’s top 5 tips on managing your teams during the pandemic:
The pandemic is difficult for everyone and working remotely whilst looking after children, worrying about loved ones etc. can put unprecedented stress on your teams. Checking in with your team regularly with one-to-ones is a great way to show support, but mental health is a very private matter and so grant each employee access to a confidential private health care service which has a designated call line to help people struggling in the current climate.
If your teams are working on-site, it is vital to ensure they feel safe and supported by adhering to social distancing guidelines and introducing new hygiene measures wherever possible, of course. But it’s also important to keep them motivated by showcasing great work, customer feedback and the impact of their community support. People always respond better when they feel a sense of pride in what they do, and we try to instil this in all of our team and activities.
Let your teams know how much you appreciate them. The lack of face-to-face interaction and constant communication via email can feel very impersonal. Make a quick call to those who are doing a great job to let them know how much you value them – it will go a long way.
Don’t lose the fun: Before COVID-19 hit I would regularly take my entire team out for drinks and dinners after work but as this is no longer possible, we have adapted and now do a quiz on Zoom where they can learn about their teammates every other week. Social interaction is important and it’s one of the things that’s really been cut from everyone’s lives at the moment. So, stop the work and do something fun – simply laughing and enjoying each other’s company renews the soul and the bonds within the team, I highly recommend it.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, your team or your business: This crisis is unprecedented and will be the defining event of our lifetime. It’s hard for everyone, at different times and in different ways. If you are flying high one day, then losing ground and want to cry the next – just know that you are not alone and that we will get through this… together.