Dear Team

What a week!

Welcome to the new normal. I don’t think any of us thought that we would end up with almost the entire company working from home when the first news of coronavirus came out of China at the end of last year. Now we know that the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister have both been infected it brings home the fact that we are all vulnerable. As they used to say on Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there!”.

Thank you to all of our amazing CNG staff who have embraced this difficult change. We continue to get feedback from brokers and customers that CNG has responded to the COVID-19 challenge better than any of our competitors. We might be going through a difficult time, but we are still very much open for business. Our competitors have stopped offering new contracts. We have not. We even managed to deliver the CAMP project. CNG is awesome in a crisis!

In addition to the government’s immediate support for workers and the self-employed, it seems that government is also now engaged in supporting the energy industry. Initially, this was focused on the domestic sector. It now looks like the non-domestic sector is getting attention as well. We have completed surveys for government covering our response to the crisis and highlighting the areas that we feel need attention. We are hopeful that there will be some meaningful intervention to support the industry and keep energy and money flowing.

Everyone has had to learn something new this week, but we are learning and learning quickly. Now we have WEBEX we will be able to communicate across the whole group online and will host regular update sessions. Once things return to normal – and they will – then CNG will have the benefit of having made the transition to being a more digital business. That will be a great advantage in the future.

I don’t know about you, but I felt quite emotional on Thursday evening as the nation paused to thank our wonderful NHS staff for the amazing job they are doing. I have worked all over the world – there is nothing even close to the NHS anywhere else. It is easy to criticize healthcare as we can never get enough of it, but I hope at the end of this crisis people will have fallen back in love with our amazing NHS and no-one will ever argue about the tax and national insurance that we have to pay to support it. The health of our entire nation depends on looking after the health of the weakest and most vulnerable. Over the years, the NHS has saved the lives of two of my sons, and I am personally grateful every day for the care they provide.

People who survive in difficult circumstances tend to combine optimism with realism. I remain optimistic that we will beat the virus, pubs will open again and that I will be able to go on the holiday to Mauritius that I was supposed to be on this week. However, I am realistic about the timescales for this and would advise everyone to be ready for at least 12 weeks of continued lockdown before we are in a position to start travelling and socialising again. In the meantime, let’s keep learning new skills and invest time and effort in nurturing our closest relationships. Life is normally so busy that having a few weeks to step back may be a blessing in disguise. Why not rediscover old hobbies, books or music that you used to love but have forgotten about? Personally, I have been listening to U2, Bob Marley and The Beatles whilst working in my home office. I am also rereading Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance which is my favourite book of all time and have watched Casablanca for at least the 100th time, which is my favourite movie. Why not share your favourite music, books and movies with colleagues to keep the conversation going?

CNG, you are doing an awesome job!

Stay safe. Stronger together. Safer apart.

PaulPaul

Working from home may be something completely different for a lot of you and you may find it difficult to adjust at first. We‘ve put together a few tips to help you get the most out of the day!

Being a parent is a full time job as it is, so believe us, we know working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here is a little gift from HR to all you parents.
Health and safety in the home is just as important as it is in the office, without the correct equipment it can mean sitting incorrectly or awkwardly whilst working, resulting in stiffness or injury. HR have put together some health and safety tips for the home!

Like everything in life, it is important that we keep moving! There are many different things you can do to get you and your family moving!

As we are now spending all of our time at home, it is arguably more important than ever to make sure our homes and habits are as energy efficient as possible.Top tips to keep your energy bill down:

Let natural light in!

Make the most of the natural light! Try set up your office in the brightest room in the house and have the curtains wide open (it will also help improve your mood!).

Wrap up warm

Try to resist the temptation to have the heating on in hours you wouldn’t normally, put those extra layers on and wrap up warm – even use a hot water bottle if you are really cold!

Unplug

Unplug anything you aren’t using; phone chargers, laptop chargers and anything that may be on standby mode and using unnecessary energy – eg the TV!

In these unprecedented times, we wanted to celebrate the fantastic ways that you have all been coming together!

CAMP: CNGs Asset Management Project (CAMP) – that’s purpose was to deliver a brand new system to manage all our assets and asset data in one single place, is now live! There were lots of people involved, all working tirelessly to ensure this was delivered and we wouldn’t have got here without the exceptional levels of commitment and professionalism shown – so thank you!

We successfully rolled out 180 employees working from home - to put that into perspective, before the Coronavirus pandemic only 56 people had the facilities to work remotely! In just one week, IT built and delivered 50+ laptops, and set up 39 personal laptops – that is AMAZING!

Thank you so much to all the volunteers from Onboarding, Wholesale, Customer Experience, Finance, DAM, Sales, Billing and Electricity, who supported on direct debit calls out to customers to try and manage cancellations!

We know these are really difficult times for everyone, but we want to reassure you that you are not alone. It is really important more now than ever to make sure you are keeping in touch with your family, friends and your team mates! Set up group chats, host daily webinar meetings, FaceTime and Call – we are all in this together and we are better when we are connected.

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