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Fast and agile; how Sodexo responds to crisis

Within 48 hours, our teams mobilized to serve the first British Coronavirus evacuees returning from Wuhan, China. With highly customized food, concierge, and security services, we supported them 24 hours a day during their 14-day quarantine at Arrowe Park hospital near Liverpool, working closely with the NHS team, Public Health England, the local authority and police.

With the enthusiasm and support of our dedicated team, we have been on the front-lines from China to the US, pivoting and adjusting day by day as we see supplies dwindle, needs change, and efforts increase to stop the spread. 

Creative solutions and community minded clients for an urgent healthcare response

While sports arenas and other entertainment or commercial spaces don’t usually come to mind when thinking of health, our clients acted rapidly and selflessly to open up closed facilities to aid in the COVID-19 response. And, as partners, Sodexo brought the expertise, precision, and speed expected by our clients and needed to combat the virus.

One of the most critical elements to #FlattenTheCurve is access to testing. We are setting up drive-through and spacious COVID-19 testing centers for healthcare providers and other key workers at sports arenas, convention centers, and airports across the world in partnership with the UK’s Department for Health & Social Care as well as with Boots and Deloitte.

Left virtually empty and craving use, these buildings have ample space and parking to safely test and process large numbers of people. Within just two or three days, each center is fully mobilized due to the teamwork of our Sports & Leisure segment joining forces with our Healthcare, Government, and Business segments.

Man wearing protective gloves and mask, thumb upWorking at the newly established Covid-19 testing centers is a complete change for workers that have been redeployed from their usual roles in now closed Universities, Leisure Lounges, or sports arenas, but the helping feeling is immense.  Carlos, a cleaner moved from a university to a testing center said:

“This is different to the work I’m used to - because of the risk of contamination. Initially I had no idea what we would accomplish, and when I found out I was very happy to be able to be part of it.” 

On average Sodexo has between 30 and 50 people working at each centre every day and to date over 250,000 items of PPE and cleaning materials have been supplied to testing center teams. Sodexo’s involvement in the testing centres includes:

  • Infrastructure build
  • Estates management
  • Security and traffic management
  • Cleaning
  • Resourcing and Testing – in partnership with Boots and other agencies 
  • Supply Chain
  • Waste management

“It has never been more apparent that our business lives and breathes its values. I applaud colleagues who had previously worked at a racecourse serving hospitality packages or had cleaned busy offices, for moving across to use their skills in a hospital or other healthcare environments that urgently needs their help right now. We stand ready to respond to further requests for support as the pandemic unfolds.” - Sean Haley, Regional Chair, Sodexo UK & Ireland

Meet other workers who have been redeployed, like Andrew, from a library in Edinburgh, Scotland, to the Glasgow Airport testing center.  

Safety supplies are in very short supply all over the world

Those that have it are stock-piling it in case they have an outbreak, and those in hot zones are using through their supplies in record time, leaving the average worker and business with nothing for prevention. Our expert supply procurement teams have synchronized and are working hard across the world to ensure our clients and employees have access to what they need. In Australia, Sodexo’s Support Centre employees were all-hands-on-deck to assemble, pack and distribute COVID-19 infection control kits to sites around the country. Rather than engaging a contractor, employees teamed up to pack hundreds of kits in-house to ensure they were delivered to sites as quickly as possible. 
Sodexo australian teams preparing safety paksThe contents of the COVID-19 kits contain:

  • Chemical gloves 
  • Safety goggles 
  • Single-use protective boot covers 
  • Single-use apron/gown or coverall 
  • Thermometers 
  • Disposable Cleaning Wipes 
  • Disposable Mop Liners 
  • Biological Hazardous Waste Bags

Across the world things can change rapidly and unexpectedly, and despite being one of the world’s largest companies, our team spirit, service spirit, and strong local connections allow us to be flexible and make major adjustments within hours to respond to a crisis.

Read about Sodexo's other efforts to mobilize and support clients and employees affected by the health crisis.

April 23, 2020

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