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NEXT To Re-open Online, Warehousing And Distribution

Next store sign Mykolastock  Shutterstockdotcom.jpg

On Thursday 26 March NEXT announced it had temporarily closed its Online business along with its Warehousing and Distribution Operations, having listened very carefully to colleagues.

NEXT has since implemented very extensive additional safety measures and having consulted with colleagues and our recognised union, USDAW, it will re-open Online in a very limited way from today, Tuesday 14 April 2020. Initially only categories that our customers most need will be offered, such as Childrenswear and selected small Home items. Other product ranges may be added at a later date.

Operations will start with support from colleagues who are willing and able to safely return to work. The idea is to begin selling in low volumes, so that we only need a small number of colleagues in each warehouse at any one time, helping to ensure rigorous social distancing is complied with.

To achieve these limited volumes, NEXT will only allow customers to order the number of items that it believes can be picked safely on any given day. At that point we will then stop taking orders and convert the website to ‘browse only’ until the following morning.

Safety First

The decision to temporarily close NEXT Online has enabled us to completely re-organise the way our warehouses work, to enable rigorous social distancing.

All our logistics operations have been adapted to include: 
● The flow around each site - ensuring safe movement when entering, moving around and exiting from each site, mainly through the establishment of clear one-way systems and some new walkways.

● The work we allocate and the places worked in - making changes to the organisation and allocation of work to ensure the two metre rule is rigorously maintained, whether someone is working at a fixed station or on a mobile task such as picking or loading.

● Sanitisation - the supplies NEXT provides and the rules that must be followed to make equipment safe for use by an individual and the next person who follows.

● A culture of safety - we have very clear guidance for employees on moving and working safely so that everyone knows what they have to do to keep themselves and their colleagues safe.

● Checking safety – NEXT will audit and enforce safety rules so that volunteers can quickly get used to the new ways of working. A confidential and anonymous whistleblowing helpline has always been in operation and this can also be used by colleagues to report immediately any breaches, potential breaches or concerns to senior management, who will then take very swift action.

Criteria for employees returning to work

In line with strict safety guidelines, NEXT has been working with its Managers and USDAW to agree a selection process to help us decide who can return to work. At this point we will only be asking individuals who wish to return to come in.

NEXT will NOT be asking (or allowing) any of the following to return at present: 
● Those who have a high temperature, a continuous cough or are required to selfisolate for any other reasons under the latest Government guidance.

● Those who are living with someone who has a high temperature, a continuous cough or are required to self-isolate for any other reasons under the latest Government guidance.

● Those classified by the Government as vulnerable due to health conditions.

● Those living with someone classified by the Government as vulnerable due to health conditions.

● Those who are unable to travel to work safely. Volunteers must either walk, cycle, drive in their own cars or share a car with someone they are living with. At this point NEXT is asking employees who rely on public transport NOT to come to work.

Source : Next PLC

Image : Mykolastock /

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14 April 2020

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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