WONDERING WHAT A DAY LOOKS LIKE IN THE LIFE OF A NETFLORIST EMPLOYEE DURING A special, PEAK OCCASION?
Eventful… One word that pretty much sums up what it’s like to be a NetFlorist employee over a peak occasion like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day! Over these special, peak occasions, things can get a little crazy and we pretty much transform to Jack’s of all trades and masters of EVERY LITTLE THING!
Adjusting to circumstances we aren’t use to, making friends and memories along the way. Also battling weather elements, long days and sleepless nights (yup, we can totes survive on less than 4 hours of sleep over a peak occasion), millions of ribbons in hundreds of colours, flowers, vases and pots in any shape, size and colour and much, much more whilst still keeping our humour and sanity (somewhat) here’s a peek at what it takes to make every peak occasion a success!
Firstly, we have to mention our drivers that go above and beyond to make sure your flowers and gifts get delivered to your loved ones on time. Vans and vehicles are packed and ready to go at 5am in the morning and are checked out by staff from other departments so they can make their deliveries as soon as possible. Stress not though, they don’t start knocking on doors from 5am. Instead they plot their route and then travel to their first destination where they wait until a reasonable hour to knock on the door and present someone special with something that’ll make the rest of their day.
In order to deliver over 22,000 orders, we enlist the help of temporary staff. Some temporary drivers take leave from their permanent jobs each and every year to join the fleet of drivers over the peak occasion. They’re joined by part-time students and even home executives. Hundreds of temp drivers and NetFlorist vehicles are seen in masses on the roads and in our very little parking lot to deliver each and every gift.
Secondly, the NetFlorist bunch, no matter which department they work in, become hamper packers, call centre agents, dispatch officers, drivers and florists. Trust me when I say that folding a box and tying a ribbon is much harder than you would ever think it could be. Many trials and errors go into tying the perfect ribbon to make sure that our gifts look perfect when it arrives at your loved ones’ front doors. Even our managing director gets his hands dirty and helps out wherever he can! Yes, we personally saw him tie ribbons, fold boxes and check-out drivers at 5am on Friday morning! When a peak occasion comes around, it doesn’t matter who you are and what you do, you go out of your way to ensure that things run as smooth as possible.
Thirdly, we face many challenges over peak occasions, but nothing we can’t handle. These challenges include the blokes at Eskom cutting the power which trips the designers’ and developer’s computers (it doesn’t auto-save) and call centre going offline and not being able to help customers. Everything pretty much goes haywire when the power is out. We had two solar powered lamps in our high-value safe to have a little light when packing certain products for the gifts. The haywire part being that we had to ensure that we take the milk chocolate truffles and not the coconut ones and vice versa. In the semi-light all the wrapping colours look alike making you think you picked the blue ones and then realising you really took the green ones!
Another challenge adding to the madness; a fuse blew on our flower cold room, lowering the temperature significantly causing some of our flowers to freeze. We had to write off R30,000 worth of stock! Very sad for the floral folk, but yet they still managed to keep their smiles and stay positive!
Despite all of this, it doesn’t stop us from going above and beyond our call of duty to make sure all of our orders get to their recipients safe and sound. On just one day alone we’ve had two of our drivers survive attempted armed hijackings (one in Jo’burg and one in Durbs). Not to worry, they are both safe and sound, keeping their cool and getting away. One driver was also taken hostage earlier! A recipient wasn’t happy with the balloon she received, got into the passenger’s side of the driver’s car and made him wait with her until another driver brought a balloon to her liking. He also made it home safe and sound :-).
Clarity also results from a lack of sleep; you realise that you are working alongside Gru (Despicable Me Supervillain turned instant dad)! Apparently a lack of sleep has a way of revealing the fact that you work with an animated character in a children’s movie! As seen in the photo below:
Other exciting things also happen during this time. To ensure staff safety we prevented them from travelling late at night or too early in the morning by allowing them to sleep over in a building we hired next to us. We provided them with mattresses and they brought along their pillows and blankies that we gifted them with last year. It was definitely a building full of loud snoring, so no alarm clocks were needed the next morning if you did happen to get in a wink of sleep.
When a peak occasion falls over a weekend, it can be particularly difficult for some of our staff and managers due to religious reasons. But, despite these difficulties, they still make their way to work, every day – some even having to walk 20km just to get to work! Even if they are not allowed to chat work over the weekend, they are still here, offering moral support, ensuring everything is in order and that we’re not all losing our minds!
During this time, it’s not always all blood, sweat and tears. Everyone from every department gets together and we have a blast creating new friendships with colleagues from other departments and learning new skills. Nothing brings a company closer together than laughing while learning a skill from another department and finally understanding and appreciating their work. Between buckets of KFC, pizzas, wood wool, ribbons, tulips, lilies and roses, vases and baskets, friendships are formed. Sore feet, aching backs and tired minds are forgotten and we all become one big happy bunch!
PS. We also celebrated an employee’s very special birthday over this busy peak occasion.
SOME INTERESTING STATS:
- We experienced a 1000% growth this Mother’s Day (yes, three zeros).
- On our busiest day, we took one order every 6 seconds.
- We had somewhere near 800 people working for us over this period in all the hubs.
- 22 380 deliveries done countrywide.
- We had over 200 000 people visit our site (web and mobi).
- 220 temp drivers used countrywide, aside from our normal drivers.
- Over 800 employees were working over this period in all the hubs.
- 3065 meals were served to staff.
- 1400 delivery sheets were made.
- 10 330 calls were made to the call centre, meaning each call centre agent had to roughly take 345 calls.
- Call centre received 5 378 emails and processed a whopping 804 orders, whilst handling other duties, as well.