How ARC Used Ubeya’s Flexible System to Power Through COVID

Talking with our friends at ARC Hospitality, we learned the difference that a great workforce management system can make in the midst of trying and uncertain times.
Never did any of us anticipate the world-changing impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Amongst many that felt the brunt of the newly imposed lockdowns and gathering limitations, not many industries were as hard-hit as staffing agencies, including our friends at ARC Hospitality. Thankfully, Ubeya's workforce management system was able to ease their transition into new areas as circumstances rapidly changed.

Ubeya and ARC Hospitality have had a longstanding, harmonious business relationship. Since integrating their 12,000+ employees into their Ubeya database, ARC, like most businesses worldwide, fully felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Before the pandemic shifted the paradigm of their business model, ARC was staffing some of the UK’s largest and most extravagant events including festivals, races, Christmas parties, soccer games, and concerts.

As the pandemic loomed, restricting gatherings throughout the UK, they needed to adjust, and fast. Fortunately, the ingenuity and flexibility of ARC’s amazing leadership persevered, and we’re happy to say Ubeya proved to be one of their most useful tools in these trying times. It turns out being on board with Ubeya pre-pandemic simplified and brought order to much of the chaos. With workers of all statuses, whether that be full-time, part-time, or students who can only work weekends, ARC needed a system as flexible as their workforce and its needs.

Where it Started

In March 2020, the world began to feel the impacts of COVID, which gave way to more stringent measures than anyone could have anticipated. At the behest of these measures were event staffing agencies. Relying on large-scale events (or any sort of event at all) became a frightening proposition. How could a staffing agency geared toward supplying workers almost exclusively for large gatherings manage to cope under such circumstances? According to Lizzie Wright, Senior Operations Manager at ARC Hospitality, the company saw a 95% drop-off in events when the pandemic first hit. “The only workforce still in function were cleaning roles,” she told us.

Circumstances were constantly changing. COVID cases were concentrated in different regions of the UK, even in areas where ARC was not particularly active. This necessitated an ever-changing landscape to ARC’s business operations, mobilizing their staffers in new areas at a moment’s notice. “As opposed to putting staff together for a predetermined day, we needed to pick up staff daily because the needs were changing so rapidly,” Lizzie said. The fear of the pandemic, whose impact was still far from understood, along with the changing business landscape around the world presented total uncertainty. 

The Answer  

With the rapid adjustments and “business as usual” being anything but usual, ARC had to change course for its business operation instantly. Facing urgent staffing needs in scattered locations throughout the UK, Ubeya proved to be the ideal employee management solution. “In an instant, we found ourselves providing staff to scan QR codes, direct traffic, and hand out PPE at COVID testing centers,” said Maddie Milton, ARC’s Marketing and Communications Director. “Ubeya helped us stay up-to-date and immediately send crucial notifications to our workers as opposed to having to do cluttered, manual email chains and text messages.” 

Along with the urgency felt in everyone’s personal lives, so came the urgency to make placements on a last-minute notice. Lizzie told us, “Obviously with hospitals, they don't really know what's going to happen [on a day-to-day basis]. So they may only know the morning of that they need someone that night. In the old days, it would be difficult to pull that off, because you need to know which staff might be available and who I can call last minute who may be available.” Reflecting on methods of the past, she noted she could spend time waiting on replies to emails or text message, but, Lizzy says, “now I can send that message to 2000 people in London and more likely than not will get someone to work that night because everyone gets that push notification at the exact same time and it takes less than 3 minutes to send it.”

...Now it’s the push of a button and we can send a notification to everyone on the staff with a change or a reminder. That would have taken hours pre-Ubeya.
-Lizzie Wright, Senior Operations Manager at ARC Hospitality

Streamlining Communication

Ubeya’s communication tools helped ARC maintain a familiar sense of connectivity in an otherwise chaotic and uncertain time. “Communication [tools] improved the staff experience as a whole,” Lizzie said. “It made our staffers feel part of a community as opposed to receiving one-off emails. The additional shared information and interaction helped strengthen our community.” 

Additionally, Ubeya actually made the sporadic scheduling changes tenable, helping to streamline and reduce the clutter that comes with communicating in a constantly shifting timeline. When asked how Ubeya specifically helped ARC transition to the new world of working with COVID, Lizzie told us “I think the biggest thing is the ease of communication with the staff.” “We used to very much be in this email chain with the staff where we’d send an email, get a reply a few hours (or a few days) later and we’d have to do phone calls.” She continued,  “It was a lot of texting too. It was totally manual and took a lot of time. Now it’s the push of a button and we could send a notification to everyone on the staff for a shift with a change or a reminder. That would have taken hours pre-Ubeya.”

Employee Management Solutions Make a Difference

Weathering a storm doesn't happen by chance; it involves a fair bit of preparation before the storm comes. In order to stay afloat following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of troubling questions came to the forefront for business owners. How can I keep my business afloat in these uncertain times? With constantly changing regulations and circumstances, how can I keep my employees safe, informed, and updated?

It turns out that having a trustworthy employee management solution alleviates many, if not all of these types of concerns. While there are variables beyond our control, having a reliable system in place before these problems arise brings order to chaos.

We thank our friends at ARC Hospitality for sharing their experiences and look forward to helping them, and many companies like them, moving forward.