Everyday life in store during COVID-19: Finland

fbtIn Finland, many customers wear a protective mask and gloves while they are out shopping. The staff wear gloves and offer hand sanitiser at the checkout.
“I would say to all my colleagues to stay strong during these changing times,” says Satu Sarantaus, store manager in Helsinki.

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting our sales hard. But our colleagues in our stores are doing their utmost every day to provide customers with good service, in the safest possible way. In this four-part series of articles you will get to meet some of them. Today you meet Satu Sarantaus, store manager in Helsinki, Finland.

“Although the situation is scary and new to us, we have tried to adapt to a new way of working as well as possible,” she says.

Just like in Sweden, the stores in Finland have stayed open during the whole pandemic. But the number of customers has decreased and opening hours have been reduced.

“We work mainly alone in the store, even for the whole day throughout the store’s opening hours.  Working days are different from before because there are fewer of us at work and we are working fewer hours,” says Satu Sarantaus.

What safety actions have you taken regarding the pandemic in your store?

“We all wear gloves in the store all the time and this way we can also accept cash. When we take a break, we always wash our hands thoroughly. The customers have mostly made sure they leave a safe distance in the store and now we also have floor stickers to remind them of this at the checkout. Many customers wear a protective mask and protective gloves. We have hand sanitiser at the checkout and some customers have this with them when they are out shopping.”

In Satu Sarantaus’ store they have kept the fitting rooms open at the request of their customers.
“I feel that we are all aware of the current situation and that we are responsible enough to take care of our own safety as well as the safety of others. Finding the right size is really important and a lot of the time, customers are likely to not buy a garment unless they can try it on in store. I also think it’s important that customer don’t have to come back to return garments since visiting public places is not recommended.”

Satu Sarantaus emphasises that the most important task for the staff is to take care of customers’ needs.

“We welcome everyone and try to create as safe an atmosphere as we can. Many people have been at home for a long time. It has been nice to see that our loyal customers are coming back and are really happy to finally be out shopping again.”

Do you have any tips for your colleagues during these times?

“I would say to all my colleagues to say strong during these changing times. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but let’s try to make the most of today and these moments, because the situation is slowly returning to “normal”. We must take one day at a time. Wishing everyone a sunny spring!”

In a few days’ time you’ll get to read about what it’s like to work in a store in Norway during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we meet Marit Storlien, store manager in Jessheim. Keep an eye on KappAhl Blog!

Posted by Elina Bratt Lejring