These are extremely difficult and unprecedented times. First and foremost, our thoughts are with all families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope all of you and your loved ones stay healthy and well throughout the challenging months ahead.
At Whirli, we have been weighing up how best to balance our responsibilities to our staff and their families, to our subscribers and their families, and also to the general public’s health and well-being. We recognise the mental and financial strain extended periods of home isolation and school closures will put on parents, and Whirli’s potential role in helping alleviate these concerns.
We’ve taken the decision to keep ourselves operational and to continue providing our services for families, albeit with strong precautions in place.
Warehouse operating with occasional reduced capacity
All office-based staff will work remotely for the foreseeable future. Only myself and a bare bones crew of essential staff will operate our warehouse and fulfilment operations. In this critical period, I am personally supervising our in-person operations to ensure we are not putting our staff, customers, or the public at risk.
We are guaranteeing full pay to any staff who need to self-isolate due to symptoms of illnesses, however minor or whether it is directly related to COVID-19. This is to ensure all our staff make the right decision to help prevent the spread of illness, and to support them through a challenging economic outlook.
Consequently, when the infection peaks in the UK, we are likely to have reduced capacity in our operations and in our courier networks. This might mean that your orders and returns take slightly longer than usual, or that we’re slightly slower than usual to respond to you. I kindly ask for your patience and to reassure you that we are doing everything we can to maintain our high service levels.
When COVID-19 first surfaced months ago, we immediately took steps to assess the risks and prepare ourselves. As you know, all toys have always undergone a stringent cleaning and sterilising process at Whirli before we send it on to another family to enjoy. This process varies depending on the type of toy, but always includes sterilisation either through high temperatures (e.g., plush toys in the wash) or sterilising fluids and wipes. For example, we use commercial Milton sterilising fluid which kills 99.9% of germs including the Coronavirus and is safe to use on children’s toys (Milton is regularly used in hospitals and maternity wards).
We are ensuring our warehouse is kept a clean zone, with no sick staff present and regular cleaning is undertaken. We are also enforcing regular hand washing, use of masks and gloves to reduce any contamination risk.
We assessed the risks of imported goods carrying the virus and general transmission probabilities through goods in the post. Broadly, whilst it appears that transmission is possible through contaminated surfaces, the early indication is that the virus does not survive on surfaces for very long periods. The primary source of infections have appeared to be through direct exposure to an infected person, and not through goods received from online shopping or from other countries.
Nonetheless, we have taken additional precautions to enhance our processes and all toys, whether they have just been unboxed from the manufacturer or have been returned by another customer, are thoroughly sterilised before they are sent out again.
To-door deliveries and home collection services
We will continue to offer our door delivery service, postal service and a courier collection service from your home at the normal rates. We will honour these prices as we have never believed in profiting from them. As a reminder, here is what we will continue to offer:
Transparently, we do not apply a mark-up to our pay-as-you-go rates. We are charged the same rate by Royal Mail and Parcelforce.
We also offer a Delivery Booster package and home collection service to our customers at below market rate, upon which we incur a loss.
We will continue to price our collection service at below market rate. For any customers wishing to self-isolate we encourage you to use this great service carried out by DPD.
Lastly, for any customers who are worried about general goods being delivered to your home, please get in touch. We will be more than happy to share tips on sterilising and cleaning different types of products and surfaces.
New in-home toys
In light of the recent recommendations to stay at home, we have switched our attention to purchasing more in-home toys and games that will keep families occupied. This includes buying more:
- Indoor toys and Pretend Play
- Family / Board games
- STEM / Educational toys
As always, please send through your recommendations and we will do our best to get hold of them for you.
In these worrying times it may also be comforting to reach out to our community on Instagram and Facebook and share what you have been doing at home. We will also keep you updated by email, Insta and Facebook and send through play ideas, educational tips and cleaning techniques to keep you busy and safe.
As usual, we are always available to speak with you regarding any questions, concerns, or help you might need. Get in touch with my team here, and if you want to speak to me directly you can always ask my team to pass you on to me.
Founder & Managing Director