Everyone’s days are different at Unicorn, but the one thing they have in common is variety. A co-op member may go from producing financial forecasts to serving customers on the till in the space of an afternoon. It’s a place for people who want to use their heads and their hands, often at the same time! To give a flavour of what working here is like, two members and a probationary member describe typical days at work.
A Day in the Life of Debbie, Co-op Member
Today starts at 8am with me making the fresh wraps on the deli counter, I do a Mexican-style one today, full of beans, peppers and fresh coriander. These get bagged up and displayed in the chilled cabinet. Straight after that I’m into a meeting of team reps where we discuss lots of day to day co-op business. Today one of the things we’re working out is how to go about doing essential maintenance work to the car park without disrupting deliveries and customer parking more than we can help. We also talk about sales patterns and staffing for the next quarter. After this meeting, us reps disseminate the information back to our teams, and record feedback from them to take back to the next one.
Lunch comes next, and I have a hot pasty and some salad from the deli (the 20% staff discount comes in handy here). Afterwards, I’m on the other side of the deli counter, serving customers for an hour, before heading upstairs to work on the website, refreshing content and making sure it gets posted on facebook and twitter. I also have a press release to write for some events we’re holding soon.
After a quick cuppa in the rest room I head back downstairs for my final part of the day, serving on the till. It’s something I really enjoy because it’s the main chance you get to chat to customers. At 5.30 I finish but first do my shopping and then end up chatting to colleagues until 6, when I get on my bike and head off. Everybody’s day is different here, but the one thing they have in common is variety!
A Day in the Life of Ben, Probationary Co-op Member
A typical day for this probationary member at Unicorn is busy, with a good variety of tasks. I usually spend time working in at least two teams, learning on the job. So one day I might spend a couple of hours with the veg team, a couple more on the till and then the rest of the day in production (packing the bulk dried goods into the Unicorn-branded bags you see on the shelves). The next day I might send some time handling deliveries in the store, helping out on the deli and then doing a picking list (restocking the shelves). There are also some meetings to attend and most weeks have an hour or so of ‘back office’ training. Probationers get a weekly rota so you know in advance what you’ll be doing and the training is well structured. There is a lot to learn at Unicorn and some of the work can be a bit daunting at the beginning, but there are plenty of knowledgeable people about who help you find your feet.
A Day in the Life of Britta, Co-op Member
We all meet every morning before we open the shop and someone reads out the diary, it includes all deliveries that are due, people who are off, changes to people’s rotas and any important messages. Today after the diary I am in the packing room for a couple of hours. If you click the link, you can see me packing away happily. There is a bell in the packing room which calls people if we need another till, so a few times during my packing slot, I will go on the till.
After a short break at 11, I am checking the post and emails; this is part of my role as a member of the Secretariat team. I have now got 2 hours of admin in my HR role, where I will look at rotas and cover people’s holidays. At 12.55 the phone from downstairs rings, they need someone to help out on the deli for a few minutes, the fresh bread has arrived a bit early. I usually don’t work on the deli but during my probationary training, I learnt how to work in any part of the shop, including the deli counter. Interruptions to the usual structure of my day are normal, I hardly ever end up doing what it says on the rota as we constantly have to adapt to the priorities of the day, but the good thing is that other people will do the same and be flexible when you need it!
At 1.30 I have lunch - today I didn’t bring my own, so I’ve bought myself a hot soup from the deli with fresh bread. After lunch I spend a couple of hours catching up on reviews, again as part of my HR role.
Between 4 & 6pm I’m picking – one of my favourite jobs at Unicorn. Every evening five of us have one of five different lists of items we need to restock the shelves with. I am concentrating on the tins of beans, the jams and the juices today. I like looking at the nice full shelf after I have finished, usually doesn’t last very long though… Today I finished my list a bit earlier, so I am just going into the store and help crushing cardboard with our bailer. At 6pm it’s home time for me & I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I work from 10 -7.30 and I know that the day will be completely different from today
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