In this time of global emergency, I would like to extend my thanks to our customers for their continued support and to our employees and suppliers for their hard work and resilience in the face of this crisis.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Leonardo in the UK took action early to mitigate the impact on our people and our business. We procured thousands of extra laptops and invested in network infrastructure to boost the number of those who are able to work remotely. Currently up to 70% of our 7,000 UK-based employees are able to work from home and we are aiming to raise that number still further.
At Leonardo UK, we are used to operating effectively with a distributed workforce. We’ve had flexible working policies in-place for some time and many of our teams are already working in an integrated fashion while based at multiple different sites around the country. While this period of crisis is by no means business as usual, we are still working hard to deliver on our promises to our customers while keeping our people safe. Where the epidemic is preventing us from doing so, we’re being up front with our customers about what the impact could be and how we are working to mitigate it.
A number of our on-going activities have been defined by the Ministry of Defence as critical, on which both our nation and UK allies rely. We have been asked that these activities continue with minimal disruption in order to maintain the readiness of our and our allies’ Armed Forces and the defence of the nation. I am proud to see that our Merlin and Wildcat helicopters have been activated for coronavirus relief. RAF Typhoons, which Leonardo equips and supports, remain on quick reaction alert as our defences are probed during the crisis. Our cyber security specialists continue to protect NATO networks as opposing forces take advantage of the emergency to ramp up phishing and other attacks. These are just a few examples of where our work is proving absolutely vital to the national interest.
Some of our workforce who are involved in critical activities, in roles such as manufacturing, are unable to carry out their jobs from home. These employees have now been designated by the Government as key workers to ensure we maintain critical outputs throughout this period. We are taking every measure to enable these key workers to operate safely in the workplace and in transit. For example, we are varying working patterns to avoid rush hours. We will continue to ensure that those coming to-site are able to follow government safety guidelines, including the maintenance of a two-metre distance from others wherever possible.
Throughout this emergency, the behaviour of our employees has been inspiring. I am extremely proud of the energy and team spirit with which our people have faced the difficulties presented by a nationwide lockdown. Likewise, our extensive UK supply chain has been open, collaborative and extremely supportive in putting in place emergency measures to ensure the continuity of critical programmes. I am of course exceptionally grateful to our key workers as they continue to carry out essential operations during this period.
In the normal course of business, it’s easy to say that you’re close to your customers and that people are your most valuable resource; but it’s what you do when the storm hits that counts. We are making every effort to keep our people safe and keep our commitments to our customers.