Jun 25, 2020
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Very Group cuts HQ jobs, adds tech roles in move to more digital, flexible working

Jun 25, 2020

Very Group, the online giant that used to be known as Shop Direct, has cut 141 jobs as it restructures its head office and its customer care operations to focus even more heavily on the use of technology.

The Very Group

While the move was directly influenced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the company has been investing in technology for some time. Going back several years it has invested in such tech as artificial intelligence, customer care bots, and automation.

And one effect of the changes made during the lockdown period is that the company intends to keep some of the changes it has made in order to make its operations even more digital and flexible.

It said it will be introducing “a series of measures aimed at retaining the digital ways of working and increased levels of flexibility and autonomy that its colleagues have enjoyed and that have proven effective over the last three months”.

Analysts have been predicting that the last three months of lockdown in which many people work from home (WFH) will see a greater WFH focus at businesses in the future, and it looks like Very Group is embracing this concept enthusiastically. 

In fact, the firm’s Aintree customer care site will shut in 2021 and the 500 staff members it usually contains will divide their time between the company’s headquarters in Speke and working from their own homes. 

Meanwhile, the latest round of job cuts will see 106 head office posts being lost and 35 jobs in customer care going. However as it has done in the past when it has cut traditional roles, it's also adding jobs as a result of the technology drive. The company said it's to create 100 new jobs in its technology division.

CEO Henry Birch said: “As we look to the future, we need the right team structures, working practices and environments to enable us to meet the opportunities and tackle the challenges that lie ahead. That means reshaping our business and bringing in new people and skills to enhance our capabilities.

“Unfortunately, that also means that we will be making a number of existing roles redundant. In making these changes, we are committed to supporting our impacted colleagues through what we know will be a difficult time and will work closely with our recognised trade union, Usdaw.”

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