As we know, COVID-19 has fundamentally disrupted the way we work, requiring businesses across all sectors to adapt to new ways of working.
For the team at Legacy Funerals, adapting could be considered their business as usual. Even before COVID-19, the team was well-versed in how to be flexible, accommodating and patient in challenging circumstances.
“No one funeral is the same,” explains General Manager Kiri Randall. “Because of this, the funeral directors have the skills to accommodate a family as best they can under the different Alert Levels.
“The main challenge is that they are used to saying ‘yes’ to a family’s request, but with the restrictions they have to say ‘no’. They do their best to have a solution for the family under these circumstances.”
Indeed, like many businesses, Legacy is severely impacted by COVID-19 Alert Levels 3 and 4. Under Alert Level 4, the team are unable to hold any type of service, so encourage families to spend as much time with their loved one as possible prior to transferring into their care.
At Level 3, they can have up to 10 people in the same bubble at one time, to view or have a small service, which they livestream for those who cannot attend.
While the team work in an environment where emotions can be running high (regardless of COVID-19), Kiri says a good culture keeps them together and grounded, as does ensuring there is strong support and care for their staff and grieving families.
“We work in an industry that, at its foundation, is caring for people. In my role, my number-one priority is to ensure the staff are well supported, have good working conditions, are continually learning and most importantly have time off.
“We have a very good roster which allows that, and the team are well aware they can come to me at any time to discuss any further support they may require.”
Fortunately, Kiri says all the families they have been working alongside understand the difficulties of funeral arrangements in COVID-19 times and have been “so understanding”.
“They know that we are trying our very best to care for them and their loved one. Our funeral directors are well trained and qualified, and the families trust that we will do the best we possibly can for them.”
She adds that the team of embalmers are very skilled and are able to prepare a loved one so they can be in Legacy’s care for a number of weeks – if not longer. This can be particularly useful for families who are grieving to know their loved one is in good hands.
“What we have learnt the most from working within the time of a pandemic is for families to take their time,” Kiri says.
“There is a lot to do, particularly when it is a sudden loss, and they need time to process and also plan. There is no hurry and we are there to support them through the whole process.”
What’s the one… misconception about your industry?
That the funeral celebrant and the funeral director are one in the same.
The funeral directors are part of a team of people that work directly with the family organising the entire process, from the transfer right through to the cremation or burial. The funeral celebrant takes the service only.