Hi, I’m Iain Walker, the Store Manager of our Wrose Road food store in Shipley, Yorkshire.

When we found out we were part of the colleague headset trial, my colleagues weren’t too keen on the idea. They’d noticed people on the till at other retailers using them to have a chat when serving customers, so they hadn’t had the best first impression!

It took a while to get used to having something on your head constantly, at first I was going home thinking I was still wearing my headset, even though I’d taken it off back at the store. Now we’re used to them it just feels like wearing a hat every day.

We can help each other find things in our warehouse, and it’s a lot easier to get hold of colleagues for help on the till or with answering customer questions.

Improving colleague safety

But most of all they’ve improved colleague safety. We’ve got quite a high theft rate in our store, and our shop is quite big, so we can speak to each other to keep everyone in the loop with what’s going on.

I can say to my team ‘I’ve just seen so and so walk in, can you just keep an eye on them?’ We don’t have to use the tannoy or shout across the store to each other now.

Something we noticed in the trial was that by just wearing our headsets, shoplifters think we’re actually speaking to someone else, like the police or people who are keeping an eye on them on our CCTV cameras. So even just the way our headsets are perceived by would-be shoplifters has made a big difference.

Our headsets have made the team feel a lot safer. I guess I shouldn’t say they’re the best thing since sliced bread, but they’re pretty close!

Iain Walker, Wrose Road 

Hear more from other colleagues involved in our headset trial, including Angela Bell from our Petrol Millbridge store.


Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. How will the quantity allocated to store be determined? How many people are expected to share one headset? Has there been any testing done to determine how effective the sanitation process is? What was the outcome? How will we enforce the sanitation process? Managers wouldn’t have time to stand over every colleague to ensure they’ve done it correctly, but at the same time the headsets are worn touching peoples hair, face and ears, so sanitation is absolutely crucial.

    Some genuine questions here, not trying to be difficult!

    • Hi Tim,

      Not a problem, we love a good question 🙂

      Firstly, the number of headsets us based on a calculation that uses information from Shifts. This takes the average number of colleagues that work at any one time, allocates a number based on that and then allocates more based on the difference between the average and the maximum that could be scheduled. We then look at other factors like stores that are busy over short periods of time, like large stores that don’t open for long on Sundays. This calculation worked really well in the test and trials, in general we’ve found that stores will have at least 1 spare most of the time.

      With regards to cleanliness, we’ve provided the same sanitation wipes that we use for hot food probes, so they really do make the headsets clean (some would say good enough to eat off). These have been approved by our retail risk, health & safety team.

      We’re investing in a 15 minute training session for every food store colleague which covers everything you need to know about headsets, including the expectation that each headset is cleaned properly after use. Although managers cannot stand over each colleague, they can sense check if this is being done and follow up with the team if necessary. We need to trust that our colleagues will follow the guidelines, but if you are unsure if your headset has been cleaned, you could always give it a wipe over before you put it on.

      If you have any more questions, please e-mail me on

      Kind Regards
      Dave Tyas
      Project Manager

  2. will each member of staff have their own or will there be a set number to share between everyone in store?

  3. Hi Dale, thanks for leaving your question!

    We’re sharing this information with all of our Area Managers and Regional Managers in a few weeks time, so they will be able to keep you up to date.

    To give you a heads up – We’re going to stores of excellence in June and start the full roll out in July – This will take approximately 4 months to complete.

    If you have any more questions, please e-mail me on

    Kind Regards
    Dave Tyas
    Project Manager

  4. when is the detail for the store role out going to be available

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