How Covid–19 has impacted on our business

Some thoughts from our Managing Director, Mark Manville.

Hi all, hope you’re all keeping well and safe under the current circumstances. As a business which is people dependent, we have seen major changes.

In the first week of proposed lockdown the question was did we have sufficient PPE? Are the staff safe? And are we prepared? Luckily our contract cleaning company were a step ahead of us and had ordered extra gloves and sanitiser so we could get by. Unfortunately, like most business we found extra stock virtually impossible or challenging to source to say the least.

We decided quite quickly to address the issues, to get as many staff to work from home as possible – especially those who fell into high-risk categories. We’re lucky to have a huge warehouse and production area, so we consulted with all the staff and discussed their thoughts and views (which really matter to me and the other directors).

The clear message was, we all believed and proved we could safely distance but still work on, plus we had a full order book with many clients to support. As directors, we took the tough decision to switch the shift patterns allowing all staff to travel easily on public transport, with less chance of being on busier trains and buses at peak times.

This was now 6-7 weeks ago and not much has changed other than I see less people in the business (I had never even heard of furlough till late March, now it’s a furloughed country).

It’s fair to say the day to day life of the business is challenging. Every Friday at 17:00 is like most businesses pray for a word of hope off the government or a quick way out of this, by 18:00 were thinking maybe that cold beer and a catch up with friends and family is even further away – thankfully I keep a few cold ones in the fridge for a Friday night and we now have zoom and house party (although it’s just not the same).

Speaking with colleagues, suppliers and the odd customer (who is not furloughed) it paints a bleak picture the longer it goes on. Everyone is suffering and its extremely tough out there. I personally don’t think it will get much easier if when lockdown eases. I am though, always an optimist and believe most will come through this stronger, it’s a good time to refocus what we do in business, its definitely got us thinking long and hard and hopefully there are some exciting projects and new client wins that will come out of this time of reflection and focus.

Finally, to all our customers/suppliers we hope to see you all very soon, we really appreciate your business and a personal note to all our customers, we will continue to exceed your expectations, even after all this passes.

To the biggest asset we have, our staff – all 40 odd of you, whether you are in work, furloughed or off looking after people who matter to you most, we hope you’re all well and thank you for your continued support.

My promise to you guys is once this settles down the first beers, or soft drinks are on me and my fellow directors.