The misery surrounding Covid-19 has been relentless and inescapable, especially if you turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper. No plaudits for what has gone well, only censure for what has not. Meanwhile, without the tiresome burden of any direct responsibility or shred of knowledge, members of the media have scrambled to multi-task as scientific experts, grief counsellors and political assassins. Force-fed on such dross, it’s no wonder members of the public are angry and frightened.
However, amazing as it may seem, there are some positive things to emerge from the pandemic. For example, more persuasive than any guilt-inducing ‘Green’ campaign, we have all come to realise that we don’t all need to commute to work, or ‘jump on a plane’ to attend a meeting halfway round the world. Neither do we need to ‘hop in the car’ to pick up a loaf of bread from the corner shop. Walking and cycling have made a comeback. As a direct result, pollution levels around the globe have plummeted, waistlines have shrunk and birds sing rather than cough.
Elsewhere, people from every age group and walk of life have been compelled to use technology to communicate or shop. Zoom’s video conferencing app has enabled families to remain in virtual touch, but also made us realise that it’s possible to have a perfectly effective business meeting without being in the same room. You save time/money you would have otherwise spent getting to that meeting and, furthermore, anecdotal evidence suggests that sessions are shorter because people are more concise.
Many are also beginning to realise that you don’t need a trophy office in a prime location to service clients who may also be working from home and who now realise that it’s probably their custom that has been financing such extravagance. Such an office is not so much a sign of success, but excess.
At UnitBirwelco, we have kept our manufacturing capacity in Swansea open throughout the lockdown, because our customers wanted us to and you can’t build superheaters in your back bedroom. However, our site in Immingham was forced to close for a period due to lack of orders, although I’m happy to report that the factory has now partially reopened. As business recovers, and in common with other manufacturers, we will have no choice but to reshape our workforce to match requirements.
The point is that Coronavirus has forced everyone to re-evaluate the efficiency of their business and/or the way they run their lives. There will be sadness, but also some joy.