What we’ve learnt during the pandemic


01 December 2020

By Helen Sharratt, Finance Director, Coolair

In the eight months since the UK was first impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses across the country and in every sector have faced unprecedented challenges, and Coolair is no exception. 

But as we move towards the new year, now is the perfect time to reflect and take stock on what we’ve learnt from the crisis and how we can use these lessons to kickstart 2021 with a positive outlook. 

Since lockdown in March, there have been many ups and downs, with the negatives more often grabbing the headlines. So let’s address these first.

As a business, the worst thing we had to deal with is the constant uncertainty. Plans were changed every few weeks as new rules were introduced, which often left staff exhausted as well as anxious and fearing for their jobs. 

Keeping our teams of ‘front line’ engineers safe on site, especially at the start of lockdown when PPE supplies were scarce, was another difficult hurdle to overcome. 
Then we were tasked with negotiating the many new Covid-19-related Health & Safety procedures and building these into programs of work so we could still deliver projects on time. This tall order was achieved thanks to the commitment of our nationwide team of installation engineers. 

But for all the negatives, there have also been some positives to take from the situation, and it’s these we have tried to focus on to keep some perspective and momentum. 

One of the most heart-warming aspects of the fall out from the pandemic was how eager our staff were to get back into the office once the rules allowed. 

Each of our three offices were made Covid-safe in early lockdown and by introducing a flexible pattern of split weeks and working from home, we have maintained a safe environment in all offices at all times. 

As a company, we have embraced the flexibility working from home offers our employees, and we will continue with elements of this in the future. Our IT infrastructure made the transition to home working seamless, and our investment in IT and data security meant our staff could connect securely with colleagues, suppliers and customers while away from their desks. 

However, one thing that has become apparent is how much our staff love the office environment at Coolair and while we will continue to offer flexibility, we cannot wait to have everyone back in the office.  

While we wait for the return to normality, we seized the opportunity to take a step in the right direction when it comes to company-wide communication. 

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As well as becoming far too familiar with Zoom and MS Teams, and upgrading our digital diaries, we have developed and rolled out the Coolair Employee App. 

Available to all office staff and site engineers, this interactive tool aids communication between colleagues and our three offices, and has been a game changer during these uncertain times. 

As well as keeping everyone informed about ever-changing rules, the app has been a really good morale booster. 

There is a little doubt that mental health was at the forefront of our thoughts as the impact of lockdown and isolation was felt. We have made a commitment to support all staff informally and through occupational health assessments, and it has been great to see so many of our staff take part in activities to boost their mental health. 

Some have joined lunchtime walking groups, while others have taken the plunge to join the Bike to Work Scheme that Coolair has been a member of for many years. 

Neil Gibbard, Managing Director, said: “Coolair is like an extended family. We have countless employees who have been key members of our team for many years, as well as great long-term partnerships with customers and suppliers. 

“One of the key lessons this pandemic has taught us, is to appreciate the day-to-day things we have always taken for granted, like seeing our colleagues every day and regularly meeting up with clients face-to-face. 

“We very much hope ‘normal service’ can be resumed in 2021.”

The key lessons we’ve learned from this pandemic are:

  • Expect the unexpected
  • Keep in touch
  • Keep smiling
  • Stay safe

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy 2021.