What We Learnt During Lockdown

In the last 3 months, NSW have seen it’s most enduring lockdown since we began the COVID-19 outbreak, creating some of the harshest conditions on businesses. Stemming from financial stresses and radical changes on rules, to the stress of the unknown as to whether you will be trading the next day. During last years outbreak, the construction sector had seen lighter than most restrictions. Fortunately, businesses were still able to operate at some level of capacity, although ensuring COVID Safe guidelines and plans were put in place.

Then came Delta. A new game changer as referred to by our politicians. The Delta outbreak came towards the end of June and this time, restrictions weren’t as smooth sailing for us tradies as the last. Now, I still remember when the NSW Premier, Glad Wrap BBQ Chicken. said the daunting words, “All construction sites in the Greater Sydney will be shutdown until the 31st of July”. I can still visualize the stunned look on our management teams faces. The questions starting running through, “What do we do from here? What are our clients doing and what do we have to do to service them?”, whilst still hearing our phones going as crazy as an alarm clock on a Monday morning.

Now after a few seconds of absorbing what we had all dreaded and thought would never happen in a State so dependent on construction, we all re-grouped. We sat down, re-strategized and thought, where can we benefit out of it. One thing we always say amongst ourselves, “how do we get a negative and turn it into a positive”.

So, first things first, what exactly do the new rules mean? After waiting in the Service NSW que with the other 250,000 people effected by the announcement and listening to that famous holding tune, I had a few simple questions to ask, “Can we still manufacture?” and “Can we still deliver to sites still operating out of the Greater Sydney bubble?”. “Yes”.

Next step, how do we stagger the office staff? Who can work from home and how long will it take to set up? Luckily, we have an inhouse IT professional. This gave us the flexibility to promptly have all computers set up for the team, ready for Monday morning.

During times of uncertainty, it is important as a business to stay cool, calm and collected. The situation is what it is. However, lets make the most of it. In the period of the 2 weeks, as a group, we strategized different ways of improvement. From this, I am glad to say, we have since implemented new technologies to help us gather closer data on workflow. Those marketing ideas we had all discussed between ourselves shifted from a vision into an action. We implemented training programs to our young staff and apprentices to help upskill the team. We put together long term plans on branding and expansion. We narrowed down the new schemes and designs for our new up and coming design studio.

Like Billy Ocean famously sung, “When the Going gets Tough, the Tough gets Going”. The key we found as a company during this period was not to dwell on the uncontrollable. But to play the best cards dealt in your hands. Now, that goes without saying, has the lockdown been challenging? Absolutely. But do we sit back today and dread the situation of those 2 weeks? Absolutely not.