How the pandemic changed our working ways

Written by Graeme Robertson

20 July 2021

In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, CB Technology recognised that our key priorities were ensuring the facility was Covid compliant and taking all measures we could to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease, while continuing to service our client base and keep disruption in the EMS supply chain to an absolute minimum.

We were detailed and comprehensive in putting in place Covid guidance, as the staff working here would attest, and on an unannounced Covid Health and Safety inspection we were found to be compliant with all guidance.

We had a strong focus on maintaining open communication with the whole workforce, providing employees with status updates, news on current plans and proposed changes to the business; this was driven by a desire to provide security and confidence for our team.

We set up furlough management policies to ensure maximum business continuity and flexibility, to safeguard key skill sets, and to demonstrate fairness to all, striving to protect the mental well-being of all our employees.

It was important to reinforce the message of respecting our colleagues, being mindful that their safety thresholds and outlook may be different from ours.

Operations and logistics
We implemented physical distancing alongside the ethos of Protect yourself, protect your colleagues, protect our customers and encouraged staff to highlight any issues or concerns that management might have missed.

The reorganisation of the main office space required reducing capacity from 27 to 15, adding clear screen barriers and one-way systems for personnel flow.

The capacity of our production floor was reduced from 80 to 40 people. We made key changes across operations and logistics, reorganising the factory floor to deliver customers’ projects with as little impact as possible.

The reorganisation meant minimising personnel movement, reorganising and combining workload and tasks to minimise equipment and product handover, thereby reducing transmission risk, and one-way systems for both personnel and product flow.

By splitting our workforce into two shifts for both operational and support staff, we cut down the cross contamination and transmission risk and also the potential risk that self isolation of multiple members of staff would have on our productivity.

Health and wellbeing
Our new air management system prioritises the health of our workforce by ensuring optimal ventilation throughout.

We are very pleased that CB Technology has, to date, avoided any positive cases of Covid-19.

We took an open and positive approach to our employees’ need to self-isolate. In the case of any doubt, we encouraged self-isolation and, to support this message, we paid full company sick pay.

As we pass the halfway point in 2021, we are at the stage of implementing policies to ease the transition back to normal working practices. For the office staff this includes bringing everyone back to the office one day per week to respond to requests and slowly re-acclimatise. On the production floor we have the flexibility to increase the capacity from 40 to 60 if we need to.

Looking forward
We are immensely pleased with how the team adapted to the changes made at our facility during the pandemic and the fact that the business grew in terms of customer share during this time.

We’re proud to have taken a robust approach to dealing with the pandemic, whilst working to ensure minimal disruption, maximum flexibility and continued productivity for our customers. In doing so we’ve witnessed the resilience of our incredible workforce and demonstrated the benefits to British businesses of working with a local and accessible domestic manufacturing partner.