Over the last few months, we, like many other businesses have experienced unprecedented disruption to what are usual or normalised working routines. Government measures designed to limit the rate of infection and help protect the vulnerable have had us readjusting to a new way of life as we work through this pandemic. It remains to be seen how many of the measures in place, such as remote working become an integral feature of a new and future normal.

Since March, when lockdown measures were first implemented, the majority of Joerns office-based employees have been working from home as part of a concerted effort to protect workers who are vital to ensuring our operation can continue in terms of production and shipping of product. Joerns have not taken the measures lightly and it is this approach that has ensured our ability to continue to serve our partners with minimal disruption.

When making what are new and challenging decisions to ensure continuation of service, some disruption is inevitable. Many of you will be aware of our limited telephone services – a direct consequence of remote working policies. We are currently making significant investment in a new telephone system that will enable a return to full operation regardless of whether staff are in the office or working from home. We hope to have this in place over the coming weeks.

Of course, some challenges arise through no cause of our own. Supply chain and freight services have seen significant impact with extended lead times and reduced staff levels due to lockdown restrictions, isolation processes and furlough measures. As I write this, I recall calling Curry’s PC World regarding a warranty claim and, with the patience of a saint, being on hold for some three hours before my issue was addressed – Curtis Jordan, Marketing Manager.

Some businesses have really suffered, particularly in the retail sector and we sympathise with their plight. As a manufacturer, Joerns have been fortunate to cope relatively well as a result of healthy stock levels and aforementioned measures to support continuation of service. Our offices remain closed to visitors until further notice and employees are required to adhere to strict social distancing measures along with the use of PPE equipment and daily temperature testing. We regularly remind our employees of their responsibilities both at work and socially during this period of uncertainty and on-site guidance is continuously reviewed in line with latest government guidance.

Keeping our business operational has seen us support many organisations and care facilities with urgent equipment needs. We have proudly served some of the Nightingale Hospitals that have been set up across the country to help deal with the heightened influx of patients with more severe Covid-19 symptoms. Members of our sales team have gone over and above to not only assist with equipment deliveries, but also in commissioning the equipment on site to ensure its speedy deployment. It is a genuine privilege to work alongside what has become a close-knit ‘family’ here at Joerns, all committed to a common purpose – to improve patient and care-giver experiences, placing the well-being of others at the centre of everything we do.

With all of the above said, we look forward to returning to a more conventional work environment as although technology empowers us to continue operations, there is no substitute for working closely as a team and having that face-to-face interaction. Maybe some aspects of our working routines will have evolved for good, there are strong arguments to support some aspects, but time will tell if they are feasible strategies, longer term.