As the battle against COVID-19 continues – and we await further news from the Government regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions – many firms still remain ‘on pause’, hoping for an imminent return to normality.
However, throughout the entire period, there have been companies – and their tremendous staff – that have continued with ‘business as usual’ (sometimes with even more work on their plates). Our NHS has, without doubt, been amazing – and what a tribute it is to this nation – but we wanted to shine a light on some of the other ‘heroes of COVID-19’, and why we owe them our thanks too…
Packaging organisations have certainly been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak – but in a way that’s quite the opposite of slowing down. In order to keep up with rising demand for goods, there have been many challenges faced and precautionary measures implemented – to keep staff, associates and business partners safe.
With people across the globe in desperate need of packaging for groceries and healthcare products, companies operating in these areas in particular have seen a huge spike in orders. To keep supply chains running smoothly, many firms have adapted the timings of lengthy shift patterns to maintain social distancing, therefore providing some relief to their workforce.
Acknowledging the fact that factories, plants and warehouses remain operational during the pandemic, the Government released guidance last month on working safely in these environments.
This involved preparing new risk assessments, keeping employees two metres apart, increasing the frequency of hand washing, and using screens or barriers to separate people where possible. Warehouse staff have been invaluable to the masses during this period – whether that be on a commercial or a consumer level – and their commitment to their roles should not go unnoticed.
It’s fair to say that the pandemic has turned the world of logistics upside down. As shops have closed their doors and businesses have had to cease exports, global logistics firms have picked up the pieces, where possible.
When Government advisors and the Prime Minister first discussed obtaining and distributing PPE and testing kits to where they were heavily required, it was the logistics firms that we were turning to, to ensure this happened – and this is still the case now. In the same way that many restaurants have completely switched up their services – thinking outside the box and offering collection or delivery services to continue trading, logistics companies have also had to step up to the plate, by turning the transfer of generic goods on a daily basis into the provision of life-saving equipment. For that, we owe them our thanks.
Right now, none of us can imagine how we could possibly continue to function without delivery drivers. Undoubtedly, this group of heroes have been essential workers throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Although largely unchanged on the surface of it all, temporary measures regarding the way they can go about their roles have been put into force – including the relaxation, by the Department for Transport, on the enforcement of rules surrounding the number of hours that workers are allowed to drive for, across England, Scotland and Wales.
Although largely able to carry out social distancing due to travelling alone, certain changes have been put in place – such as stepping back from doorways and taking pictures of hand-delivered items from a distance. A spike in demand for deliveries from a wide range of companies has certainly increased the workload and shift patterns of this type of worker. And as non-essential retail shops begin their preparations to reopen, Amazon’s turnaround speed has reportedly now returned to normal, following – expected – lengthy delivery times as workers struggled to cope.
Another area where staff have proved invaluable over the last 12 weeks has been in our supermarkets. These key workers have, in essence, put their own health at risk every single day that they have undertaken their normal duties. Certainly, when panic buying reached its peak in March, many were thrown into hostile situations, but thankfully during lockdown – and as restrictions on numbers in stores have been closely monitored – this appears to have eased.
On a typical shift, many supermarket workers have been coming into contact with hundreds of people per day – and they are yet another example of people who have kept this country going.
As the daily death rates begin to fall, and lockdown restrictions are gradually eased, we are all hopeful that we can soon enter a period of normality. However, it’s accepted that we may have to witness a ‘new normal’ for quite some time. Thanks to the people mentioned above – amongst many other essential workers – the nation has remained on its feet, fed and watered, and able to access many of the items that without these people in place, simply wouldn’t be possible.
We remain eternally grateful to all those who have stayed at work to help others, during this pandemic. So, it isn’t just the NHS we clap for – we thank you all.