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Coronavirus lockdown frontline: challenges and opportunities

Coronavirus lockdown frontline: challenges and opportunities
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Coronavirus lockdown frontline: challenges and opportunities
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

The coronavirus crisis has created a challenging opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes. But it has also presented potential opportunities for some, especially those who can realign their services to support those in the frontline of the fight against Covid-19. One of these is our Sittingbourne client, Farmwood Ventilation, whose technology might be able to clean ambulances that have been used to transport Covid-19 patients. They’ve shared with us the impact of the lockdown on their business and how they’re hoping to support the NHS.

What impact has the coronavirus outbreak had on your business?

For the first time in 18 years of business we have closed our doors, albeit temporarily. Other than our two directors, Nathan Wood and Dave Wood, and accounts manager, all our team have been furloughed until the 15th April, meaning they can undertake no work. The team have all been awesome prior to the furlough, working from home, setting up Microsoft Teams video meetings and collaborating – we can’t thank them all enough.

How are you hoping your technology might help during the outbreak?

We have applied to assist the NHS and Ministry Of Defence with a new way of cleaning ambulances after Covid-19 patients have been transported in them, using our virus-killing technology, air-quality filtration and probiotic system; we’re expecting to be invited to trial this in the next few weeks. Other enquiries for the NHS are currently confidential – but very exciting!

How have you been challenged during this time, and what strategies/skills have come from this?

It’s important to remember your business hasn’t failed – it’s a global pandemic and you have to do everything possible to protect your team and business. This is all to make sure you’re ready to hit the ground running when thing eventually return to normal – and they will. Your clients will still need you and you’ll need them. We’ve definitely learned how to stay positive and use this time to review business plans and new challenges that have risen.

The main challenge was being able to apply and understand the furlough system and ensure we didn’t jeopardise this application. The next challenge was organising remote access for the directors and accounts. Fortunately, we had invested in good IT systems and software that just needed testing and confirming prior to the office closing.

Whilst our business was operational, we needed to adopt a Covid-19 risk assessment for the mobile engineers, office team, deliveries and returns. This took our health and safety to a new level of hygiene and reduced contamination issues, especially with deliveries and the possibility of Covid-19 surviving on cardboard for up to 24 hours.

What is your business strategy going forward from here?

For the last five years we have developed some amazing technology with UK company Radic8, who manufacture virus-killing technology. We’re planning on partnering with them for the UK market and bringing forward our online shop and installation services.

With concerns over viruses and bacteria, ventilation hygiene will be a priority for both homeowners and industry. We have bespoke earth-beneficial cleaning products and solutions, air-quality monitoring, servicing and certification. These works will be reviewed to ensure we continue to offer the very best in ventilation servicing, air quality and virus protection to our clients.

In this challenging time, collaboration, support and determination have never been more important. Farmwood Ventilation epitomises this philosophy; despite setbacks, the team is working hard to help the NHS as well as continuing to refine their services to meet anticipated market demand when the lockdown is lifted.

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