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Challenges of Business Operations during Covid19 | David O'Keeffe

The initial impact due to Covid19 was relatively seamless with some staff encouraged to work from home where they previously had done so and it made sense to do so again. Basic controls were established around the building with regards to limiting the movement of people, signage informing people to wash their hands and, when we could get access to it, distributing hand sanitiser and disinfectant cleaners on individual desks. All staff were notified about changes to our working environment and operations.
As the impact increased, it appeared that the commercial and business landscape were changing daily. What we were doing one day or our expectations of the next day were literally changing in front of our eyes. As we came closer to the lock down we escalated our controls internally and more and more of our team were working from home – to the point where we introduced rotating teams in departments where we had the numbers to do so.
We took the decision early on that we would continue to trade and we would assess the practicality of this on a daily basis. A number of years ago we expanded our product portfolio into the Industrial Plastics market segment and as these products were, and are, critical in the management and control of Covid19, we had a basis to work from as well as filling an essential role in the wider fight.

The biggest challenge is no doubt the separation of key people. Depending on the task/decision at hand you would, in a normal environment, have the ability to very quickly pull the right people together, consider their opinions and make an informed decision. However, in such a dynamic environment in conjunction with most of the team not being on site, this can prove very difficult with the unintended consequence of decisions possibly being made without the input of others.

In general as a business, we have performed well to date during such a turbulent time. However as a Management team there are serious considerations that have been and may yet have to be discussed. The Government support scheme for Employer’s to hold onto their Employee’s has been fantastic and there is absolutely no doubt that we would have had no option but to reduce staff numbers and implement severe pay cuts were it not for this support. While this is in place, we have the opportunity to trade, manage our relationships with our suppliers and keep our team motivated and engaged so that we are ready to address any needs in the market as they arise.

Print Solutions is a family owned company and although Kieran O’Sullivan (Chairman) is the only active shareholder on a day to day basis, the truth is, that a huge number of the rest of us employees see ourselves as being part of a much bigger, at times, dysfunctional family. There are some people that you miss seeing, talking to and working with on a daily basis and there are some, on a normal day, you would not often see and hence not notice their absence as much. In this strange environment, you start to miss what they bring to the team too. There are some of our team who have gone through / are going through big personal challenges during this time, through people that they have lost close to them, or where they have to manage their own / family health issues. As part of our own work family, we want to be there for them to talk it through, distract them but of course, we are limited with the distance between us.

There is a lot of fear out there, for numerous reasons, throughout the wider community. We know that the world may be a different place in how we interact and carry on our day to day lives. However, we also know that the global community is going through this together and it is that togetherness that will bring us all through this.

At Print Solutions we have absolutely no doubt that we will come through this……and like other challenges before…..we will come out stronger as a business, as a team and as better people.

Stay safe, 

Finance Director
Check how our Managing Director, Ian Scouler is dealing with the coronavirus challenges.