COVID-19 : what we’ve learnt so far
It is hard not to talk about COVID-19. This will be a defining event for our generation. NZ has been blessed by natural isolation as an island, being one state with one government and having strong decisive leadership that took expert advice. There are hard times coming, regardless of what we did in response to COVID-19 and it is specious to criticise decisions made in haste for all our benefit.
We are fortunate to be in the industry we are in. We can carry out our business from our homes and maintain our income. We still need staff to go to sites and maintain the power networks and other critical utilities that NZ’s marooned society so desperately needs. Our thanks go to your staff who worked through the lockdown putting themselves at risk.
Ergo was prepared for the pandemic, having purchased the necessary IT equipment to enable home working. We all used video or telephone conferencing and continued to have our regular meetings. Friday beers weren’t quite the same, but we tried anyway. Nonetheless we planned for a downturn in business and modified our outlook to a level we thought sustainable. For three months there were no:
- Shareholder dividends or drawings
- Change to salaries
- Job losses.
After the first lockdown we put salaries up to the levels they would have been and even back-paid to the beginning of the April. Due bonuses were paid. On our return to the office, we supported three local cafes for a month through lunch and coffee vouchers for all our staff. We’re now doing this again after Auckland’s second lockdown. And we are advertising for more people to join our team
What we’ve learnt from COVID-19 is that:
- We can work from home – but we prefer not to and it is less productive
- The cost of an A3 printer/scanner is 25% of getting touchpads and PDF editing software
- Our company and our industry is a community we value.
- The world is a small on-line but newly remote place – I now talk online to my sons on a weekly basis but am unlikely to see them in person for years.