BMTA Newsletter BMTA Newsletter - Spring 2020 | Page 15 A new major measure was introduced. We needed to reduce staff density further. A two-shift system was implemented. This effectively gave us an overall staff density reduction of over 60% or one person per 80sqm. Increased signage was added including floor and door signs “2m distancing”. We continue to monitor and take advice as we receive it. Although we have fortunately not had a virus illness, we are undoubtedly feeling and seeing the effects of our mitigation measures and the pandemic. Productivity and Efficiency With all the staff awareness training, various mitigation measures and self-isolation, productivity and efficiency has inevitably suffered. This clearly will impact on profitability over the coming months. We look forward to the day when these can be relaxed and even removed such that we can return to normal productivity levels. Business Activity We saw an immediate and dramatic fall off in work after the 23rd of March announcement. Many large and international corporations almost instantly furloughed staff and ceased production. With so much uncertainty, the requirement for calibration seemed almost in abeyance and not a high priority consideration for many. This was further exacerbated by the Easter holidays. Apart from a skeleton staff, we decided to close the laboratory for one week over Easter. This certainly helped as the workload started to build again over this period. As we are also unable to attend customers' sites, this again has impacted business activity both in direct work and sales prospecting. Customer Communications We experienced several difficulties reaching customer administration departments. This caused issues around timely payment of invoices and issue resolution. Most of this disruption seems to have been caused by people reorganising themselves to effective homeworking. This situation is now normalising. We have adapted to our new ways of working and the new disciplines: Hygiene, sanitising, quarantining of incoming items, handling procedures, 2m distancing and effective homeworking. We have adopted and learnt new communication systems and skills which are now used routinely. Remote auditing activities are now being promoted in support of laboratory quality systems and accreditations. Remote auditing will undoubtedly remain even after the pandemic is behind us. There now almost seems to be a dawning realisation that business must and will have to continue but with the adoption of new safe working practices and measures. Although business activity is beginning to recover, we are still well below the norm. Since the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday 10th of May with a call to return to work, we are hopeful to see a further increase in activity.