Published On: Tue, Sep 21st, 2021

Finding the immortal head of opportunity

The requirement for dynamism and adaptability continues as the everlasting Covid 19 pandemic is likened to the Greek mythical serpent Hydra Lernaia – when one challenge is overcome two more appear. However, as a portrayer of positivity and progression, I am a firm believer that with every challenge an opportunity lies in wait. In this case they are not directly connected, but more the consequence of the overall situation. The majority of businesses in our sector have been fortunate over the last year as orders have been flying in with future prospects looking positive. Supply issues have been the main obstacle and this has proved troublesome across the whole supply chain.

As restrictions in the UK have been further eased, we are now met with the a new set of challenges presented by the ‘pingdemic’ of workers being told to self-isolate by the NHS app. Across the whole UK manufacturing sector firms have reported up to a fifth of staff have been ordered to isolate. In our own industry a major IGU supplier reported they had lost 50 staff in a week. Workers in close proximity around machinery or manufactured products are being hit hard by the ‘pingdemic’. A short sighted solution is being followed by many who are simply deleting the app from their phones. This could potentially lead to a further escalation of cases and all that goes with that. A simple solution would be a change in the sensitivity of the app and immediate exempting fully-vaccinated adults from self-isolation. Unfortunately it appears businesses will have to wait a few more weeks for this solution and in the meantime navigate the problems associated with a reduced workforce.

With experts predicting the pandemic will be around for the foreseeable future, solutions to help society navigate a safe path have focused heavily on the area of ventilation. What better way to ventilate than to open windows – and this is the message that has been plastered all over the national media recently. Writing in The Telegraph, Joe Pinkstone went as far to say: ‘Experts have said woolly jumpers and hoodies should be allowed in offices so that windows can be kept open in winter to minimise the spread of Covid-19 and other viruses.” The focus on windows was highlighted in a recent report on how to reduce the risk of infection indoors commissioned by Sir Patrick Vallance, the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser. Within the report, co-author Professor Shaun Fitzgerald encouraged people to ventilate their homes and suggested they should not neglect higher windows: “Use of different openings with weather and season can maximise flows. For example using high level windows in cold weather can minimise cold drafts, while using high and low level openings and keeping internal doors open can create through drafts in hot weather. By cracking open all the high-level windows a small amount, you can get rather good levels of ventilation but without cold draught. Good maintenance can ensure that all windows can be opened safely.”

In the first instance, having windows discussed positively and promoted in the mainstream media is never a bad thing. More importantly, it presents a perfect opportunity to interact with homeowners. A point perfectly illustrated by installer Daniel Hillsdon who has recently been suffering from supply issues and has turned his hand to offering a maintenance service for customers. He told me: “I was struggling with lead times for full house installs and in the interim started offering an ‘MOT’ style service checking homeowners windows and doors, making sure they opened and closed properly. It kept me busy and also led to a number of smaller replacement jobs that I could easily source products for.”

If you search hard enough amongst the murky waters you can find a serpent with a smiling head, it’s just important to act fast and seize the opportunity and hope the immortal head of opportunity has been found…

John CowieEditor