Like many companies during the UK’s third pandemic, we’ve had to adapt to remote working. But how has this impacted our output?
Working from home
The pandemic has certainly caused an upheaval to our usual working practices, as we pride ourselves on having a close-knit team who share expertise on a range of topics. Even though we work in a small office, our team had been able to socially distance in the workplace by splitting across two floors and adhering to distancing measures. However, following government guidance brought in in the new year, we made the call for our staff to work from home.
Practically, this meant taking steps to ensure staff had appropriate technology at home for analytical work. As much of the data needed for our assessments is collected either by the team or found through professional sources accessible online, such as historical research or databases, a large portion of our work has remained unaffected by remote working.
Technology helping the team
As we pride ourselves on having a director-led approach, Directors Frank and Micheál have allocated extra time to checking in with the OSM team, ensuring they feel supported and their work is still being completed to our usual exacting standards. Our use of face-to-face screen calling apps has gone from nearly non-existent to daily, so we occasionally have the pleasure of Frank’s dog popping on to contribute his wisdom to decision-making! Plus, an extra minute or two to discuss what our post-lockdown plans are allows us to keep our team atmosphere in check.
Unfortunately, there is no technological substitute for the vast array of meal deals available at our base in the Mallusk Enterprise Park, so we are making do with a daily comparison of our respective at-home lunches. So far, Environmental Consultant Leanne Leonard is leading the score board with resident vegetarian and Senior Hydrogeologist, Peter McConvey, coming in last place.
Site investigation work
Unfortunately, some businesses have been hit very hard as the necessity of social distancing measures has meant their operations have slowed down, or worse, ground to a halt. We are in a very fortunate position to be able to be able to continue working safely and progressing our client’s projects, as any assessments are conducted outside and we are able to wear masks, sanitise regularly and keep 2 metres apart from any clients or fellow team members. Our multiple company vans also allow us to travel separately to any sites.
Whilst our samples are stored in site, effective sanitisation measures such as hand sanitiser on entrance and limiting the number of staff on site at any one time allows us to safely store and transport our client’s samples to the responsible testing agencies with minimal risk.
Progressing with work
Although facing an understandable backlog of cases at regulatory bodies due to Coronavirus’ impacts, all of our introduced measures mean that we have been able to progress our clients’ cases at a steady rate. We have been encouraged by even being able to take on new projects as the planning approval process for development begins to kick back into action again. This is an encouraging sight for all of our clients and the OSM team, as the hard-hit construction industry as whole begins to recover.
The team at OSM would like to wish all of our partners, colleagues and clients a safe journey through this lockdown and beyond. If you have any concerns about the progression of your project during this time, please do get in touch with our team and we would be happy to help.