Against All Odds: How We Expanded During a Pandemic
Uncertainty produced by COVID-19 has tested businesses across the world. With many being unable to continue operating in the changing economic environment, there are few which have thrived. As an essential company who supply IT equipment to other businesses, it was paramount that we, here at Zixtel, were able to continue operating. Initially, by following government guidelines and advice, we were able to keep the office and warehouse open safely to ensure our customers carried on receiving a high-quality service in a difficult time, whilst our employees remained safe. Here, you can read an interview we conducted with our Operations Director about how, against all odds, she was able to expand the business during the pandemic.
How much of an obstacle was Covid-19?
Of course, initially, Covid-19 was an obstacle, but we applied the same common sense we would for any obstacle: evaluate the problem and then find a solution. We created a risk assessment to cover all scenarios and we determined that we should stay open and trading.
What safety precautions were put in place to ensure the safety of your employees?
We were lucky in that we could safely socially distance throughout the building. We already have a cleaning company that cleans the building, and we doubled the amount of cleaning they were carrying out in the offices, toilets and employee areas. We also installed hand sanitiser stations at entry points, anti-bacterial handwash at all hand wash points, and issued individual hand sanitiser to all employees. We also put up signs everywhere as a reminder to wash or sanitise hands and keep a 2m distance from colleagues or delivery drivers.
What effect has Covid-19 had on the business, if any?
Initially, we felt a downturn in business due to other businesses being closed, and early on we did furlough a small percentage of our staff, but as industry is returning to work, our workload has steadily increased to the point where there is nobody on furlough and we have already recruited 7 new employees.
Of course, we are mindful that the situation is volatile, and we keep a close eye on our cash and credit position, with plans A, B and C in place covering different scenarios, as profitability can be challenged from all directions.
What was the decision behind Zixtel expanding and recruiting new staff during such an uncertain time?
We have always been a business who thrives through a challenge and after assessing different scenarios, we felt that to not recruit or expand would only hold us back and possibly put us in a vulnerable position moving forwards.
What advice would you give to other companies who are struggling in this uncertain time?
Look after your business and your employees whilst implementing safe working practices. Do your own fact checking, don’t listen to media scaremongering and use your common sense.
What are the next steps for Zixtel?
I see us continuing to build on the strong foundations we already have through our people, for buying and selling IT equipment, continuously striving to reuse and recycle more and more IT kit, contributing to a circular economy where waste is minimised.