As we approach the first anniversary of the first lockdown in England, it seems timely to reflect on what we have learnt as a business through the pandemic.

Alongside overcoming the most obvious hurdles – from establishing a Covid-secure working environment to understanding and managing the government support schemes – more subtle lessons learned also come to mind. In particular, how our employees have handled the situation, and indeed risen to the occasion.

At Stag Print, we’re a tight-knit group who work well together. As any organisation knows, we are only as good as our team.

Those of us in the management team sit in our offices handling the business and paperwork side of the operation, while our production colleagues work on the factory floor and in the warehouse making and distributing our print and packaging products for our customers. Very different roles; but both equally important and necessary.

Pre-pandemic, we were all physically in the same building, so crossover activity naturally occurred. If the production team downstairs had a query they would automatically pop upstairs to the offices and ask the management team to help.

But Covid has changed how we work and with it how we problem-solve. Our two teams are now physically separated with the management team working remotely from home. While they are available, and happy, to assist on the end of the phone, our production colleagues who have to come into work because of the nature of the role have become much more self-sufficient and in turn empowered.

  • Quality control – We have a robust quality control process in place where one member of the team checks another’s work. Everybody knows the standards we require are thorough and high. Now, instead of relying on senior management to do the final check, they are owning this and doing it themselves. And they are doing it well. Standards have been maintained and customers remain happy.
  • Production flow – In the past, when a production issue arose, the team would seek assistance from management. Now, they initially look to problem-solve it themselves. They are very capable and can resolve most production issues. They just needed the confidence to step back and tackle the situation on their own from a different angle in a bid to find the solution. And now, in most cases, if they can’t reach us on the phone that’s what they do with much success.
  • Embracing technology – Our previous way of working involved management prioritising worklists and then delegating tasks verbally to the team. Working in different locations changed this so we all embraced and made better use of technology. With everyone having a smartphone, each member of the team now has access to their own prioritised worklist which management can update in real time as priorities change.

In these truly testing times, our employees are empowered and embracing the challenges they face in a professional thought-through way. It’s fantastic to see and makes me, as managing director, very proud.