Virus is checkmated in a post-Covid CFA

As Covid-19 is jabbed, Richard explains how the CFA is using the innovations the virus inspired to launch a series of wide-ranging CFA webinars and online member meetings.

MRS Catt and I binge watched the ‘Queens Gambit’ recently on Netflix. Many things about that statement make me pause slightly. I never imagined I’d enjoy binge-watching something, but I do. I also never thought I could find chess a subject matter that could build dramatic tension for me. But it did.

Finally, I enjoyed the period element to this mini-series and delighted in the detail. I loved the cars, which were just a bit too perfect, fashion and things like telephones with cords. Who has one of those at home now? I reflected on all sorts of things that have changed in my lifetime.

The webinar isn’t a recent invention, but not something the CFA (and I think it’s true to say the flooring industry in general), had engaged with before coronavirus. At the CFA we see great opportunity to build on the benefits of video platforms we’ve all now used, be that in business or keeping in touch with friends, relatives, or attending the local pub quiz. It’s the start of a culture shift we can adopt to reach members while other channels aren’t open.

I predict a new balance will be achieved when the choice to meet people in person returns. Or at least I hope so.

I’d therefore like to use this month’s column to formally launch a series of CFA webinars that will cover a range of subjects. As I write this piece, the first – an HR event on furlough, different working patterns, negotiating new contracts, and redundancy – is due to take place on 12 November.

More dates will be published by the time you read this article in January and can be found in the events section of our website linked from the homepage.

Relevant webinars from other providers will also be listed. We aim to cover subjects that will primarily be of interest to contractor members including reverse charge VAT, cyber security, pre-qualification, R&D tax credits, payment, and project management. We may add some contract, legal and technical ones if that’s of interest. Please send me ideas or requests and look out for further details in email updates and social media posts.

Equally as important as these quick-fire webinars (30 mins max) is the fact the other 30 mins will be allocated to members for a round table. This will be an open forum to share ideas, ask questions, tell us what you need and what is keeping you awake at night.

No particular structure, just a digital version of the member meetings I used to attend in the evenings when I first joined the CFA. In a 24/7 world these fell out of favour and were ultimately not well supported and so we simply stopped running them.

Zoom opens new possibilities. You don’t have to travel. You can dial in for the presentation or just the round table, join late or leave early if you can only spare 30 mins. But it gives an efficient, time and cost-effective way that we can again engage with members to offer support and ensure we are delivering what you need. Particularly in these tough times and as Brexit is now a reality.

Online meetings provide another level to communication which in my view improves as you move through the hierarchy. For me it probably goes something like Email – telephone – Zoom or Teams and finally face to face. But in this period when we aren’t being encouraged to meet up and can’t reach the face-to-face pinnacle in communication terms, as a final thought if any members would like a one-to-one Zoom meeting to discuss something privately, be updated on CFA activity, or simply discuss something that is difficult to explain in writing, we would be delighted to help and would enjoy seeing you again.

The CFA is a leading trade association representing the flooring industry. If you’d like an application pack or further information on the benefits of membership, please contact the CFA offices.
0115 9411126
www.cfa.org.uk