Preparation is the key to future success

Shaun says he’s going to ensure he takes the positive opportunities that arise from these difficult times and translate them into new ways of working at Fita.

‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail’

‘Proper preparation prevents poor performance’

‘Before anything else, preparation is the key to success’

I AM certain we have all heard these quotes at some time in our lives, clichéd as they are, they are simple and to the point.

Any tradesperson will tell you that if the preparation is right, the rest of the job is so much easier. I have chosen these quotes as I feel this is the approach that both the CFA and Fita have taken in preparing for the future and how the construction sector, flooring industry and training environment need to evolve.

Very early on into this pandemic the CFA prepared to ensure members had every opportunity to use us to support their businesses during these difficult and challenging times. In his article in this month’s copy of CFJ, CEO Richard Catt outlines all the information available and delivery methods we have used. But as Richard mentions, we are moving into the next stage, a stage where we are returning to a ‘new normal’. A world that still requires flooring contractors, fitters, distributors, trade associations, consultants, manufacturers, apprentices, training organisations and clients to drive the industry forward.

So how do we do this? Simply put… Safely! With certain restrictions being lifted, it is clear there is a drive to reignite the economy, but with no clear vaccine timeline established, how do we juggle the safety of ourselves, staff, and customers with the demands of the work that we do? The government guidance on this is now readily available for a range of sectors including: construction, retail, working in people’s homes, and office environments. This guidance sets clear guidelines on how returning to work should be approached, and in particular, the procedure that an employer or employee needs to take into consideration before returning. All of that guidance is available through the Government website and can be downloaded as documents that walk people through the steps required to return to work safely.

This theme of preparation continues into training environments. Fita (the Flooring Industry Training Association - the training arm of the CFA), is actively preparing for what physical, hands-on training will look like when the centre re-opens for business, currently planned for 1 July 2020.

Like any premises that deals with constant visitors, there will of course be social distancing guidelines and Covid-19 policies established to ensure instructors, delegates and visitors are safe when attending training courses. This will include specific risk assessment and policies displayed to all that pass through the doors. Cleaning procedures and workplace layouts will change, meaning as a business we will consider things such as COSHH data sheets, fire evacuation procedures and first aid. Sanitising stations, canteen areas and workstations will all need to be re-modelled to ensure they are as easy as possible to keep clean, sanitised and safe, whilst still serving their purpose.

For floorlayers there are obviously similar considerations in preparing for safe working. Pre- planning visits, and cutting out unnecessary contact with clients, customers and other trades. Procedures for entering sites and homes and safe working will ensure the risk of contamination is reduced by both sides. There is a range of short courses available online to educate staff on this, as well as toolbox talks and induction advice for staff returning to work. These will really help staff understand the importance working safely and also bring confidence to customers who can see there has been a commitment by staff to offer the best possible service safely.

Ultimately, this is the beginning of a new era for us all with additional challenges and there may never be a time where our industry returns to what it was before the pandemic. But one thing that there will be is opportunity: Opportunity to bring the industry together and perhaps even opportunity to improve. This new way of working could make some elements easier for example: how we communicate without unnecessary travel. There is also a great opportunity to bring in new ways of working, better site conditions and at the same time drive quality installations and the importance of a job done right first. We can improve health and safety to protect the workforce who in return will help drive businesses to be better at what they offer a customer.

As you can tell, I am going to ensure we take the positive opportunities that arise from these difficult times and translate them into new ways of working at Fita. In addition, the CFA is always on hand to help with any member matters, Covid-19 related or otherwise.

Not a member? Get in touch and we can highlight the reasons why we think it would add value to your business.

Interested in training your workforce? Get in touch and I would be happy to talk/video call to discuss all options.
0115 941 1126