The CFJ/CFA Awards and The Flooring Show at Harrogate, both in September, made clear the industry has effectively left the pandemic behind. Let’s exploit this newfound momentum…
IN the past few issues, I’ve spoken about how the country, the construction industry, and the flooring world have been desperate for government to free them from the shackles of the worst pandemic in a century.
For nearly two years we’ve had to accept a new reality which shook the foundations of something we’d always taken for granted – the state of our public health. In an instant, our lives were turned upside-down. The flooring industry was no different. Suddenly contracts were in doubt and the future was very scary indeed. The economy went into the freezer and financial records tumbled during a once-in-a-lifetime meltdown.
This shock to the global system had a profound effect on how we saw the world. Suddenly, nothing was safe, or certain. We were forced by legislation to hide away and wait for the crisis to pass.
But I’m here to tell you, 21 months after Boris Johnson’s profound announcement, that the shackles are off (I say that tentatively, given the fact government could at any point very quickly declare another lockdown).
The evidence lies in what I saw with my own eyes at the CFJ/CFA Awards on Friday 3 September and The Flooring Show at Harrogate later that month.
What I saw was people from the same industry who were overjoyed to be reunited; people who left their masks behind and embraced something resembling the normality we remember from the pre-Covid era.
I saw people joyously greeting old friends, catching up about business and on details of their personal lives, and I saw people networking, making new contacts, relishing the opportunity to be free once again.
Despite dark clouds gathering with respect to rising inflation, skilled labour shortages, supply chain chaos and the end of government’s revolutionary furlough scheme, electricity is flowing once again through our industry. I’m sure you can sense it – and it’s invigorating.
But now is the time to ensure we don’t take for granted this new state of living. It will be easy to do: the human condition is such that as soon as we get used to a new situation, we’re less able to appreciate its benefits.
I’m talking about momentum – riding the wave of goodwill. We should never again take our success as an industry for granted, and we should always be aware of the challenges we face. That way we’ll stay one step ahead of whatever lies in store for the future.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s just hope for the moment that our fragile re-emergence from a state of stagnation and fear holds fast. We can’t afford for our newfound freedom to be taken from us once again.