Construction SMEs quick to adapt to the 'new normal'

Updated: May 10

The UK government's guidance on returning to work continues to take shape, while many businesses have already been proactive in introducing safety measures to protect their employees from the spread of COVID-19. Face masks, two-metre distancing at work and staff work-from-home rotas are just a few of the practical measures that we have seen companies put in place in recent weeks. As the economy gears up for a lockdown exit plan, we look at how Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the construction industry have already been adapting and getting back to work safely. Ben Goatman, Construction Consultant at Tay Recruitment who provide trades professionals to the construction industry in the South West of England, says: "Site work cannot be easily achieved over Zoom, so we have been exploring various ways in which we can remobilise construction workers quickly and safely. We don’t know exactly when we will all be back on site, but when we get the go ahead we want to have explored every avenue to reassure our clients and keep our workers safe." Tay Recruitment are piloting the Fit for Work app to brief workers on the latest government return-to-work advice, track COVID-19 symptoms and to monitor compliance with company return-to-work policy.

Other construction employers like Design Rationale have been quick to come up with innovative new ways to monitor signs of the virus before workers go on to client sites. Design Rationale are a specialist architectural metalwork and glazing contractor. Mark Hitchcock, Project Manager at Design Rationale says: "When the typical COVID-19 symptoms were understood, we started looking at ways that we could check the temperature of our employees without passing the virus on from one to the other. We are currently trialling the use of a smart thermometer that can be used without making contact with the skin. If testing goes well, we plan to role the technology out to protect the safety of workers at our clients' sites." Design Rationale have asked to explore the integration of smart thermometer technology with the Fit for Work app. SMEs like Tay Recruitment and Design Rationale have been adapting quickly to the 'new normal' and taking proactive measures to protect their workers and customers. It is looking like the agility that these companies have can enable a quicker adjustment to the changing landscape.


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