A grateful company returning to 'normal'
Mark Richey Woodworking and WallGoldfinger Furniture never closed due COVID. The factory was deemed an essential business and kept manufacturing. Office staff worked at home for a bit. Woodworkers spread out by working split shifts. Everyone wore masks, took temperatures, washed and sanitized hands, stayed away from one another and, as much as possible, stayed within their departments.
If folks felt sick, even with a sniffle, they stayed home. Few actually contracted COVID and none contracted COVID from inside company walls. There were no outbreaks or spreads. And anyone who stayed home sick was paid.
Today, 90 percent of staff are vaccinated, masks are starting to come off, sales travel is starting to resume and visitors are increasingly stopping by by appointment, including the school children shown above who recently visited our wind turbine – the first such visit since 2019 before the start of cold weather months and then the pandemic.
It’s hard to feel happy when many have suffered, but still there is excitement over fewer hindrances to everyday life.
“It’s a huge sigh of relief that we’re on our way out of this,” said Greg Porfido, our chief operating officer who we spoke to for this update. “We’re grateful that our team has done so well in terms of health and wellbeing, and that we’ve survived intact as a business.”
The factory has experienced a consistent, and growing, flow of work that has kept staff busy and often working overtime throughout the pandemic. With more returning to offices in the coming months, the hope is for greater growth.
But as exciting as it is to get back to “normal,” with it also comes welcome change. During the pandemic, Teams meetings have become a crucial communication mechanism. The convenience of chatting with clients or colleagues while pulling up drawings and images to review in real time has been life altering. Like email and all of the other technologies that change and then dominate work practices, virtual meetings are very much here to stay.
The flexibility for work at home days for office staff when needed, such as for a mid-day appointment or minor illness, also means less time lost and increased productivity.