Returning to work safely post-lockdown...


August 6, 2020

Let's take it back... at Codsall Driveways, we were still working right up until lockdown was announced, while everyone else was advised to work from home, we obviously couldn't and had to carry on, which was scary in itself. When the government announced we should all stay at home, except for one hour of exercise a day, it wasn’t actually a massive shock, I think a lot of us were expecting it and to be honest, I was grateful that someone was telling me what to do and we didn't have to keep working in limbo of whether it was the right thing to do or not.

While other similar trades and construction workers carried on around me (as there was a fine line as to whether you were allowed to work outside), I made the decision to put my tools down. I thought as a business, as a son whose father is 'vulnerable' to the virus, and as someone who was deeply scared of everything going on, it was the right thing to do. And although we would of course take a financial hit by not working, you can't put a price on health.

I was petrified of what the situation was doing to those around me, terrified that one of my family or friends would catch it, and then also what this could do to my business. Trying to be positive, me and my lovely girlfriend took the opportunity of being at home so much to carry on doing up our first house and I was able to finish my own driveway and patio.

It was actually all becoming quite 'normal', when the papers started to print headlines like ‘Happy Monday’ and 'Business Back to Normal’. That whole week I felt sick and became very anxious about returning to work. Of course, part of me wanted to get back to work, I love my job, but how can I suddenly change what I’ve been doing for two months and go straight back to work safely? I couldn’t sleep and couldn’t stop watching the news. In a way I was praying Boris would extend the lockdown for a further three weeks because I was scared.

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I watched the press briefing live when the PM ‘actively encouraged' those who can't work from home to go back to work - he even gave the example of construction, so really I had no choice. I had to start thinking in a rational way how to get my business back on track and face this thing head on.

I started to think practically; how I was going to do my job well while social distancing and create a safe environment for myself, my team, and my customers. Luckily for us, we work outside, we can work while at a social distance, and we can wear masks and protective gearing, so that was it, we were all set up to go back to work.

We've now been back two weeks and I am really pleased with how things are going. I feel so so good being out of the house, in the fresh air, seeing the smile on customers faces and feeling that sense of purpose again.

I know lots of people are in the same boat from conversations with friends and family, worrying about how they'll return to work safely or whether they'll remember how to do their job but it does get easier - as they say, the first jump is the hardest but the second is much easier.

We've all of course got to 'stay alert' and be as sensible as possible because this thing isn't over yet, but I wanted to share my experiences to hopefully help anyone else who is worried like I was.

Stay safe, stay alert, stay positive and smile, even if it’s behind a mask.

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