Logistics and supply chain professionals were not spared from the pandemic. For an industry that relies on personal contact for many it was hard to adjust to working from home. Lindsay Mifsud, a Sales Director in a large supply chain organisation, spoke to The Logistics Point about the challenges of working from home and how logistics businesses dealt with the new arrangements.
‘Whether businesses survived or thrived during the pandemic depends on who you ask,’ behind Mifsud. ‘Often we would hear about people being made redundant, for example, or furlough.’ For her company, however, volumes remained high and the organisation had to adapt its way of working to make sure employees are protected and contracts executed.
Mifsud is open about the struggles of working from home for someone who has spent most of their professional life surrounded by people and working in an office. ‘Working in an office is a massive part of my life and not being able to, felt like dropping off a cliff’. Before the pandemic many took the general office chats for something granted but more people have started to realise it is an essential part of creating a good product and successful team.
Prior to the pandemic logistics was still slow on looking at mental health and providing support to people. In recent months, more and more managers and employees are opening up and the conversation is becoming normal. Mifsud believes it was time for this to happen. ‘One of the reasons might be that people who have never had problems with their mental health, are now finding that they are struggling and finding it hard to adjust to the new situation,’ she explains and adds how supportive her colleagues and managers are. ‘It is spoken about more because more people are experiencing it and paying more attention to it.’
Mifsud focused a lot of her time in the beginning of the pandemic on understanding how her team would perform its duties. ‘We had general chats about everything,’ she says. The company also provided employees with space to share stories and meet digitally. Moving forward, despite it being hard to predict, Mifsud thinks logistics organisations will adapt a hybrid model. ‘I have already seen there being more flexibility,’ she explains.
Her words are backed by recent job advertisements for logistics roles that specify a hybrid model of working. Of course, that cannot happen for everyone in the industry as some positions have to be at the warehouse. ‘Businesses have seen it can work and it makes sense to happen,’ Mifsud adds.
The new type of flexibility will mean that different employees will be offered different ways of working. Some are more productive in the office and others prefer to stay home. Mifsud company is planning to get back to the office but adjusting some areas where it makes sense to use digital platforms like Zoom.
‘I am really looking forward to going back to the office,’ Mifsud finishes. ✷