Having regularly received praise for the workshop covid security, I wonder now what will replace the theatre of the hygiene procedure and how I will reassure my team, suppliers and motorists following “Freedom Day”. I am excited about the success of the vaccination rollout, proud of our achievements as a nation and slightly giddy about the idea of attending the events I so enjoyed prior to the pandemic.
I am also nervous, somewhat baffled, and perhaps finding the change in state quite overwhelming. Changing state (in physics terms) from a gas to a liquid, and vice versa, requires an enormous amount of energy – I feel the change from a restricted life to one of freedom will require much of my energy too.
Public willingness to sacrifice for the common good in our time of crisis has helped enormously to this remarkable achievement, as I examine the new guidance, I must consider very carefully what changes to implement in our work environment and who it will affect. Will anyone else I work with be as nervous as I? The legal requirement for most pandemic restrictions will be dropped, shifting focus to personal responsibility to individuals and businesses – if I don’t get it right, could I be responsible for somebody becoming seriously ill or worse?
Government led restrictions, like them or loathe them, did give a prescription for the strategy of protection, it is not reasonable to continue with them forever, but now we are free to do as we please – exactly what does that mean when you’re in a position of responsibility?
I never did figure out how to fix cars from home (more’s the pity, that would have definitely provided for my retirement telling people how to do that!) meaning the working from home guidance will not impact our processes, face mask laws ending will probably not change my workshop policy on the use of them in our building. Predominantly used when changing pollen filters, I think that it could be unlikely that I would now not mask up for this type of maintenance. Who wants me breathing all over a cabin filter that will be used recirculating the air within a confined space? I have not missed sneezing so hard that my glasses fall off when removing some of the mankier presentations.
I have become more confident declining to MOT test vehicles that are dirty to the extent that it is unhygienic to work with them, why didn’t I do this before with more gusto? I have no expectation of concours d’élégance standards of cleanliness but being afforded the respect of not being expected to work alongside dirty underwear and rotting food is a much nicer working day. Blaming covid for demanding to be treated humanely now feels a little cowardly.
Will it be different?
We may relax some of our sanitation procedures, instead leaning on common sense. As Covid-19 is an airborne disease that is principally transmitted through respiratory droplets, working in our large drafty workshop is an advantage in comparison to environments with restricted ventilation. Congestion spots that encourage a huddle have been absent for so long, I am not sure the reintroduction of them is necessary, and I have got very used to my own office! Sharing desks and computer equipment now feels weird, it has simply become another area of investment in the business, and everyone appears to be so much happier with more personal space to work.
Whilst many celebrate the return to how things were, we’re still not allowing anyone in the workshop without invitation, we do not often need to work in close proximity, and we will still sanitise common touch point areas as well as masking up for certain tasks. Some of my motorists are tired, tired from working in high-risk environments, tired of being left out if they have compromised immunity, simply tired of lots of change. I will want to make sure when they are accommodated at my workshop, they feel comfortable and safe.