The Waiting Game
8th April 2020 Jacqueline O'Donovan, O'Donovan Waste Management
It is at a time like this, as a Managing Director, you can feel like a goldfish in a bowl! Jacqueline O'Donovan shares her thought as a leader during the current pandemic.
Wow! Now I know how a goldfish feels - all eyes on me. Working in a family-run business, my biggest task in these uncertain times has been managing and balancing my team’s reactions to the coronavirus pandemic. My role has been centred on reporting and reassuring our 185 employees and my siblings as the situation changes daily. It is at a time like this, as a managing director, you can feel like a goldfish in a bowl.
After three years of uncertainty due to Brexit, the black cloud had lifted in January. I had hoped that downturns and unpredictable times would be in the past; at least for now anyway! But, sadly not. Little did I expect that a few short months later, we would be experiencing a worldwide pandemic and my days would be spent reminding people to self-distance and that washing your hands can save lives. It is all so surreal.
As a waste management company, we are crucial to keeping waste moving in these uncertain times. The work that the NHS and front-line workers have being carrying out to date has been nothing short of amazing and it is commendable how many leavers and retirees have returned to work following the Prime-Minister’s request for help to tackle the coronavirus. They have a daunting task ahead as they strive to relieve the pressure on the NHS and work together to save countless lives. The realisation of that task really hit me when I saw the 4000-bed field-hospital being readied in the Excel Centre in London. The fact that the virus is indiscriminate and it could affect anyone, was brought home when our Prime Minister was admitted to hospital.
For the business world, when this is over, we are most certainly going to come back ready to hit the ground running, as so much work and so many projects will have been put on hold or left incomplete. However, it is important I feel, that businesses are not lulled into a false sense of security. It is in the months after normality is back that the tax/VAT deferrals and loans will need to be repaid, the financial breaks will come to an end and businesses will need to factor this into their fiscal models. Planning for these repayments in advance will ensure that there are no surprises ahead.
Unfortunately, for business owners, we have no control over when that time will come. No one can tell us how long this crisis will go on for because no one knows. All we can do is wait and hope for the best.
I will use some of the time ahead to play out the different scenarios and weigh up all the likely outcomes and plan for every eventuality. It is more important than ever to know that this will pass and when it does and some degree of normality returns, we must be ready, prepared and in a strong position to tackle whatever lies ahead – as business owners, as a community and as a nation.
O’Donovan Waste Disposal is one of London’s leading independent management companies with a turnover of £21m, a fleet of 100 HGVs and employing a workforce of 185. A dynamic business specialising in construction and demolition waste, O'Donovan has earned an excellent reputation as a trusted company that crosses over a number of different sectors, offering total waste management and recycling solutions. The family-run, award-winning company champions a range of ongoing innovative initiatives that prioritises staff wellbeing, health and safety, training and environmental excellence, demonstrating a top-down commitment to best practice and is widely regarded within the sector as an industry leader.
O’Donovan is passionate about the waste industry and about working as safely and sustainably as possible and has an array of impressive accreditations demonstrating their competent and ethical practices. The company is a Construction Logistics and Community Safety (CLOCS) Champion and Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS) Gold operator (held for over eight consecutive years).
O’Donovan has invested heavily in waste processing and ensures the maximum is recycled or re-used. Recycled aggregates are produced using state-of-the-art equipment, as per the WRAP quality protocol before going on to be reused in construction and infrastructure projects. All of its recycled materials come with a British Standard quality certification demonstrating excellence and commitment to the circular economy and achieving zero waste to landfill.
O’Donovan is fervent advocate of road safety and best practice, delivering training modules in house as the HQ is a certified training centre, approved by JAUPT (DCPC) and British Safety Council (BSC).