Finding balance - the positive impact of COVID-19

As the UK entered lock-down back in March this year, staff across all of the Filtermist sites started to work from home if they could.

The management team used this as an opportunity to look at ways in which flexible and remote working could become a normal working practice to benefit the business, the team and the environment.

As a manufacturer and supplier of products which remove harmful contaminants from the air in industrial workplaces, clean air has been Filtermist’s main focus for more than 50 years.

Just last month the company launched new trial policies on both flexible and remote working. With COVID secure offices becoming the norm it is practical to encourage staff to work remotely to manage the numbers in the office at any one time. Filtermist hopes that introducing an element of flexibility to working times too, will give employees a better work-life balance and enhance staff morale during this challenging time.

Mental Health

The policies have been written to encourage staff to work in a way that benefits the business as well as their teams, with balance in mind. Combining working from home and days in the office with the added flexibility of working around core business hours offers staff more choice about when and where they can get the job done. 

“The management team engaged with departments on their views on home working versus returning to the office and the clear message is that the vast majority welcomed the opportunity to be back in an office environment in some way - particularly for their mental health and wellbeing,” said Jo Morris, Director of Group Shard Services.

“The benefits for staff and the business of office-based work, albeit on a limited timetable, are clear - especially for some roles that are essential to business operations and benefit from collaboration,” she added.

Environmental Impact

As the UK marks Clean Air Day on 8th October Filtermist is celebrating the positive environmental impact that remote and flexible working is going to have. Studies have shown that traffic is one of the biggest sources of air pollution, and pollution levels around roads can be especially high around typical commuter travel times. One of the recommendations by  is to reduce exposure to these high levels of air pollution by avoiding travelling at rush hour.

Remote working enables colleagues to avoid travelling altogether and flexible working patterns, such as shifting start and finish times by one or two hours a day, also reduces the amount of pollution that our colleagues are exposed to.

Filtermist’s full environmental policy can be viewed online here and it promotes environmental awareness among employees through training and encouraging them to work in an environmentally responsible manner, e.g. reducing business travel to minimise the environmental impact of this on the environment.

Filtermist’s fleet of company vehicles includes seven hybrid cars, including pool cars that are available to staff to use for any business journeys they may need to make during the working day. With low fuel-consumption, hybrids boast some of the lowest CO2 emissions.

Connected Through Technology

As part of Swedish based Absolent Group, Filtermist moved to a group-wide Microsoft 365 system over a year ago. This brought with it new ways to collaborate and communicate with instant messaging, file sharing and video calling with the team around the world.

As a result of adjusting to work during lock-down, Filtermist teams here in the UK are utilising the software more now than ever before with many internal meetings being held online and the instant messaging function enabling teams to be instantly connected no matter where in the UK they are working:

“As a team we would historically meet once a month at the Filtermist HQ in Telford. Some of my team had car journeys of nearly three hours to get to the office, but we now have shorter weekly meetings using Microsoft Teams video calling software,” said Craig Woodward, Divisional Sales Director (Oil Mist) when discussing his own sales team's collaborative activities.

“The benefit being that we can keep up to date more frequently with shorter more productive meetings; the staff based on the road aren’t being taken away from the area in which they work making the remainder of their day more productive,” he added.

Filtermist has marked previous Clean Air Days by planting trees at its Telford HQ in 2018 and sharing clean air tips in 2019 – it is very fitting that the focus on 2020 is all about working in the ‘new norm’ to benefit business, mental wellbeing, and of course, the environment.

Filtermist also published a series of web posts entitled ‘The Benefits of Clean Air’ a couple of years ago. Follow the links below to read this guide in full:

Part One- The Manufacture of Unclean Air

Part Two – Why Clean Air is Vital to Health and Safety

Part Three – The Hidden Benefits of Clean Air