In a fast-paced environment that requires creativity and daily problem solving it can be easy to forget yesterday’s wins, let alone what’s gone on as we approach twelve months of the pandemic. However, given the year that 2020 transpired to be, we recently decided to take some time out as a team to reflect on, and appreciate our successes in what has been an extremely challenging 12 months.

The main success of 2020 of course, was getting through the year and pandemic without any issues for our staff or clients! Fortunately, we had already invested in the IT systems which allowed for remote working. It therefore wasn’t a problem for us when we entered the first National Lockdown in March. Looking back, this was key to ensuring the projects our clients needed weren’t affected and there was no drop off in our service levels either. In fact, it was the personal adjustment to remote working that felt most difficult and was something we had to optimise as the situation developed. For a team that relies heavily on collaborative working, the adaption to home working made us realise the benefits of offices/facilities and working closely with colleagues. However, it’s very unlikely we will return to the office 5 days a week in the future. The flexibility and can-do attitude of the entire team is something we are all very proud of.

As the year progressed, we faced many of our projects being paused due to uncertainty over the impact from both Covid-19 and, Brexit. Instead of sitting back in lockdown, we utilised this time to stop, fully analyse the business, and reset to maximise our effectiveness for the future. When normal demand resumed, we started afresh by running through a whole new training programme – ensuring everybody was aligned with our business values and direction. MD, David Mills said; “This opportunity gave us time and space which we wouldn’t have otherwise had – looking back, it has proven to be extremely beneficial for us as a company. I am a big fan of stepping back to look at things with fresh eyes, it always shows up opportunities for improvement.”

Aside from dealing with the sudden pandemic, we had to cater for a large increase in workload, from both the medical device and pharmaceutical sectors. Fortunately, our summer work on increasing business effectiveness paid off with us winning another US client. It was particularly exciting for us as a team, and beneficial for our new client too. We were able to run two new device developments together as one project, and thus make time and cost savings for both sides.

Furthermore, in 2020 we were pleased to work with clients both old and new, plus welcome two new members of Staff to the HD team – Senior Design Development Consultant, Jack Dunkley CEng as well as UX Designer, Amber Davies.

It was certainly a highlight being able to end the year by changing our usual approach to business Christmas gifts and instead donating to our local foodbank following the large increase of users throughout the pandemic. It is something that we learned a great deal from and will definitely be doing more of moving forward.

Reflecting on the previous 12 months of life in the pandemic has given us a real boost to moving forward for the entire year, it’s helped us realise great progress has been made and we are know expecting to exceed this years targets. We look forward to what the next twelve months have in store, especially life after lockdown. Sometimes looking backwards can help you move forwards, we recommend that other teams take some time to reflect similarly, even if it is merely a recognition for getting through the pandemic. For ourselves, taking this time out has been inspiring and will be instrumental in forming new plans and further expansion for the next few years.

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