COVID-19 and the ‘new normal’

COVID-19 and the ‘new normal’

For every business, COVID-19 has meant a lot of changes. But in some cases they’ve been changes for the better.

Together apart

Cats photobombing video calls. Making that inspired comment in the team meeting before realising you’re on mute. Being force fed unknown noxious ‘tea party’ concoctions by your toddler while you’re writing that big report…

Like most companies, the majority of the Xelect team are working from home, with all that entails. We’ve always used technology to help with remote working, so we were well set up for that, and have been able to adapt quickly. We’ve started to have more frequent company meetings, which really helps us pull together while we’re working apart.

We’ve been surprised how little working remotely has affected our effectiveness – though it’s fair to say we’re all looking forward to when we can return to Horizon House (particularly for our regular Friday team lunch).

Life in the Lab

The core of our operation is our custom built laboratory, so keeping that up and running has been by far our biggest priority. We’ve been fortunate here in that we have a large space to work in, so can practice social distancing while continuing to support our global customers. We’ve made sure we have a network of other laboratories on hand to help with any overflow, and also stepped up cleaning measures significantly. Sometimes it can be handy having a ready supply of 70% ethanol!

Rachael and Akis in the Lab

Travel ban blues?

It’s safe to say that a few months ago we weren’t expecting to be conducting site visits by FaceTime. But here we are. Our customers are all over the world, so this was probably our biggest unknown when travel restrictions were introduced.

The reality, however, has been far better than expected. We’ve actually gained a number of new customers over the last few months, and have – where necessary – used virtual tours to help us understand a customer’s set up. From a genetic samples perspective it’s been pretty seamless. The global courier network has held up well, so we’ve not seen any significant delays with our laboratory services receiving material to work with.

We’ve also seen some real upsides from the more flexible working arrangements, particularly when it comes to time zones. Our Breeding Program Managers work hand in hand with customers to support them on the ground, and have sometimes ended up changing their sleep patterns so that they’re available to help at critical points (such as stripping seasons).

Despite the adjustments we’ve had to make, the Xelect team have probably never been busier. Of course, we’re very much looking forward to getting out and meeting our current and new customers in person again, as soon as it’s safe to do so.

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