Covid-19: Business and Personal Resilience


In a few short months, Covid-19 has taken hold of the world. This has prompted an unprecedented response by governments to help slow down or stop the spread of the virus whilst also trying to protect those most vulnerable.

Business and Social Continuity

Businesses large and small are being forced to make some challenging decisions. The situation is made more difficult by the speed at which we are having to adapt to this new normal.

Cobalt, along with many of our clients and associated companies, have been implementing continuity plans, to continue offering the same high level of service while ensuring our staff stay as safe as possible.

We are making use of all appropriate technology to allow staff to work from home whilst remaining in contact with clients and colleagues. This is important, not only from a business standpoint but also from a social point of view. Working remotely can easily result in employees feeling disconnected from the rest of the company so having the ability to communicate and interact almost as we would in the office is essential.

Using technology we can retain a sense of community and alleviate the isolation caused by social distancing. In the space of less than a week, there has been a huge rise in virtual choirs, yoga and Pilates classes, book clubs, and drawing classes. And although many older people may not have internet access, social media is being used to set up local groups to assist neighbours with shopping, prescription collection/drop off and dog walking.

Our Director, Peju Fabunmi, understands the impact social isolation will have on the elderly and vulnerable. As a Board member of Greenoak Housing Association (who provide social housing including supported retirement housing), she and her fellow Board members have worked with the management team to develop an action plan to be throughout the group.

Helping Ourselves

While all reasonable precautions to avoid the infection is the best course of action we also need to boost our immune systems. This applies not just to Covid-19 but to all viruses such as colds and flu.

Advice includes:

  • Make sure you get enough sleep.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Eat plenty of fresh food, especially those fruit and vegetables that contain vitamin C.
  • Stay active. Keeping your immune system fit means keeping your body fit. As we are (mostly) a sedentary society, we need to increase our level of exercise. NHS guidelines say that adults should be physically active in some way every day. That can mean at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (hiking, gardening, cycling) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (running, swimming fast, an aerobics class).3 Whilst this may be more difficult at the moment, YouTube many, many thousands of free exercise videos to try out.

From the cases seen so far, it appears that in healthy people (those without underlying health conditions) the symptoms of Covid-19 are less severe. Dr Clare Gerada, former chair of the Royal College of GPs, tested positive for the virus and recorded a video explaining her symptoms and how she looked after herself during the time when she was ill1.

The spread of Covid-19 is a rapidly changing situation and we can only act on the advice we are given. By doing what we can to help others, sharing knowledge where we can, and allowing key workers to do their job to the best of their ability, we will lessen the impact on all of us.




Modular Housing – the financial stumbling blocks

There’s no doubt that modular housing has come a long way.  Although around in one form or another for many years (going back to post-war pre-fabs), it is now a sophisticated form of construction that is currently experiencing something of a resurgence.

The advantages of modular over traditionally-built houses – affordability, flexibility of design, less time on site – have been attracting the attention of housing associations and local authorities for some time.  Its rapid construction rate and cost-effectiveness would suggest it is an ideal solution to the housing crisis.  And now self-builders and developers have begun to see its appeal.

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Community Engagement – the earlier the better

At a time when many neighbourhoods and housing estates are undergoing regeneration and redevelopment robust community engagement must be an early priority.  And rightly so.

All building work is inevitably stressful, and major works will have an impact on residents’ and the local communities daily lives.  There will be uncertainty and misunderstanding but involving residents in the process wherever possible helps to develop those key relationships.  Valuing the community and finding ways to bring people together. Peju Fabunmi (Director, Cobalt Development Services) prefers to work with clients such as Sutton Living Limited who ‘think beyond the bricks and mortar‘. Early engagement with local stakeholders is yielding positive results as Peju manages Sutton Livings developments through planning permission to start on site. She understands the need to build levels of trust, to try to keep people on side throughout the project, from inception, through design and planning, to build programme and beyond.

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