Spilling coffee on the sofa

As for everyone else, our team is working from home. Hospitals are doing heroic work caring for those in need, and we can only watch as customers (and now often  friends) are putting themselves in the front line, bravely doing everything they can, day after day. As a team we are sharing stories of people we know, updates on those who have fallen ill with the virus, and often we sit in silence, emotional and humble. So far everyone we know are okay; those who have been sick have recovered, but we know there is a long way to go. And there are so many we haven’t heard from yet. We worry.

In the meantime we try to do what we can to make sure that we help. We donate bits and pieces, we volunteer, we collect cans and we signpost buyers to PPE we believe has a good chance to be authentic. And we study. We train on anything from anatomy, to procedural knowledge, to ISO and country regulations for medical device manufacturing and distribution. Malaysia, Thailand and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We learn how we must change our procedures in the warehouse, and we realize we don’t need as much office space. That’s good: we are storing a lot of products — we know it will be desperately needed when operating theatres start trying to get through the backlog of surgeries mounting up.

We make new things too: we are continuing the work to launch a Male retractor kit, and we have had great feedback from demanding experts: “add this, change that, make this stronger”. We are grateful: they take time to share what they need us to make for them.

We get to work, beavering away in the background. We don’t want to add to their burden: we know what their days are like. We hope we get it right, and when we have samples we do everything we can to make it as easy as possible. A video to explain. Samples packed up and sent to home addresses, delivered in packages small enough to fit through the mail slot. Make it easy for people to tell us what they want and need. We cross our fingers; did we get it right?

We continue to work, more new things are being made. We design a new cool thing, but can’t show anyone. We get excited among ourselves: we are solving a real problem with a simple and (at least we think so) a genius solution. We spill coffee on sofas, get crumbs in keyboards, try to work with cats on our laps, with kids wanting pancakes and with sketchy wifi. Sometimes we cry. Shout. Swear.

But we never ever forget that we are here to do our job. Our job is to prepare for those who are returning from the front line. And when they return, we will be great. We will be better educated, better prepared, better equipped. We will be doing our best to continue to serve our customers, heroes and sheroes, in the best possible way we can.

We will be ready. And we will be forever grateful for the work they do.