Core Themes Emerging from COVID-19

As a PR agency representing clients in a diverse range of sectors, we’re witnessing first-hand how the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted many businesses.

In some instances, changes that in normal circumstances would have taken months or even years to implement are happening overnight. We are also in awe of the leaders doing the hard but the right thing by staff and by the public.

Our job is obviously to communicate change, but we’ve also seen core themes emerging from organisations that are adapting their businesses and we’ve tried to capture some of them here.

Digital transformation is providing instant competitive advantage

Newcross Healthcare employs over 9000 people and provides highly trained staff, clinical expertise, and administrative support to help care for sick and vulnerable people.  Made up of a branch network of offices, the company has made great strides with digital transformation and COVID-19 has sped up further developments the company had in the pipeline.

“Our ongoing continuous investment in technology and the digitalisation of our processes have ensured that during this time we have maintained a seamless experience for our clients,” said Stephen Pattrick, CEO, Newcross Healthcare.

“We’ve fast-tracked further change we had in the pipeline for the next 18 months and made it happen super quick. We are now able to automate client bookings, fast-track recruitment, and our office staff can access our VOIP system at home,” he added.

While many of their competitors have been left behind due to their lack of digital infrastructure, Newcross Healthcare is able to offer unrivaled support and service to clients. The changes that have been implemented during the crisis will have a positive impact on business operations in the long term.


Bud, is a joined-up, end-to-end cloud-based system for the delivery of apprenticeships. Bud made the decision early on in the crisis to offer an apprenticeship enrolment module as a standalone solution to apprenticeship providers who had not gone through digital transformation.

With travel restrictions and workplace closures presenting challenging conditions, they did this to help all involved in learning delivery mitigate the potential for disruption to apprenticeship enrolments and the associated impact on training providers’ businesses. By reacting quickly to support the industry, Bud has expanded its reach beyond its client base which will serve its commercial goals in the long term. It has also garnered much goodwill by providing business continuity to many involved in learning delivery.

Find out more about Bud’s apprenticeship enrolment.

Strong, decisive leadership is providing long term opportunity

Origin Workspace had to make a decision as to whether to follow the market and keep its workspace of private offices, hot desks, and dedicated desks open or buck the trend and close. The company consulted with members and the consensus was to close until this crisis passed and to freeze membership fees during this period.  Whereas many commercial landlords have come under fire for refusing to close or to provide membership breaks, Founder, Heather Frankham and her team have received much praise from the business community at large for their sensitive and supportive handling of the situation.

Read more about the temporary closure of Origin Workspace.


When the initial lockdown measures were first enforced there was confusion for the construction sector. It took a while to receive clarity from the government on what was expected from them in this crisis. For Bradfords Building Supplies this situation needed strong leadership as public sentiment questioned whether the merchant should stay open or should close. Competitors chose to close which added complexity to the decision.

However, David Young, CEO, Bradfords knew his customer base and knew that as a vital part of the construction supply chain, merchants needed to stay open to support tradespeople undertaking essential work. Since that decision was made, the company has supported housing associations working throughout the South West region on front-line projects, such as carrying out emergency plumbing work for elderly people who need to be able to seek refuge in isolation, and in so doing freeing up critical capacity in hospitals. They’ve also provided the materials for a number of NHS trusts, so they’ve been able to continue to do work like build temporary isolation units and extend the capacity of GP surgeries.

When lockdown was announced the company committed to changing its whole operational structure overnight, and within less than 24 hours became a collection and delivery business only. They also introduced a whole host of further essential measures to keep employees and customers safe, such as curb side drops and pre-booked collection slots only.

For positive stories on how Bradfords are supporting the South West community during this time, see their Facebook page.

COVID-19 is inspiring creative and collaborative solutions

 Operating as England’s largest private training provider, Access Creative College (ACC) has a sole focus on the creative industries and plays an important role in developing talent and skills that are vital to the future growth of this sector in the UK.

ACC prides itself on its industry connections and ability to provide its learners with a series of work placement opportunities, and festivals are a big part of that. With live events being cancelled left, right, and centre, ACC decided to do its own completely online.

The ACC Virtual Festival incorporates all things creative and is designed to keep students and followers engaged, as well as raise awareness of the creative industries and the people within them. The packed line-up includes everything from live music, to workshops and Q&As.

As businesses across the UK continue to be hit hard by the pandemic, especially in music and events, ACC is using this period as an opportunity to inspire and promote greater collaboration between its students and those already working in their chosen fields.

Find out more about the ACC Virtual Festival.

COVID-19 is creating business diversification

Freemans Event Partners provide concessions, bars, catering, logistics, technologies, and brand activation at a wide variety of UK and European events and festivals. With all large gatherings cancelled for the foreseeable future, Freemans Event Partners have been working hard to find suitable solutions for businesses seeking solutions to get back to normal as soon as possible on the other side of lockdown. They have sourced equipment to supply thermal screening technology which can provide accurate readings of an individuals’ skin-surface temperature and can scan up to 30 people in one second with no human contact. In the long term, to mitigate the risks of future pandemic threats then this technology is likely to be utilised where large groups of people congregate such as airports, events, and large businesses.

Working across such a diverse range of sectors provides us with a plethora of rich insights. Follow this link to find out how we can help you pivot your plans, get your house in order, support you with critical communications, and when the time is right, drive business recovery.