WE MUST say goodbye to the old normal and embrace the new one, a businessman has urged.

Matt Bennett, CEO of DRB Group in Deeside has said that companies and employers must embrace the fact that the new normal has gone and look at ways to move forward.

Originally, Matt furloughed 30 per cent of his team, of which 50 per cent has now returned back to work and found ways in which people who did not need to be in, to work from home.

They embraced Zoom to ensure social distancing was met in that way and cleared out old offices to create more space.

He told the Leader that through this crisis, he has been proud of his team and the way they have taken the challenges on board.

He said: “We have been working weekends and 24-hour shifts to get the workload through. Some of it has been very bad, projects have gone quiet as huge chunks of customers have switched off.

“As managers, we have a huge duty of care to the welfare of staff and the environment and there are huge opportunities to move towards such as getting more cars off the road.

“Throughout all of this I’m most proud of my team, the work effort and courage. At no point have any of my staff said no, it’s been fantastic and they have all put huge amounts of effort in to make it as Covid-secure as possible.

“We work together to facilitate that safe working environment. There are dangers and risks but they get on with it. We’ve supported the NHS, toilet paper manufacturers and food manufacturers.

“Our customers have been amazing, keen to work with us to protect our staff and their staff and you’re only as strong as your weakest link. There’s no point us having the guidelines met if we go somewhere else and they haven’t.”

Matt said businesses have taken on board the new measures, which will likely be in place for a long time.

He added: “Everyone has that responsibility to prioritise health and safety now more than ever. We removed furniture in the canteen and subsidised it so food was free so ensure staff weren’t going out to eat and risking themselves.

“It’s about creative thinking and collaborate communication. You will have people in your business who suffer from anxiety and depression and their mental health will be off the scale. It’s about how we as business leaders work with them and support them.

“If people don’t want to come to work you have to understand and make people feel safe.

“We’ve been burning the candles at both ends, it’s very real for us but we still have to get out there. People with young children, we’ve become teachers. It’s a learning curve for us all and we have to adapt to what is going to be our new normal.

“I’m extremely proud of my team, every single person has worked so hard to make sure we deliver for our customers. They are a real credit.”

Matt’s team has been working long shifts to ensure manufacturers can meet their distribution targets and have been working around the clock.

But the CEO said that it’s the little things that help the most, from cleaning rotation and promoting good hygiene.

He said: “We aren’t going to get a cure quickly, if you imagine we do get a cure in September, how will you inoculate it for a population of 70million?

“It’s going to take a huge amount of time. I’m not a big fan of our government, but they have done an amazing job so all credit to them.

“They’ve worked so well and so quickly, it’s a herculean effort. On our tiny level, I understand the complexities, but they’ve done it the right way. They’ve gotten something out there and adapted that based on the feedback.

“There’s no point trying to perfect something then get it out there because the damage will be done. We are all going to have to accept that for a minimum of a year, this is our normal.”

Matt said that businesses and employers need to take this on board and help their staff through what will be an extremely difficult period.

He continued: “People have huge insecurities around not only safety but social economically, how secure are their jobs.

“They need to know what our plans are as business leaders. No-one has a crystal ball, it’s fluid but you have to update your teams regularly and in a genuine and honest way.

“Get their input and bring them in so they understand how it is evolving.

“We can get through this, and no doubt there will be businesses badly affected but we need to stay calm through all this.

“There’s so much fake news out there but we are very fortunate we have a great infrastructure in our country.

“We know we pick up a newspaper the news is right and true and fact checked. The big challenge at first was keeping up staff morale, we had to fight the fake news, we still do.

“The news is going to evolve but at least it’s based on the foundation of science and measurement.”