It seems like yesterday in Ontario we were on the brink of the lockdown state we’ve been in for almost a year. While this time last year people were still on March Break vacations, there were whispers about an extended March Break for students, as case numbers slowly started to increase. It became the buzz in our office: “What if…” seeming to start most sentences. We looked into pandemic planning, we outfitted our office with hand sanitizer and wipes, as a global pandemic was declared March 11, 2020. We continued business as usual, until the day came on March 17, 2020 that changed everything. Lockdown was officially upon us, and so the CFMS team packed up what we would need to work from home for the next couple of weeks and we headed home.
Sound familiar? I bet it does! So you know how the story goes – two weeks drifted on into months, and so big decisions needed to be made. While the CFMS team enjoyed our office and the opportunity for team connection it afforded us, the truth was we didn’t really need the space for our work to thrive. We were able to pivot easily – everyone already had work from home capabilities set up well before the pandemic, as we’ve always been an agile team between our work on site that might have us at a few different locations in one day, and late-night report writing being sometimes required as a result. We’ve also promoted work life balance and understand there were times team members needed to work from home. Shifting to full time work from home was a smooth transition, if not seamless. The tech world now offers so many options for online connection, that while we miss in person meetings with our staff, clients and associates, we’ve been able to maintain our connections remotely.
After 15 years in the same office, it was an emotional farewell, but also therapeutic as it offered us the chance to clear out a lot of unnecessary and obsolete materials we’ve accumulated over the years. We are proud to have donated the majority to help others in need: from non-profits, to entrepreneurs just starting out, to teachers looking for materials for students in need, amongst other grateful parties. The most difficult loss was our office manager Aysha Perera, as without an office environment, the role unfortunately became obsolete. She served the team well for 10 years, and is still missed, but we are happy to hear she’s moved on to a new role she thrilled with.
2020 was always to have been the year when CFMS’ first employee Ed Trueman was going to shift his role to semi-retirement, but the pandemic unfortunately thwarted our plans to celebrate his career with CFMS. Ed joined CFMS founder Mel James in 1993, and through his career provided commissioning for countless projects, including numerous hospitals, and projects far afield like Nigeria and Bangladesh. He is currently winding down his remaining projects, and providing support to the team until he completely retires.
While CFMS is deeply saddened by the toll the COVID-19 Pandemic has taken on the world, we are fortunate in that we have been able to keep rolling successfully. We have an exciting backlog of projects in progress, and other projects lined up or starting soon. We’ve kept on top of the ongoing developments to ensure we are following COVID-19 protocols, including outfitting our staff with proper PPE, especially for our visits to site. For the time being, we are sticking with our working from home model, while considering what a return to an office space might look like down the road when life returns to a little more normal for everyone.
CFMS is still here for you – “Partnering to Provide Quality Control”. We look forward to continuing work with our existing clients, as well as making new clients, as we work our way through the pandemic and are hopeful for what the future holds for all of us at CFMS, and our valued clients, associates, friends and families, as we are indeed ‘all in this together’.
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