Leading through and beyond the pandemic: Webinar with Leeds Beckett University

7 May 2021

Leadership is seen as a critical success factor in business, but what happens when you add a pandemic into the mix? We joined Leeds Beckett University in their latest webinar to discuss how we continue to navigate through the covid-19 crisis.

Leeds Beckett University invited Sewtec to be a part of their latest webinar Leadership: Leading through and beyond the pandemic with guest speakers including David Taylor from Leeds Business School’s The Leadership Centre, Tim Knockton from Arc Inspirations, Dr Joanne Harvatt from the West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges, and Sewtec’s Business Support Director Mark Atkins.

The webinar focussed on how the pandemic has affected different businesses throughout West Yorkshire. We discussed the actions that we can take to support productivity, resilience, and sustainability of our businesses and the people we work with. The group provided insight into what it’s been like leading a business through a pandemic, including navigating furlough, temporary business closure, virtual leadership, site relocation, as well as challenges involving recruitment.

The Sewtec journey through the pandemic

As the pandemic hit, our main priority was the welfare of our colleagues and their families, offering support and flexibility where required. We we also classified as an essential manufacturer which meant we also had to maintain the high levels of support for our customers.

Over the last 12 months, we have faced many challenges, with our greatest challenge revolving around our site relocation. Not only did Sewtec have to navigate working from home for many of our colleagues, we also had logistical challenges such as hotel closures preventing contractors from working on site to construct the new facility.

With the relocation of our facility now complete, we have the advantage of a large and spacious site that is ideal for working to social distance regulations. Our plans to expand our workforce in line with increasing project demand presents another leadership challenge of recruiting virtually and remote onboarding for some new colleagues. We are proud of our leadership teams who have worked hard to ensure new recruits are safely integrated into Sewtec life.

We are now facing new challenges with international travel restrictions and self isolation periods for colleagues who are travelling abroad to support our global customers. The safety and wellbeing of our colleagues remains paramount and we continue to ensure we are supporting our teams wherever they may be based from.

The Leeds Beckett University Innovation Network is a series of events focusing on innovation as a key driver for sustainable strategic growth and improving productivity. Businesses, academics and partners explore the challenges faced by businesses looking to innovate. In addition to hearing from expert speakers, the Innovation Network offers a great opportunity for knowledge exchange and builds the community with peers.

For more information on future events, visit the Leeds Beckett University page on Eventbrite.