Interesting things about the packaging industry, retailing dynamics, consumer trends and NOA’s insight.

Covid, coaching and mental health: how working from home has changed business

Oct 6, 2020 | Coaching and Mentoring, Market Research, Packaging Research and Analysis

Covid, coaching and mental health: how working from home has changed business

Glance back to the world BC – Before Coronavirus – and our MD here at NOA, Neil Osment, is out on the road to see one of our coaching clients in the packaging sector.

He sets off at 6am, he spends two hours with the client, he’s back at 6pm. Twelve hours, one client.

That was just a few short months ago but sometimes it seems like a lifetime. Now, DC (During Coronavirus – because we won’t be After Coronavirus for the foreseeable future), Neil can see one, two, perhaps several of our coaching clients in a day, supporting them and their packaging sector businesses as they steer a path through the pandemic.

Working from home – or WFH – has quickly slipped into common parlance, as we become used to our offices being closed and spending our working days at a home-based desk, holding meetings online.

But while we probably aren’t missing the long drives to meetings, and are perhaps making efficient use of what would have been travelling time, WFH isn’t a straightforward picture of positives.

And what impact has this had on the packaging sector? As curious marketeers and researchers, we were keen to find out and Neil – with an up close and personal view, through his coaching – is able to shed some light.


Covid and the packaging industry

What happened when we first went into lockdown: we left our offices, and went online. The world of ecommerce exploded so from a packaging point of view – think Amazon and food deliveries – it has been flat out. Those working on the frontline, in the delivery and distribution centres, certainly haven’t been working from home.  

But the picture is different for many office staff.

For NOA, it has been business as usual – many of our team have worked from home for years, and we’ve shared our experience about this in a previous post.

For others, the experience is new. We – and Neil, through his coaching – see it has become all the more important to look after people’s mental health. Working from home can be lonely and isolating, and it is vital employers recognise this and do what they can to mitigate any adverse effects.

We have just appointed one of the NOA team to the role of MHFA – Mental Health First Aider – and we are encouraging our coaching clients to make similar appointments.

Indeed, concern for and care of mental health has become a significant part of Neil’s coaching agenda, in a way we wouldn’t have predicted a few months ago.

At the same time, an employer has to have information on employees’ productivity, so we are supporting our clients to adopt systems to measure performance as well as keep in close contact, without being too ‘Big Brother’. Software we rate includes Trello, Basecamp and Slack. These help the employer have confidence in their WFH team, and the team to know they are being supported and not marginalised or forgotten. And of course there are a myriad of video conferencing systems to use – we are all Zooming or ‘going to meetings’, Skype-ing or acting as TEAMS (to name a few) now-a-days!

But what happens when employees return to work? Or have a hybrid arrangement of working some days in the office and some days WFH? We are talking to our coaching clients about adopting ‘return to work interviews’, to ensure staff feel Covid secure when they are in the office.

Finally, we mentioned many of us having more time on our hands – Neil loves spending less time in the car and more time speaking with customers! This brings with it an opportunity for coaching, not just for senior managers and business owners, but also for helping talented members of their team who they’d like to fast track. WFH plus coaching equals an opportunity for accelerated learning.


A word on Covid and sustainability

At NOA we are passionate about sustainability, and have blogged about it many times – here’s just one of our articles, about all things biodegradable.

Before Coronavirus, top of the news agenda was climate change, plastic-ridden oceans, and the fallout from the BBC’s Blue Planet series.

During lockdown, we were treated to wonderful images of clear, pollution-free skies over normally hazy looking tourist spots, like The Great Wall of China and The Taj Mahal. This was one silver lining to the Coronavirus storm cloud.

But has sustainability gone out of the window? While we have been worrying about Covid has climate change and – for the packaging sector, researching and adopting alternatives to plastic – dropped off the agenda.

It’s probably too early to say and one for a future delve into packaging market trends, by the NOA team. Watch this space…


At NOA, we specialise in packaging market research and packaging industry analysis, marketing for the sector and of course – through our MD Neil Osment – one-to-one coaching services at senior level.

To talk to them team please get in touch or email