THE UK LOCKDOWN on the movement of people designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus is set to put further pressure on a lighting industry reeling from a collapse in business and struggling to continue its activities.
Lighting manufacturers and design practices have been implementing unprecedented measures to maintain trade during the coronavirus crisis .
Across the industry, travel bans have become standard and staff are working remotely.
Some manufacturers had been continuing with production of lighting equipment while implementing strict hygiene measures, but it’s unclear how they will respond to the tightening of restrictions.
Many construction sites and projects – exempted from the Government lockdown – are still active across the country and deliveries of orders of lighting products had been continuing up to yesterday.
Signify – the world’s largest lighting manufacturer – told all its staff to work from home on Friday 13 March and cancelled all but essential travel.
Most companies have followed suit. Bluetooth lighting control specialist Casambi has announced it has suspended all its travel for the time being and wouldn’t welcome visitors at its HQ but its sales team would communicate with customers in an online environment.
Others have taken creative approaches to keeping business going.
Instead of site visits, art specialist TM Lighting is offering video-based site surveys and quotations.
However, it has postponed installations.
‘It’s an unbelievable, strange and worrying time,’ said Stanley Wilson, CEO of Yorkshire-based industrial and vintage luminaire maker Urban Cottage Industries.
‘We’re definitely still open for business but we’re taking our responsibility to slow transmission of the virus seriously’.
Wilson described it as ‘a scary time’ financially but the company was planning and adapting carefully to the emerging situation.
Optics supplier Ledil said its business was continuing normally. It is using an increasing amount of digital communication including virtual tools.
Meanwhile, lighting designers, many of whom are used to video tools, are working online Staff at one of the world’s top independent practices, Speirs + Major, have all been working from home in recent weeks.
‘As a flexible business with projects in various locations worldwide we have had remote working in place for some time,’ said company boss Mark Major.
‘We’re therefore well equipped to deal with the current change to working practices’.