September 2020 / Insight
Living and Working Through a Global Pandemic
2020 has been an unusual year for us all, presenting us with new challenges and calling for us all to adapt our skill sets. Carl Bower has been working with Hart in Afghanistan for 17 months, and is currently the Logistics Manager working in Kabul. Here Carl shares what he’s learnt this year.
What does your role with Hart entail?
As the Logistics Manager for Hart Afghanistan I am responsible for equipment and life support for all Hart contracts across the country. This includes the procurement of new equipment to enhance projects, from weapons and Ballistic Protective Equipment (BPE) to vehicles. This is all in line with getting the best value for money (VfM) but working on the principle ‘the right kit for the right job’.
Has your role changed at all during the pandemic? And if so how?
My role has had to evolve with the pandemic. COVID protocols have to be followed, from sanitising stations in the office to the procurement of PPE for all members of staff. This is now included in all of my logistic estimates for current and future projects – it’s likely that COVID will be part of our lives for a while to come.
You are used to working in high-risk environments where the pressure is high. How has COVID impacted the stressfulness of your job?
COVID must be managed as another risk to the business and is an essential factor on planning of all projects. I ensure all my locations have the best protection so we can continue to meet the clients’ needs. The stressful part comes from ensuring that all the projects have sufficient protection, 24/7.
All staff are issued disposable masks and gloves while duty staff who work in areas where they are coming into contact with local people – such as the K9 team for example – are issued plastic face visors. To date, I’ve issued approximately 500 face visors to numerous locations.
What do you do to manage your stress?
I use CrossFit to keep my stress levels down. I started 12 months ago and now train 6 days a week.
What have you learned about yourself this year?
To prioritise tasks, to not overreact, and most importantly, to take a moment during the day.
Has anything positive come out of COVID-19 for you?
It’s made me appreciate my family more.
What has been the most challenging part of 2020?
To ensure I deliver what I say I can deliver; it’s about reputation and that is very important to me.
How has the Hart team in Afghanistan adapted to the challenges of 2020?
The entire team has retained their professional approach throughout the pandemic. There have been team members stuck in country for extensive periods of time, while others remained at home due to flight restrictions. As part of the management team, we have to constantly review our processes to ensure we deliver the same level of service across all projects. And of course we need to continue ensuring the wellbeing of all staff throughout.
What do you enjoy about working in Afghanistan?
The professional challenges and being able to improve myself mentally and physically.
What is your biggest challenge working in Afghanistan?
Managing the current projects across Afghanistan but also having to anticipate requirements and remain flexible. It is a challenge but I enjoy it.
What advice do you have for someone working in high-risk environments?
Do not overreact, step back, and plan. Always have a plan B and C as Plan A rarely works.
What are you looking forward to at the moment?
Quality time with my family, who I love and miss. My new car which is currently sat on my drive. Personal development and career progression within the industry.
What are your hopes for 2021?
I hope to continue to improve my professional skill set and move forward with my career within Hart.