Fife firm Smith Anderson, which makes tens of millions of paper bags each week, has taken on 30 new staff to deal with staff isolating.
The family-run business supplies paper bags to food giants McDonald’s, Greggs, Burger King and Five Guys.
It also supplies products to the healthcare sector, including several of the UK’s largest pharmacy groups and the NHS.
It has taken on 30 new staff since the turn of the year, with another 10 new jobs to be created before the end of the summer.
Smith Anderson create jobs to cope with staff isolating
Chief executive Michael Longstaffe said the new jobs were partly needed to deal with staff members who need to self-isolate.
One of the challenges as restrictions are lifted further will be ensuring production is not affected by staff having to self-isolate.
As Covid-19 case numbers in Scotland rise among younger people, Mr Longstaffe is aware the situation may get worse before it improves.
He said: “It’s not going to get any better.
“The requirements to self-isolate mean we have to take other actions to make the bags that we have already sold.”
As a result of staff shortages, Mr Longstaffe estimates the production of paper bags is down between 5 and 10%.
It usually produces around 60 million bags each week.
Turnover remains ‘very healthy’ despite fall
With the restaurants they supply closed during the first lockdown in March last year, Smith Anderson’s sales fell by £2.4m to £28.9m for the year to 30 September 2020.
In 2019, the firm recorded turnover of £31.3m.
Newly-published accounts show an increase in the company’s pre-tax profits from £420,000 to £1.9m.
The closure of McDonald’s restaurants across the UK for April, May and most of June last year led to a 15% fall in the firm’s UK turnover.
Strong sales in Europe meant only a 7% fall overall.
The business remains healthy though, Mr Longstaffe said.
The chief executive said: “We didn’t sell anything for the months of April and May last year.
“If you factor out that and factor in two standard months, you’d find that turnover is very healthy.
As restrictions eased last summer, the firm, based in Kirkcaldy’s Rosslyn Commerce Park, experienced an upturn in business.
He also said the firm – Europe’s largest supplier of paper bags – remains on track with its strategic plan.
Smith Anderson had been aiming to establish its own performance academy last year.
That was put on hold, but it opened in April this year.
Mr Longstaffe said: “We now have a formalised learning and development department within the performance academy.”
The chief executive praised the company’s 237 staff for their efforts in “a very challenging” environment.