Last Friday, we participated in the webinar from Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) regarding the virus.  If you missed it and would like to listen to it, click here to watch it.  AGC is publishing a daily series to advise the construction industry with respect to managing businesses in the midst of the pandemic.  You can join in and catch up on past topics at any time. Gain access here.

As I write this blog, the construction industry is still permitted to continue with projects in most circumstances.  This is due to construction being classified as “essential business”.  Despite being classified as essential, as we are seeing with Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and other cities in the country, circumstances vary by locale.  Construction has been halted in all senior living communities nationwide, and rightfully so.  Continuation of construction in toto is contingent upon receiving adequate funding, building materials, supplies, and sign-offs from inspectors and consultants.  Additionally, it is necessary for your own internal staff members to stay healthy and focused upon their jobs.  Don’t be ungrateful for the blessing of employment, for though you may occasionally think for a moment that having to go to work is tough, waiting for a government subsidiary or charity to care for your household is much more stressful.

We are thankful to still be working full time.  We are currently filling positions for contractors seeking responsible, talented personnel to come on board, as they either need to fill the gap from those who may not be able to perform their responsibilities right now, or because they know that preconstruction and planning must go on, for the economy is destined to bounce back eventually.  It may not appear so now, but predictions are that America will be in a strong economic position when the virus is gone.  Construction is essential to building America.

We are also helping contractors who have down time due to project slow-downs. Presently, they are utilizing their spare time to train and prepare their people and processes to be stronger for the future.

How can you live and work smartly?

Limit your interactions with other people.  Shopping once per week and packing your lunch limits your exposure immensely compared with someone who makes one extra public stop daily.  While we want to support local businesses, you can do so by ordering from your home and having them deliver to your door.  Order extra necessities for the next day. Leftovers are better than a week or more of not being able to eat at all because you are ill with the virus and just struggling to breathe.

If you are at an office, practicing social distancing and make sure to use hand sanitizer frequently.  Disinfect your phone, computer and all other work equipment a minimum of once per day with Lysol or other disinfectants.  Do not let others use your equipment. If you set your eyeglasses down on a desk in a shared space, disinfect them before putting on your face.  It doesn’t hurt to use the same pen and wipe that down occasionally as well.

We have a shared restroom at our office.  When using it, I use a Lysol wipe to exit our office suite, and to enter the bathroom and stall.  When exiting after washing, I take ta paper towel with me to open all doors to return to my office and discard there.  This may sound extreme, but I want to exercise due diligence and not inadvertently convey the contagion to others.

If you are jobsite-based, respect the OSHA guidelines as well as any guidelines set by your employer. If you have any safety questions, feel free to email us at employment@flccmail.com and we will refer you to a safety professional to assist.  Wear your masks and gloves when applicable, wipe your tools down and limit sharing.  Pack your lunch and eat it while social distancing. We know how difficult it is to slow a project down, as the field is driven by adherence to schedules.  Remind one another that working in a slower mode under restrictions is better than not working at all.

In 2018, we started to see more construction management and administrative candidates request to work from home all or some of the time.  In January 2019, we addressed the character traits necessary to earn the privilege if your construction employer chooses to permit it.

Working smartly remotely means documenting and communicating for verification and confirmation just like you were in the office or jobsite trailer.  It means limiting distractions and making sure your boss and co-workers can reach you quickly when they need something under a time constraint. Practice the recommended safety precautions for COVID-19 at home and encourage anyone who lives with you to do the same.

None of us employers ever thought we would be in this situation.  We had a candidate last week who lost his job in which he was already working remotely for a couple of years.  He turned down interviewing for a job that would not guarantee him that he would stay remote even after the pandemic has passed.  He felt fortunate that it worked well at his past place of employment and is holding out to get that again in the future at least a couple days a week.

Always, but especially right now, we need all employees on payroll healthy and on their game.  Your employer is evaluating their business as a whole during this crisis.  The last thing they need is to be dealing with unnecessary business distractions.  We don’t know how many weeks we will be under restrictions.  We do not know, after the COVID-19 pandemic passes, if more jobs in construction management will be offered partially or fully remote. All we know is if that working smart and productively now, while forced remote, will determine whether this option will be viable under normal circumstance future. Are you doing your part to work smartly?

To Your Health and Provision,

Suzanne Breistol