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Prepare Your Company for Corona

March 16, 2020 Uncategorized 0 Comments

As some of you may have heard, COVID-19 is a thing.

I know.  This is why we at Construction Finance are your trusted source for breaking news. (Tune it at 5 for the weather and traffic reports.)

….

In all seriousness, this is a scary time for people and companies.  Both lives and livelihoods are at stake, and people around the country are worried about what comes next.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any perfect solutions.

Nobody does.  This is a novel event, and I don’t think any of us are fully prepared for it.

However, one of my primary tasks this week has been readying our workplace for the storm, and making sure that we have the procedures in place to minimize any disruptions (as well as to protect the health and safety of our team and their loved ones).

Because I’m a firm believer that we can all make the world a better place by sharing our own hard-won knowledge, the following are a few basic recommendations for minimizing COVID-19 disruptions to your company:

  1.  Work remotely when possible.

Some things can’t be done remotely.  That’s the nature of construction–there’s just no way to hang sheetrock from from 20 miles away.

However, other things can be done from anywhere.

Think about giving your office staff the tools to work from home.

Before you do this, the following are some concrete steps you should take to make sure things run with minimal disruption:

  • Make sure that employees know all of their passwords for work accounts.
  • If you use any special software, figure out how that software can be accessed from home computers (or, alternately, consider having people take their work computers home with them).
  • Make sure that any office phones have call-forwarding set up.
  • Reiterate to employees that they’re still on the clock, and will still expected to perform their usual duties.

This may cost you a couple of hours of productivity in the short-term.  However, two or three hours of lost productivity will still be far cheaper than having an employee out sick for the month.

2.  For work that cannot be done remotely, have a clear policy in place regarding when workers should stay home.

Make it clear that even if a worker is asymptomatic, they should stay at home if a spouse or child is sick.  Consider expanding your standard sick-leave policies to accommodate this.

Doing this may cost a little money in the short-term.  However, having one employee out is still going to be far cheaper and more manageable than having half of your workforce gone for weeks at a time.

3.  Practice good sanitation.

For your workers who are out on the jobsites, make sure to provide soap and hand sanitizer.

More importantly, make sure everyone is using it.

4.  Remember that ‘social distancing’ applies to the workplace.

Whenever feasible, try to keep workers as far apart from one another as possible.  Hold your meetings outside the job trailer, so that people have more room to spread out.  Don’t cram ten guys into a single work truck.  Encourage people to keep their space during breaks and lunches. Don’t share water bottles or cigarettes.

5. Be flexible.

Recognize that this is a situation that’s still unfolding, and that additional changes may need to be made. Plan ahead for this reality by keeping communication lines open: That way, when change is needed, it’ll be easy to get the message out.

……

None of these solutions are perfect.  However, acting now and acting prudently is a good way to minimize overall disruptions.



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About the Author

Tipper Coker

Tipper Coker

Lawyer. Vice president of business development. Hopeless nerd who's read far too many AIA contracts.


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