The COVID-19 global pandemic has turned our world upside down over the past few weeks. We continue to see rapid changes with additional restrictions being announced every day, if not every hour. But even with everything going on in the world, business must go on.
With all this craziness, many companies have instituted optional or mandatory work-from-home policies. So, how can preconstruction team members continue to be productive and stay connected to each other while working remotely?
When you’re accustomed to going into an office each day, seeing coworkers in person, and collaborating on projects together, working remotely can be challenging. But as the phrase goes, it’s still “Business as Usual”. Construction bids still need to get submitted. Takeoffs and estimates still need to get done. No one wants business to suffer because the preconstruction team is working differently. What can you do to minimize disruptions?
Here are a few things successful managers can do to make sure team members stay productive:
- Set Expectations – If team members know what’s expected of them, they are much more likely to complete those tasks. Be specific and set clear deadlines so there’s no ambiguity. STACK includes a bid calendar that helps teams see upcoming deadlines. To keep everyone on the same page, you can assign tasks to other team members and update the project statuses within the software.
- Communication Individual & Team Goals – Just like #1, communication is key here. Make sure the team knows what goals the team and company are working toward. If individuals have their own goals, be sure to clearly communicate those as well. Update the progress toward these goals at appropriate intervals.
- Conduct Daily Status Meetings – Schedule a quick meeting every morning to provide status updates on projects the team is working on. Encourage coworkers to bring up challenges they’re facing, ask questions they have and solicit help when needed. These meetings are a great way to connect and ensure projects are moving forward.
- Provide Software & Tools – You’ll need to make sure everyone is properly equipped to successfully work from home. At a minimum, everyone will need a computer, internet access, and the ability to get their work email. Team collaboration software and tools will also help everyone stay connected. Read on for a few tools to consider…
Preconstruction teams are typically some of the most equipped to be able to effectively work remotely. Since they are likely working with digital blueprints, travel to the jobsite isn’t imperative and there are a lot of tools and software available that help enable teams working remotely to continue to get their jobs done. Here are a few to consider for your team:
• STACK – STACK is an all-in-one preconstruction platform built for team collaboration. Since it’s cloud-based, you can access STACK from any internet enabled device from wherever you are in the world. From streamlined plan viewing to real-time team collaboration to lightning fast takeoff and robust project reporting, STACK offers a centralized hub where teams can work together to improve project efficiencies and drive revenue growth. Best of all, you can give these tools a try for free – go here to Create a free STACK account.
• Construction Journal | PlanHub | Dodge Data & Analytics – These are 3 solutions that you can use to help find new construction projects accepting bids. If you find your business is slowing down or you simply want to maintain or grow your company, these tools can help you do that! The great news is that Construction Journal, PlanHub and Dodge Data & Analytics are all STACK partners. Learn more about them here.
• Bluejeans – Since in-person meetings are no longer possible for many businesses, using a video conferencing solution like Bluejeans is essential. With Bluejeans you can video chat, audio chat and share your computer screen with everyone else in the meeting.
• Slack – Slack is a wildly popular team collaboration platform where employees can communicate, share files, conduct conference calls and more. You can communicate one-on-one, in groups, or with the entire company. It’s an extremely intuitive platform and fun to use!
We often spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our spouse, children and friends. In fact, our coworkers often become some of our closest friends. When we see them in the office, we ask them about their weekend, how their child’s soccer game went, and share with them the tv shows and movies we’re watching. This doesn’t have to stop just because you’re not seeing your coworkers in person!
Working from home can be isolating and connecting (even virtually) is good for our personal wellbeing. Happy coworkers are also good for business so it’s important to continue to connect with each other on a personal level.
Instant messaging tools like Slack and Skype make it easy to maintain these personal connections. Here are a few ideas to keep your team in good spirits and feeling connected:
- Listen to an industry podcast as a group and discuss reactions after via audio or video chat. Looking for some construction podcasts to listen to? Check out The Construction Management Podcast and The Construction Leading Edge Podcast.
- Host a virtual coffee meetup or happy hour – it’ll make the start or end of the day a lot of fun and give the team something to look forward to.
- Start a meme contest. Entries should be due by a certain time of day and the winning criteria is up to you (most relevant, funniest, most creative, etc).
COVID-19 has already created disruptions for the construction industry and will undoubtedly create more challenges in the days, weeks and months to come, but using the strategies and tools listed above can help keep everyone on track and minimize impact to your business.
In these challenging times both personally and professionally, it’s important to support each other. Coworkers with children may also be helping with homework, making lunches, and trying to keep the kids entertained. Others may need to make a quick run to the store when they realize they’re desperately low on toilet paper. The point is that life can sometimes get in the way of work and that’s ok as long as the work gets done.
Be compassionate and understanding. Others may be dealing with sick family members or simply be stressed out by the day’s news. Your preconstruction team can come out of this crisis stronger by working together and supporting each other.