Since I have been an empty-nester for three years now and I don’t have grandchildren, I have taken on a new sport: Playing “catch-the-ball” with my 14-month old Australian Shepherd, Coco. Ever since we made the transition to working from home, she sits outside the door to my home office—not to guard against intruders, but because, as a member of the herding breed, she wants to keep a watchful eye on me. I think she also wants to ensure that I take enough breaks throughout the day by stepping outside for a short walk or throwing the ball for 15 minutes. These breaks are a refreshing way to counteract the fatigue that can often accompany a day of isolation.
As Coco stands watch and the economy begins to reopen, we will continue to work remotely. In fact, we recently extended our work-from-home policy through the July 4th weekend in order to allow us to take a thoughtful, orderly approach to our return to the office and protect what matters most—our employees, their families and their loved ones, as well as our communities, our partners and our clients.
Our Genuine Ingenuity
We are fortunate in so many ways. Our colleagues are resilient, collaborative and resourceful. Our efficient transition to working from home in mid-March was the result of the work by our IT Department and the “Move Toward Mobility” investment we made over the past couple of years.
We are also fortunate to have a broad range of creative and innovative minds, which is a testament to our brand promise of Genuine Ingenuity. We’ve been invited as leaders in the AEC industry to provide input on state and local guidelines for economic recovery strategies and, as an essential business providing services for the built/infrastructure environment supporting the public health and safety of our communities, we are exploring ideas and reaching out to clients as they think through the challenges, solutions and opportunities that lie ahead.
Our HR Team, along with our COVID-19 Response Team, has been hard at work to ensure that the voices of our employees are heard as we develop a phased return-to-the-office approach. We have participated in multiple surveys with industry peers and local businesses, and we have also conducted surveys and one-on-one outreach with our employees in order to develop best practices for navigating forward.
Maintaining the Right Perspective
My work calendar over the past three months has been filled with conference calls with a variety of organizations about COVID-related topics such as policies, procedures, best practices, forecasting, financial stability, resiliency and supply chain independence. It has also been important, however, for me to continue focusing on the main priorities of my role as CEO. To ensure that our firm’s mission, vision and strategic plan remain on course while adjusting to a changing business ecosystem. It is also important that our Leadership Team and employees be ready to pivot as our clients rethink priorities and potentially accelerate new initiatives centered on how they will serve their customers in the post-COVID era.
We are all handling this transition period, which will evolve into a new normal, in different ways. Some of us snack while others exercise more frequently. I take more breaks during the day to get outside for a while and throw the ball with Coco or take a drive to top off the gas. Some of us notice changes in the leaves outside our window as spring turns to summer. Some of us hold our kids more often or take walks with our families and pets, and most of us look forward to a time when this period of isolation is just one story we tell as part of our overall “journey through life” narrative.
Throughout it all, we remain steadfast as a firm in using every tool we have at our disposal to make a positive difference; to plan, design and provide new solutions that will enable the built environment to be more resilient; and to exemplify our values of commitment, teamwork, integrity and respect that have come to define us.
We will continue navigating through this together. In the meantime, take time each day to reach out to others, stay safe, stay well and stay connected.