The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving an indelible mark on the way we think about public health and safety, public spaces and the built environment as a whole.
At Gresham Smith, we have a history of tackling challenges by using our Genuine Ingenuity to arrive at solutions that are creative, innovative and workable. We have designed this page to help define the conversation—about where we go from here, what the road (or roads) may look like, and what we need to be thinking about along the way. We invite you to explore with us.
How We Can Help
We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting each market, project and community in unique ways. Regardless of what those impacts may be, we provide specialized engineering, design and planning expertise to help our clients define a clear path forward during these uncertain times.
The air transportation industry is certain to experience a shift as airports seek ways to reduce passenger congestion and risk of exposure, both at security checkpoints and throughout the terminal. Whether it’s implementing biometric and touchless technologies, reworking the layout of existing airports, or rethinking passenger flow, our aviation expertise can help address specific needs while enhancing passenger experience. See our aviation work.
There are several challenges facing the healthcare industry—from modifying or expanding existing hospitals to increase capacity, through establishing safer patient access, to developing external testing and triage centers. In addition to applying our industry knowledge to meet these needs, we also provide services geared toward adapting non-clinical spaces to serve as patient care centers. Learn more about our Healthcare practice.
States are beginning to reopen the economy, and their success will rest on the ability of businesses and industries to protect employees from possible infection. We can help develop return-to-office strategies that include temporary adjustments to workplaces to accommodate social distancing, the conceptualizing of new spaces that align with the needs of a remote workforce, and due diligence reports for real estate purchases as companies rethink their work environments. Learn more about our Workplace services.
Industrial & Manufacturing
As industrial and manufacturing clients consider how to maintain productivity while protecting worker health and well-being, we put our design and engineering experience to work to modify or enhance facilities, add health centers to existing plants, and adapt facility entry sequences for both materials and people. Learn more about our Industrial & Manufacturing expertise.
Efficient transportation systems will continue to be a cornerstone of our nation’s infrastructure. How we plan and operate these systems, however, is undergoing a change. For example, we recently helped one of our clients develop a virtual approach to public engagement in light of the “safer at home” guidelines. Our expertise doesn’t stop there. Whether it’s developing a resiliency strategy, designing safer roads, incorporating active transportation strategies or filling staffing needs for state and local agencies, we stand ready to help. Learn more about our Transportation capabilities.
At Gresham Smith, the health and well-being of our employees, our clients and partners, and the communities we serve is a top priority.
Covid-19 Response Task Force
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, our Management Team—comprised of our CEO, COO, CFO and CSO—has been actively monitoring the latest information and guidelines established by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), government health agencies, and industry peer organizations in order to assess and prevent the potential for transmission as a result of our activities.
Our firm has also established a coronavirus committee comprised of operations, safety, human resources, information technology and communications directors that meets on a daily basis to ensure that we maintain an appropriate level of response. This includes ensuring that our employees have the necessary resources to work remotely without interruption of service to our clients, taking steps to enhance our cybersecurity measures, and providing flexible work schedules.
As the economy begins to reopen, our committee is establishing guidelines and policies for the safe return of our employees to the office, which will occur using a phased approach. Out of an abundance of caution and in order to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees, clients and communities, Gresham Smith will not be part of the first wave of returning businesses.
Safeguarding our Employees, Clients and Communities
Early on, we instituted a proactive, robust approach, including but not limited to, the following:
- Institution of a work-from-home policy for all employees, effective March 16, with the exception of a limited number of essential staff. We have also established guidelines enabling our employees to work flexible hours in order to balance individual needs with client and project responsibilities.
- Adherence to client-mandated health and safety protocols by employees working at project/field locations, and guidelines regarding hygiene, social distancing protocols, and the use of face masks.
- Robust, regular communication to all staff regarding the latest government guidelines on social distancing, hygiene and Gresham Smith’s coronavirus-related policies.
- Establishment of a dedicated coronavirus intranet portal allowing our employees to link directly to the CDC and WHO coronavirus websites, resources to seek medical attention if feeling ill, and telemedicine options with our healthcare provider.
- Feedback tools to ensure that employees are receiving the information and resources they need to comply with our work-from-home policy.
- Restriction of all non-essential business travel and “alert requirement” for employees who engage in personal travel.
- Cancelation or postponement of in-person meetings.
- Restricted access to our office locations by non-Gresham Smith personnel.
Robust Work-from-Home Infrastructure
Gresham Smith already had a robust technology infrastructure in place prior to the coronavirus pandemic, which has allowed our staff to seamlessly transition to remote work without the need to access our office locations for files and hardware. This has enabled us to communicate with and continue to provide the same level of service our clients have come to expect from our firm. As a result, we are now able to take a thoughtful, measured approach regarding when, and how, our workforce will return to the office.
We continue to monitor the latest developments and are ready to respond accordingly.
“Airports will have to thoughtfully evaluate each step of the passenger journey to establish an environment where people feel safe to fly again. While the use of technologies like biometrics and touchless experiences will increase, a combination of near- and long-term thinking is needed to address the physical, logistical and financial implications on airport operations.”
Wilson Rayfield, AIA, LEED AP
Executive Vice President
“When the pandemic is under control, it’s unlikely we will pick up where we left off. Health systems will be faced with a myriad of choices for how to best move forward with their future approach to healthcare.”
Jim Langlois, AIA, LEED AP
Executive Vice President
“The feedback we’re receiving from clients has centered around greater flexibility for where and when employees work. Face-to-face interaction reigns as the first choice for collaborative interaction, but new tools offer additional opportunities for remote collaborations and business continuity.”
Jack E. Weber, IIDA, MCR, LEED AP
Senior Vice President
Corporate + Urban Design
“Designing facilities that maintain productivity while protecting workforce health and safety is going to be a high priority moving forward.”
David Verner, RA, NCARB
Executive Vice President
“Traffic Management Centers may need to be reconfigured in order to allow for proper social distancing and public engagement meetings will need to take place virtually.”
Kent Black, P.E.
Executive Vice President