The economy is slowly re-opening, but it’s not “business as usual” yet. With continued restrictions and guidelines from federal, state, and local authorities, construction companies still have to adjust to a new normal, even during a post-COVID recovery phase.
While these changes can be inconvenient, they can also benefit your business in the long-term, pushing you to innovate and, thus, become more efficient in how you use your resources.
Here are some tips for how you can start to recover from COVID-19 and move your construction company forward again:
Research & follow all mandatory safety guidelines.
The first and most important thing you can do in this time of recovery is keep your job sites as safe as possible. Research and follow the most up-to-date safety guidelines as closely as possible:
- Social distancing (six-feet) among workers whenever possible
- Wearing face masks
- Hand sanitizer & hand washing required
- Sick workers should stay home
- Temperature checks when workers show up on the job site
While these may seem like an inconvenience in the short term, these simple actions can dramatically slow the spread of the virus and will, in fact, help keep everything moving forward over the long term.
Seriously evaluate your capabilities.
Before resuming business as usual, take stock of your actual capabilities over the coming weeks and months. New restrictions mean you need to re-train team members and contractors in safety procedures, which will increase time to completion for most projects. Thus, you may have to re-prioritize the projects that were in your backlog before the pandemic broke out.
Prioritize digital infrastructure rollout.
Whether it’s through remote collaboration or on-site decisions being made by an off-site decision-maker, digital infrastructure will be the key to ensuring that teams function efficiently and avoid errors in a socially distanced world.
While your inclination may be to wait until you have fully tested and planned your digital infrastructure, every delay in your rollout means delays in your projects. Thus, you may need to expedite the rollout, and then make decisions and changes along the way.
Here are a number of the digital infrastructure pieces you may need to consider adding if you haven’t already:
- Pre-project planning tools. Having one program where you can store drawings, invite biddings from subs, compile estimates, and send proposal packages will dramatically reduce your planning time — which will benefit all your various stakeholders.
eCommerce for purchasing transactions. In-person or physical sales are now shifting to online, so it’s important to have a secure place to conduct these transactions.
- Accounting software. It’s easier to keep track of owner and sub billing, lien waivers, reporting, and expenses when it’s all in one location.
- Field management tools. With supervisors maintaining distance from contractors, the more tools everyone can have to manage projects and enable remote collaboration and decision-making, the better.
- Project management tools. Managing deadlines, schedules, work orders, change orders, RFIs, meetings, and reporting is better and more efficient when you can do it all in one place.
The quicker you have this digital infrastructure in place, the quicker you can not only get everyone to work, but start to get projects completed.
Shift work off-site when possible.
While there are many essential jobs that require being on-site, not everyone has to be physically present in order to do their jobs.
Many construction elements can easily be pre-assembled in a more controlled environment. In fact, there are many benefits that come from this approach, including an increase in sustainability. There are also a host of administrative tasks that should be handled in a sterile office environment or at home.
Enhancing your tech stack with the tools that allow you effectively monitor on-site activity from an off-site location.
Audit your finances & redeploy resources.
We’ve discussed before how construction companies should do everything in their power to maintain a positive cash flow during the COVID-19 crisis, and the same is true for this recovery period.
Regularly auditing your finances to uncover where you’re spending your resources and where you can potentially cut costs can prove invaluable to you over the long haul. With all of the changes, there are likely situations in which you will need to redeploy resources in different ways than you have before due to costs or inefficiencies.
The smarter you are about your finances, the greater the chance that you’ll catch up to where you were before the pandemic hit — or at least make some significant progress toward that goal.
Remember: this is the new normal.
For many companies, this is the new normal. The innovations and changes that are currently implementing aren’t temporary fixes. They’re going to become the permanent way we do business.
In some ways, this can be a benefit to you. Moving to digital, utilizing off-site preparations, regularly auditing your finances — these are all good practices to implement regardless of the external circumstances. That means it’s likely that the changes you make will continue for months, if not years, to come.
Go ahead and adapt to this new normal, and make the most of a bad situation.