Like most everyone, the JM Electrical team has been diligently working from home over the last several weeks as Greater Boston seeks to flatten the curve and stop the spread of COVID-19.
Since working remotely during the pandemic represents a big change for most in the construction industry, we wanted to share several lessons learned and best practices that we put in place during this unprecedented period of self-quarantine.
Even before the mayor announced the need to temporarily pause construction in mid-March, our team was already introducing practices to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus and protect the health and well-being of our staff, our families, and those we serve. That required us to maintain close contact with our employees, customers and vendors, even as we transitioned to working offsite. But current circumstances have also reaffirmed our close relationships in the industry, and the importance of maintaining frequent communications.
For instance, while our site work in Boston and Cambridge was limited, our office team remained fully functional and available to handle all requests. We are extremely proud of the relationships we have built with our clients since our company’s founding and remain committed to providing the same level of superior service and support. The substantial investments in technology we have made in recent years, have allowed us to continue to exchange information with little disruption between our clients, vendors and employees. Regular team communication – whether via Zoom, text or e-newsletters – ensures that timely information is shared, and our colleagues are checking in with one another.
For our employees, maintaining daily routines and starting each morning- as if it was a normal workday – was key. Instead of driving to a job site, our colleagues were encouraged to substitute a walk around the neighborhood for their daily commute. We reminded our team of the importance of work-life balance and the need to distinguish work time from family time. In addition to exercising regularly, stretching and meditating were also recommended.
Understanding and patience were also prioritized. Given the enormity of what has occurred across the globe, many people’s childcare was altered and interruptions arose from time to time. Taking that in stride allowed the company to adjust to the reality of the “new normal.”
Planning and preparation were also important. We developed a COVID-19 workplace safety plan, based on guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This plan will be particularly important as we work to comply with new health and safety regulations when construction projects resume.
The last several weeks have tested many Americans’ ability to adjust to extraordinary circumstances. Locally, it also served as a kind of tipping point for how the construction industry will function moving forward. At JM Electrical, the Boston construction ban, while a challenge, resulted in creative problem solving and the adoption of new approaches. And by assuring our company remained productive, and in close communication, buoyed by technology, we are confident that we will come out of the pandemic as efficient and productive as ever.