Since the start of the first lockdown, many aspects of our work – or more specifically, the way we work – have had to change. In particular, the implementation and fit-out phases of projects have been affected by new (and frequently changing) rules and regulations.
For example, clients or property owners whose premises we need to access have had to set more stringent health-and-safety requirements. And the government’s lockdown restrictions have affected how our staff can travel around the country, and even where they can stay or eat while working away on site.
Our ability to deliver professional working environments smoothly and safely has always been one of the key reasons clients choose us. Yet rising to this year’s challenges has seen us take our professionalism to a new level, and we now work as an even closer team not only with our sub-contractors and suppliers, but with our customers too.
And digital connectivity has been at the heart of this.
For example, our team is often dispersed around a variety of locations, but clever tech means we’ll always be together (no matter how far it seems!).
Indeed, one of our current projects involves us working on eight different sites at the same time. Staff and contractors new to each site are now given a remote induction via Microsoft Teams and Forms, avoiding the need for what was previously a face-to-face process.
When our staff visit each site, they sign-in and out via our dedicated WhatsApp group for the project. This also gives us ‘track and trace’ capability as it documents who is where, when and for how long. At each site we install a ‘Covid Pack’ containing, among other things, hand sanitiser, the relevant rules for the location in question, and key information about the project.
Microsoft Teams is also employed for project management purposes, where we use it for video calls to customers and to staff on site, and to record and monitor progress of the project. This saves making unnecessary trips to site, which frees up time, increases flexibility, reduces costs, and avoids the current health risk of personnel visiting multiple locations.
With luck (and the results of some impressive science) the challenges of Covid may soon pass. But even so, we will be keeping many of our newly adopted processes in place as they enhance rather than encumber our work, helping to keep projects on schedule, customers in the loop, and our staff safer.