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  • John Robinson

Remote Construction Management 3/24/2020

As a result of current events, members may be considering construction management from home or, at least, from more of a “social distance.” This may be due to an individual employee needing to work from home or from operational needs of the contractor.

Develop a policy-

“Members are encouraged to develop a policy if one doesn’t already exist. The policy should define who is eligible, anticipated duration, responsibilities, how hours/work is recorded, what the employer will provide and what reasonable expenses are reimbursable. Additionally, It is suggested that such a policy include that this option is available solely because of the COVID-19 pandemic and that it does not mean that employees may work from home or alter their schedules after the outbreak. The employer has the discretion to administer, change, modify or revoke the policy at any time (with or without notice), and employees must continue to abide by all pre-existing workplace policies. Each employee should sign the policy.

As always, don’t discriminate and ensure that the policy is applied consistently to all eligible employees being mindful of challenges related to non-exempt workers who, among other things, are eligible for overtime.”

Paraphrased from EHSToday. Full article: https://www.ehstoday.com/health/article/21126898/how-to-make-telecommuting-work-during-a-pandemic. March 23, 2020

Tips for working with a remote workforce-

1. Use a well-defined communication method, schedule, and protocols. There are many communication tools and management apps available. Use the same tools to avoid issues, duplicity, and inefficiencies.


2. Communicate daily. Yes, obviously, check-in to see what employees are working on, challenges they are facing, and how projects are proceeding. Remember to also incorporate conversation that would normally occur face-to-face at the office such as, “How are you doing?” How was your weekend?” You want to maintain trust and keep employees engaged in your business.

3. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more so that employees may be open and discuss issues they are facing. They may need a sounding board that they don’t have now if “socially distant.” Are there productivity improvements that can be made? They need to know that the company (you) are with them and that they are not in isolation.


4. Meet, as needed, face-to-face. This may done via one-on-one virtual conferencing, or virtual meetings of teams, departments, etc. This, again, develops trust and helps ensure open lines of communication. For teams/groups, this is also an efficient way to communicate a message and for a team to maintain itself, for collegial support, and for a sense of normalcy.

5. Ensure company information and systems remain secure as remote workers are accessing company systems creating a heightened vulnerability for cyber attacks. Also, ensure company property remains within the company (plans, project notes, etc. that might otherwise by scattered on an employee’s desk at the office may now be scattered about a home work space).

Other tips: Crisis Survival Guide: How 66 CEOs and Executives are Leading from Home

Field management software-

An internet search rabbit-hole with many options available. Which is best? Is this just a short-term solution or is the current state of affairs causing you to consider technological improvements that you’ll want to sustain for the long-term? Times are changing, is now the time to take advantage of and implement such changes. Just a few resources:


Viewpoint a Trimble Company


Fieldwire


Procore


15 Best Project Management Tools for Virtual Teams

Audio and video conferencing:

Zoom.us (has free plan that may be all that you need)

GoToMeeting

Google Hangouts Meet

Best video conferencing software 2020: paid and free solutions for business

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