Architectural firms across the nation are reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak. Many firms are now working remotely as a way to manage risk. The goal is to balance continued work on important projects without endangering the health of employees. Here are some of the ways architecture firms are managing risk during COVID-19.
The most significant thing to keep in mind is that the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever changing. You want to verify local, state, and federal guidelines regularly to make sure you are up to date on the facts. The Center for Disease Control, National Institute of Health, the Department of Labor, and local health departments all have resources about governmental restrictions and guidelines pertinent to employers in the architecture and design industries. It is a great idea to assign someone to monitor governmental actions related to COVID-19, so that you can establish a quick and organized way to communicate policy changes to your team.
Communicate with Employees
All of your employees likely have some anxiety about the Coronavirus. It’s important to assure them you care about their physical and mental well-being. Be honest and transparent in the way you communicate with your team. They need to know how they can continue working in a safe manner. This includes detailing your teleworking policies, mailing protocols, and security protocols. You also have to consider that each of your employees has different living situations. Your telecommunication and teleworking procedures need to be flexible enough to account for the challenges that many working parents, couples, and multi-generational families are facing right now.
Communicate with Clients
While the safety of your employees is paramount, you also need to manage risk in your interaction with clients. As you continue a project, tell the client you plan to abide by CDC guidelines, as well as local guidelines if applicable. This is important to communicate as different parts of the country have different levels of work from home and social distancing rules. You also want to make sure the client wants the project to move forward and address any concerns they might have. You might also want to describe your remote work processes as some clients might not understand how the work can be performed remotely.
Mitigating Risk in Office Spaces
If you still have access to your offices, you want to increase cleaning and sanitation measures even if a substantial number of your employees have switched to working from home. If you do lose access to your office spaces, plan ahead. You want to dispose of garbage, change filters, adjust thermostats, and clean before you vacate the premises.
In light of COVID-19, architectural firms need to evaluate their policies and do their part to manage risk. Firms not only have to keep their employees healthy; they also need to protect their clients and the general public.
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