Finding safe ways for construction work to restart will be crucial to supporting the economy as coronavirus restrictions are lifted, says Caroline Gumble.
At the time of writing, the UK is in lockdown. By the time you read this, it may be that restrictions are being lifted here as they are being lifted elsewhere in the world. There’s no doubt the coronavirus has not only changed the way we’re living and working on a short-term basis but is likely to change the way many of us work for many years to come. I’d like to focus on the changes for the better and what we can learn.
For a long time, the CIOB, our sister professional bodies and other sector organisations have talked about the need to be more collaborative; the pandemic has created a requirement for this to happen in a timely and effective fashion.
“I suspect there are many office-based construction roles that can be done at home and this period is likely to have proved that such flexibility is viable and should be more widely accepted.”
I’m proud to be part of this period in which we have put our brands and egos to one side for the sake of our industry – long may that continue. It’s also been a reminder that in times of uncertainty, as leaders we have to make tough decisions and communicate them, clearly, concisely and at the right time.
As a society and as an industry we will not be the same when this is over. We’re adapting to working differently quite successfully (my steep learning curve with Skype notwithstanding!). But in getting used to new ways of working, we must capture what we’re learning and then continue working differently, where it’s working for people, in the future.
I suspect there are many office-based construction roles that can be done at home and this period is likely to have proved that such flexibility is viable and should be more widely accepted.
Our sector innovates and adapts. I have no doubt that those qualities will be called upon when the sector goes back to work. It’s important to remember that process won’t just be about individuals getting used to going back to work, it’s about restarting work safely on site and all the many logistical tasks that involves. It’s also about playing the important part we have in supporting the economy. It’s a big task and we are more than up to the challenge.
Once again, my call to members is to share your stories. What are you doing differently and what would you like to continue doing differently when the current crisis is over? Most of our members will be aware that I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn and that the CIOB is active on both those platforms and on Facebook. Do reach out and tell us what you might be doing differently after this is over.
Caroline Gumble is CEO of the CIOB