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The Impact of COVID-19 on Construction: Tips to Help You and Your Team Navigate the Challenges

It goes without saying we are living through some seriously challenging times. This is true across the board, however, in some industries, such as construction, the impact is being magnified due to a multitude of issues all happening at once. 

At this stage of the pandemic, we are facing a huge spike in staff absenteeism, constant disruptions to supply chains, material shortages, and large cost increases on freight and products. These factors alone are difficult enough to manage, but when they are all happening together the resulting uncertainty, alongside time and budget blowouts, is causing untold amounts of stress and fatigue in project managers and workers at all levels. 

As we continue to work through challenges and adjust to the ‘new normal’ we’d like to support our team and others in the industry however possible. So in this article we’re sharing some tips and resources that we hope are helpful.

Taking care of your team

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With all of Australia battling it’s biggest surge in COVID-19 yet, looking out for the wellbeing of your team has never been more important. At this stage we are feeling fatigued and wondering when it will ever end. For employers, providing a safe work environment is essential. Currently in Victoria, it’s mandatory for every business with on-site operations to have a COVIDSafe plan. This is in place to eliminate and reduce the risk of any potential exposure to COVID-19 at work and will include things such as face masks, physical distancing, screening and workplace mapping. You can find detailed information on managing the risk in the construction industry on the WorkSafe Victoria website.

In addition to the above practical measures, being mindful of the effects of stress on both yourself and your team is also crucial. A supportive workplace culture will make a massive difference if someone is struggling due to the many issues we are facing now such as illness, financial stress, fatigue and anxiety. Sometimes an open door and listening ear is all that is needed, but there may be times when professional help is required. It’s a good idea to have contact details on hand for various helpful resources such as Nurse on Call, Beyond Blue and Centrelink Services to pass on if needed. 

Being flexible and adaptable

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With the absolute unpredictability of the current times, our levels of flexibility and adaptability have well and truly had a workout—and although it might be wearing a little thin, continuing with this mindset is a must. Where possible, allow additional time and resources when planning projects, so that if or when disruptions and delays do occur, the negative impacts can be reduced. 

Increasing communication with suppliers, staff, clients and industry partners is also important, so that everybody is in the loop about what is happening and where things are at. For most people, expectations that things will go smoothly and to plan are long gone, so if you are honest and upfront about the issues you’re facing, it is reasonable to expect that most will understand. 

Problems with supply and deliverables

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There’s no doubt that delays and problems with supply are widespread and causing extreme frustrations for business and customers alike. However, in the construction industry a lack of necessary materials has the ability to grind even large-scale projects to a halt. 

With no end in sight, we may need to think out of the box and look for new and innovative ways to meet demands. The options here may include seeking out alternative or additional suppliers, particularly if they are local or even smaller scale as they are less reliant on freight and a large team to keep things moving. Providing clients with a more flexible project timeline can also alleviate some pressure, as can creating strategic partnerships with others who can complete essential tasks (such as telecommunications) to free up your time and resources and enable you to keep things moving.

Taking care of yourself

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With the ongoing and stressful nature of the pandemic, burnout and illness is a real issue we must not ignore. For business owners, developers and anyone else who is shouldering the responsibility of managing projects in these crazy times, looking after your wellbeing must be a priority. Even small things like taking breaks and talking about issues you are facing with industry peers can go a long way, but if you are really feeling the pinch, don’t be afraid to seek out professional help. 

MakIng time to do the things you enjoy when you are away from work is also a really important way to recharge the batteries. Whether this is catching up with mates for a barbie or taking a long weekend to go fishing, put it in the diary and do it. You’ve well and truly earned it!

Coming through the other side

The last couple of years have tested us in ways we never believed possible—but we are a talented, resourceful and resilient industry that can survive and thrive. By looking out for each other and ourselves, and being flexible and resourceful, we can overcome the current challenges and come through stronger for it.

Our team can help you with a wide range of telecommunication, non-destructive digging and traffic management services. Contact us for a no obligation chat on 03 8592 8100 to find out how we can help.

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