The COVID-19 situation has forced many businesses to make some changes to the way they operate. Because of strict stay-at-home orders by governments to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, some companies have opted for flexible work-at-home arrangements instead of stopping operations altogether. Using collaboration tools and remote management practices, these businesses will be able to continue their business, although in a limited capacity.
The construction industry is one of the sectors that are deemed essential by almost all countries. Structural work in support of novel coronavirus efforts is permitted to continue provided that workers observe proper hygiene and social distancing efforts. However, without the support of office-based functions in construction such as accounting, lien management, and sales, construction work will face several challenges, such as project delays, supply-chain slowdowns, and payment issues.
The current situation is the perfect time for construction businesses to adopt flexible work options and remote management practices. Here are some of the reasons why remote work is perfect for the construction industry.
1. Employees who work from home are more productive.
Remote workers value the convenience and flexibility that comes with working from home. And this easily translates to additional work efficiency and productivity. In fact, a Stanford University study found that on average, remote workers are 13% more productive at home than in the office. This is equivalent to an entire extra day of work.
The reason? According to the study, work-from-home employees were not stressed by the commute to work and experience fewer distractions while at home. In addition, remote employees took shorter breaks, had fewer sick days, and took less time off than their office-based counterparts.
2. Remote management tools are readily available.
The construction industry tends to be slow when it comes to adopting new technology. Because of the nature of the business where each project can take years to finish and construction sites are scattered across multiple locations, it can be hard to implement new technology to replace the traditional systems in place. The result is a lagging industry that is second only to agriculture in terms of digitization. A lot of business owners are reluctant to adopt new innovations because the old methods still work.
What many business owners seem to miss, however, is the availability and accessibility of new innovations such as remote management tools on the market. For instance, planning tasks and tracking projects are now easy to do with project management tools. Instant messaging and video conferencing platforms are also readily available for download for free so you can communicate with your employees effectively even when far apart.
3. It will future-proof your business
Even before the COVID-19 crisis affected the global economy, many industries were already adopting remote management practices. The nine-to-five workday may become obsolete in the near future. Millennials replacing baby boomers, who are aging out of their construction roles, will expect more flexible schedules as part of their criteria for choosing a workplace. Construction companies that allow their employees to work remotely a few days a week will have access to a larger talent pool and will be highly prepared to hire employees who want flexibility.
The COVID-19 crisis may have forced construction businesses to adopt remote work in order to continue. But the benefits of remote work paired with effective remote management practices extend far beyond the current situation. Now is the perfect opportunity for you to see whether remote work can work for your construction business.
About the Author:
Chris Woodard is the Co-Founder of Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.