I want to think that when we started our company in 2016, we were anticipating events like a global pandemic because that would make us an incredibly visionary group of people. However, it wasn’t the fear of contracting a virus that motivated us to create an entirely mobile company. It had more to do with the fact that we anticipated that our employees would need to be mobile and able to communicate with clients and colleagues from our multiple offices. As a team of engineers, we are always looking for creative solutions, especially when it comes to technology. The tools that we put in place to make work an activity, not a location, allowed for a seamless transition when construction halted in New York, and we no longer worked out of our office spaces.
For example, we have always held our Monday morning meetings via Zoom, bringing staff together, no matter where they were physically located. When we all started working from home in mid-March, that weekly meeting became a vital tool for collaboration for pre and post-sales tracking and project management. Again, other web-based applications like Monday and BuilderTrend are the source of our discussions. Our talented engineering team uses iBwave daily. Remote access to this tool enables them to create accurate designs of indoor wireless networks. MS Office 365’s online productivity tools, including SharePoint allow for easy file sharing and storage. Microsoft’s Teams has become our company’s go-to method of communication, and everyone in our firm keeps it open on their desktop at all times. In many ways, this “always-on” access has improved our communication and response time. All of our cloud and web-based apps are accessible from our phones and tablets as well. We recently built a mobile app in Microsoft’s PowerApps to give our engineers and project managers access to vital project information while visiting construction sites.
We’ve found that our employees can be just as productive or even more so when working from home. The foresight we had in 2016 has made our firm nimble, accessible to our clients, vendors, and one another, and helps with efficiency and improved response time. The one thing these systems can’t do is replace the banter I enjoyed over lunch with my colleagues. I look forward to sharing meals with them in the not so distant future.