COVID Response

November 19, 2020

COVID Response from our EHS Manager Terri Odom

How has Wesely Thomas responded to the COVID pandemic this year?

In March, we got word that we could stay open as an essential business so we got busy developing a plan. We actually already had a pandemic plan ready to go. During the H1N1 influenza, I had written a plan in case it impacted business. When COVID hit, I updated that plan to include all of the CDC requirements. As it turns out, a lot of the things that were already in the pandemic plan were mirrored in what came out of the CDC. But the CDC continued to update requirements so I made sure to revise and update the plan as things progressed. We also had to adhere to specific requirements from our clients.

Once we had the plan in place, we got it out to all the jobsites to educate our tradespeople and superintendents. Then, just like everyone else, we started scrambling for N95 masks and hand sanitizer to be used at the job sites and in the office. We posted signage with instructions for construction guidelines. We gave constant reminders to use masks, provided Dawn soap to help keep safety glasses from fogging up, etc. It was really about making sure that we were being diligent and that we were being role models on the job sites so that our tradespeople were in compliance. We’re finally at a place where everything has pretty much reached the status quo. Now we can just operate in the new normal. I think we’ve done well to adjust and keep the business running effectively and efficiently.

How has the day-to-day at Wesely Thomas changed since COVID?

Ironically, people are busy in the construction industry! We haven’t slowed down in the day-to-day. But like with everyone else, a lot of people are working from home now which has changed the way we have to do business. In terms of work onsite, we currently have a project where one of our subcontractors designated a group of people to form a pod. They’ve stayed together on that project so they aren’t constantly changing people in and out.

Generally speaking, we have to be more diligent about how we show up to work by wearing masks, physical distancing, temperature scans, path of travel in and out of buildings, etc. All of that takes a little bit more time and thought to get done.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in doing business during the pandemic?

Clients have been taking a second look at their projects. Some have been putting things on hold, pushing things out a little bit further, and waiting to see if the world comes back to what we once knew as normal. There is a lot of uncertainty on if and when things will get back to what they used to look like.

COVID has also impacted the availability and timing of materials that we need. We’ve had longer lead times on materials because manufacturing has changed and slowed down. Sometimes it’s also hard to get people in the trade to the jobsite because of demand and longer than normal turnaround times. COVID has had a definite impact on what we do in order to continue to be successful. Some of it has to do with people, some of it is process, some of it is the restrictions. It’s just all part of the problem-solving process. It’s what we’re good at.