Working in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic
Updated: Jun 22
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic our office procedures, policies and methodologies have changed just to be able to survive in this environment.
First, we would like to express our appreciation for all the health professionals at the frontlines commiting their time and effort to make a difference and save lives. They put their lives at risk everyday, leaving behind their families, to fight this disease. Thank you. We owe you our deepest gratitude.
Adapting to the recent pandemic has been incredibly challenging and difficult. As a land surveyor/geodetic engineer practicing at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in America, just to survive means to walkthrough a mine field of problems day by day.
When the pandemic began, questions whether a land surveyor was an essential worker arose just as it had for everyone else. Although in the beginning it was confusing, revisions to the State's quarantine declarations have shown that land surveying is essential work as long as we abide by the social distancing rules and working guidelines by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) we will be able to continue working.
Ever since this disease engulfed the State of New York, we've had to come up with different procedures in conducting our business. Nowadays, while one or two point persons organize files and coordinate equipments, no one is allowed to enter the office unless otherwise necessary. By using platforms such as Facetime, Zoom, Facebook Messenger, and other cloud based collaborative tools, we were able to give our office workers the ability to from home. This enables 3/4 of our company to work remotely while constantly communicating with each other. Communication is key when telecommuting.
The field crews are largely one man crews. We have informed them of protocols that prohibit them from entering the office or any of the populated buildings and dwellings that they survey. We provide them with personal protective equipment and inform them of the rules of social distancing in addition to keeping their vehicles sanitary and safe.
Although we have introduced all these modifications to our day to day operations, there are still major problems we cannot do anything about. The sporadic workflow, the occassional virus scare and quarantine, and the irregular capital availability are some complications that we have encountered. It is the hands-on daily juggling act of people, personnel and resources together with the willingness to learn new technologies that softens the blow of some of these obstacles. A business' flexibility to be nimble and adjust is vital to being productive and efficient. Likewise, navigating the maze of web pages for guidance on paid sick leave and Small Business Administration loans is no cake walk in itself. In the midst of this fight, we believe that the govenment is doing their best to help small businesses through a difficult time. Although we appreciate a handout from them, we have to do our best to protect the public, provide good service, keep our employees safe and not depend on a bail out.
We must all do our part. A vaccine or a treatment will not be a magic wand that will turn everything back to what it was before, but it is the beginning of the work to cure our society of this scourge. Although it is difficult, things will change and the way we innovate our business will be critical. We find that willingness to learn new methods and technologies will tremendously help in increasing a businesses immunity and resilency to such blows. Should other geospatial professionals be interested in inquiring on how we implement the aforementioned procedures and techniques please feel free to reach out. We would be glad to help.
Be safe and stay healthy. Don’t forget to wash your hands and remember we’re all in this togethe.
Here are some resources you might find helpful:
Remote working tools - https://www.groovehq.com/blog/remote-team-tools
Best practices for field procedures and working from home -https://www.nysapls.org/news/498370/Best-Practices-for-Field-Procedures-and-Working-at-Home.htm
Coronavirus Relief Options - https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options