When the COVID-19 crisis affected the country, those of us in the road construction industry were deemed essential early on. Food, medicine and much more needed to keep flowing and our nation’s infrastructure is critical or essential for that to happen. So, our priority was to fully evaluate the situation and figure out how to best move forward.
We began by asking ourselves what we can do to ensure we were taking care of our employees and not putting them at risk. One way we decided to minimize potential exposure to the virus was by initiating paperless transfer of Bills of Lading. Truck drivers would no longer have to do face-to-face transactions involving paper. This immediately reduced the risk of exposure to our employees. Additionally, we dramatically increased sanitization with gloves, wipes, and hand sanitizer everywhere. Surfaces are thoroughly cleaned before and after each shift.
Serving our customers during this crisis is also of paramount importance. Throughout this pandemic, several customers have requested our field support. If our employees felt comfortable doing so, they could drive to the sites to support our customers while practicing social distancing and other preventative protocols. Our employees do have a voice though. If they feel uneasy visiting customers on-site, we trust them to use their best judgement to serve our customers safely.
One thing that has really been amplified for all of us is how much we enjoy face-to-face interactions with our customers and business partners. We miss seeing them in person and shaking their hands. That is who we are. But in the face of all of this, we are still finding meaningful ways to connect. I think the biggest learning for me is that there are more ways to interact and we shouldn’t make excuses not to do so. We just had to reinvent the way we communicate because we value our relationships so much. It’s different when you’re talking face-to-face in an office setting versus a Zoom meeting or FaceTime call where you see customers in a t-shirt and ball cap with kids playing in the background. It brings a different, deeper level to your relationship, even if it’s remote. I think it’s great.
Despite everything, fostering new business hasn’t stopped. In the wake of this pandemic, the relationship building and possibilities for new connections on a more personal level are leading us to a new world of business with a touch of humanity that seems to have been missing. We’re all in this together and I believe that by working together to find solutions that address the needs of our employees, customers and families, we will all come out of this for the better.