Canadian Contractor

Coping with Coronavirus

At the time of writing this, construction workers and tradespeople have been deemed "essential" employees so most of us are still on the job.


April 1, 2020
By Dave Gray

As we roll into April, there’s one story dominating all the headlines – Coronavirus. At the time of writing this, construction workers and tradespeople have been deemed “essential” employees so most of us are still on the job.

A number of industry associations have put out valuable information on how to operate a construction business during these unprecedented times. The CHBA, for example, posted a list of tips on their website on how to maintain social distancing on the jobsite, including staggering shifts and lunch breaks so there are less people congregating together, and ensuring that everyone uses gloves when they can and is not sharing tools.

Others are taking a proactive approach to customer service. Several plumbing service companies have posted free online tutorials to help their customers tackle minor repairs on their own. If you don’t already do it, provide your clients with routine maintenance schedules for DIYable tasks they can tackle in their homes, such as changing furnace filters, cleaning the eaves, and testing their smoke and CO detectors. People laid off or working from home are going to need things to do, and will appreciate any advice that you can provide.

Advertisment

As we collectively work out how to deal with this unprecedented healthcare crisis, there’s also the looming economic impact of millions of Canadians being laid off. Unfortunately, the slowdown will mean many small businesses will need to start shutting down. Don’t wait until the last minute to let your employees know. If your orders and supply chains are starting to dry up, let people know in advance. And, if you do need to lay people off, help them apply for the government assistance available to them.

When we do get back to work, expect to see demand surge for hands-free and voice-activated products, and non-porous materials that inhibit the transfer of bacteria. Technology will also play a huge part. Virtual showrooms will be used to show off everything from the latest home products to selling actual homes.

Obviously, with a print publication it’s hard to stay on top of the latest developments. Please consider signing up for our monthly e-newsletter and visit our website for the latest news and links to valuable information.