June, 2020 - Sachse Construction - Page 2

New Data Shows Construction Activity Returning to Pre-coronavirus Levels in Many Parts of the Country

A new survey by the Associated General Contractors of America and data from construction technology firm Procore show that construction activity is returning to pre-coronavirus levels in many parts of the country and some firms are adding workers. The new economic data, however, also shows some future projects are being canceled and many others are being delayed by supply chain issues and labor shortages, underscoring the need for additional federal recovery measures, association officials noted.

“Many of the immediate economic impacts of the coronavirus have passed and, as a result, activity and hiring are up, a bit,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “But while the immediate crisis appears to have passed, we are just now beginning to appreciate some of the longer-term impacts of the pandemic on the industry.”

Construction activity has returned to pre-coronavirus levels in 34 states, based on data on workers’ hours analyzed by Procore. And construction has returned to pre-coronavirus levels in Dallas and Miami, according to Procore’s data on 8 large metro areas. Meanwhile, the association’s survey found that only 8% of construction firms were forced to furlough or lay off workers in June while 21% report adding employees, compared to one-in-four firms letting workers go between March and May.

“But it is important to remember that construction activity typically increases quite a bit between March 1 and the end of May as the weather improves and more work gets underway,” Simonson commented. “Getting to March 1 levels is a sign of progress, but it doesn’t mean things are back to normal.”

Simonson added that the AGC survey and Procore’s data show the severe toll the pandemic took on the construction industry. For example, 61% of firms report having had at least one project halted or canceled because of the pandemic. One in four firms report that construction materials shortages, caused by lockdowns and trade disruptions, are causing delays on current projects. Meanwhile, the Procore data found that smaller firms experienced more severe declines in construction activity during the pandemic than larger firms.

“We are living in a time when change seems to be the new norm, but something that will never change is the resilience of the construction industry,” said Kristopher Lengieza, Procore’s Senior Director of Business Development. “To date, a majority of states are experiencing levels of construction activity equal to, or in some cases, much higher than they reported prior to COVID-19.”

Simonson added that moving forward, only 12% of firms report they plan to furlough or lay off staff over the next four weeks while 17% anticipate adding to their headcount during that time span. Yet even as more construction firms predict they will expand during the next several weeks, 42% do not expect demand will recover to normal levels for at least four months, and most of those firms expect recovery will take longer than six months.

Simonson noted that construction firms are counting on additional federal help to improve demand for construction and make it easier to return people to their payrolls. Fifty-five percent of firms report they are counting on Congress and the Trump administration to enact liability reform that protects firms that are complying with coronavirus safety protocols from litigation. And 33% are counting on Congress to boost infrastructure spending to offset declining private-sector demand.

Many firms are also hoping that Congress will not extend the unemployment supplement that is currently set to expire at the end of July. Notably, 34% of firms that called back employees who had been furloughed report having some personnel refuse to return to work because of those unemployment supplements. “Extending the supplement will only make it harder for more employers to bring people back onto payrolls,” Simonson cautioned.

“Without additional help from D.C., the few gains this industry has made during the past few weeks will likely be fleeting,” Simonson added. “That is why we will continue to push Congress and the Trump administration to enact the kind of long-term economic recovery measures this industry needs to truly rebound from the coronavirus.”

The association’s new survey is based on responses from over 630 firms collected between June 9 and 17. Procore’s data is based on the transactions logged via the company’s software by tens of thousands of construction firms across the country.

Click here for the association’s survey results and here for a video summary of the survey responses. Click here for Procore’s new construction data.

thyssenkrupp Elevator Launches Forward-looking Technologies for a More Comfortable and Secure Mobility Experience

As cities across the world ease Coronavirus lockdown restrictions, it is important to ensure that the elevators used by millions of people every day remain a comfortable, efficient and secure way of transportation. thyssenkrupp Elevator offers several options to create a clean and healthy car environment, aiming to reduce the risk of virus transmissions.

To ensure peace of mind for passengers, the company is focusing on three pillars: hygiene, social distancing, and touchless technologies that prevent the spread of infection in elevators and escalators in public places. Many of those innovations will remain relevant even after the pandemic.

“The pandemic is definitely accelerating some interesting trends in the elevator industry. ThyssenKrupp Elevator is well equipped for the current challenges. We have been exploring several technologies in recent years, such as smart spaces monitoring, remote operation, robots for sanitizing spaces and many more. Today, we have appropriate solutions to protect passengers during the pandemic. Moreover, we also provide innovative technologies for tomorrow that go beyond today’s urban mobility,” says Peter Walker, CEO of thyssenkrupp Elevator.

Hygienic or clean technologies range from handrail sanitization to thermal cameras that detect infected passengers. To clean the air in the cabins efficiently, thyssenkrupp Elevator uses air purification with special filters as well as UV-based solutions.

Touchless technologies include using a special kick-button where the passenger can call a cabin with a simple toe-tap instead of touching a pad or button by hand. Experts foresee that touchless technologies will achieve a high adaption in many areas. Forward-thinking technologies like the kick button are solutions that are expected to remain viable in both the short- and long-term.

Social distancing is the third pillar of thyssenkrupp Elevator’s strategy to fight the pandemic. As such, thyssenkrupp Elevator has developed a special Social Distancing Service, which includes traffic monitoring for elevator systems. This service helps tenants stay safe by limiting elevator passengers per cabin so physical distance can be maintained. With the Social Distancing Service, thyssenkrupp Elevator assesses the elevator traffic to help balance building congestion risks with social distancing needs. Based on the needs, the company changes the dispatching software to limit the number of passengers assigned to each elevator car. Using data captured by the predictive maintenance IoT solution MAX, thyssenkrupp Elevator also provides data and information about traffic changes, so passenger wait times and social distancing needs can be balanced.

The Megacity is Dead. Long Live the Megacity

Easing lockdowns around the world present an opportunity to go back to the drawing board for many economies. In Asia, densely packed urban centers are a good place to start. The trick for planners will be to minimize disease outbreaks without quashing the promise of employment that has made cities a magnet. 

By 2025, the world will have 37 megacities — defined as having at least 10 million people — and as many as 20 of them will be in Asia. Two-thirds of the region’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050, compared with 20% in 1970, according to the Asian Development Bank. Bustling metropolises have become a symbol of rapid growth across the continent, which has reached a level of urbanization in less than a century that took more than twice as long in other parts of the world.

For decades, this transition was a one-way ticket to economic boom. With the coronavirus outbreak, however, we’ve seen cities become hotbeds of infection, where vast concentrations of wealth can become a liability when businesses grind to a halt. But while de-clogging seems like a good idea on paper, is it desirable or even feasible? Working remotely from the suburbs sounds great if you live in a congested downtown district, confined to four walls and a small bathroom with screaming kids. The reality in many rural areas, however, is poor infrastructure, subpar schools and scarce medical clinics, not to mention limited delivery options.

In Indonesia, officials are getting cold feet about the construction of a new capital, which was intended to take the strain off overcrowded and sinking Jakarta. While I had reservations about the prospect of creating a city from scratch, the government was correct in identifying a problem. Spreading some wealth beyond the island of Java would be welcome, too. Sadly, the vision is being subordinated to the emergency of the day, just when an alternative is needed most. President Joko Widodo says there are better ways to spend $34 billion. Indonesia can’t print rupiah indefinitely and no politician wants to be accused of erecting new digs for lawmakers while millions slip back into poverty.

In the Philippines, meanwhile, the coronavirus has given fresh life to proposals for thinning out Manila, one of the most heavily populated cities on earth and the country’s virus epicenter. President Rodrigo Duterte is offering to pay people to leave the area, which generates about one-third of gross domestic product. Yet skeptics of his “Back to the Province” program point to the centuries-old centralization of power in the capital — Imperial Manila, Duterte calls it — and shrug. People have preferred to emigrate rather than leave the city, which has made the Philippines a global hub for the export of labor, as I’ve written. Unless centers of capital and government are prepared to surrender control to regions, along with taxation authority, the boonies just aren’t going to be attractive enough.

Liew Ching Tong, a Malaysian senator and, until March, deputy minister for defense, has an idea along those lines. In a presentation last month to the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, a think-tank in Kuala Lumpur, Liew proposed significant reforms to local government financing: Give Malaysia’s 13 states the ability to share income-tax power with the national administration. Right now, the provinces are largely dependent on grants from the central government and often need its approval before borrowing. Their only meaningful ability to generate revenue is from land sales and natural resources, which tend to exacerbate environmental degradation.

This federal-state dynamic puts local projects at the mercy of political winds from Kuala Lumpur. In the state of Penang, for example, anticipated bond sales are intended to fund an overhaul of public transportation. The proposal — approved by the last coalition government, which dissolved three months ago — is now in jeopardy of being revoked, says Tricia Yeoh of IDEAS. Only by empowering states to control their finances can they develop good infrastructure and support the high living standards that will attract the best and brightest.

The good news for city dwellers is that the coronavirus has opened the door for some creative urban planning. In Singapore, the head of the Housing & Development Board, which created the city-state’s signature high-rise public housing, recently discussed dividing the country into relatively self-sufficient regions to help contain viral outbreaks down the road. Future HDB dwellings should have drone parking zones in place of car spaces, given the critical role of delivery services during this outbreak, Chief Executive Officer Cheong Koon Hean told a forum on June 3.

Asia’s megacities won’t disappear, nor should they. But if we’ve learned anything from the coronavirus, it’s the danger of concentrating too much human capital in one physical location. That’s why Asians of the future need to have desirable alternatives, which means finding the right incentives, not just telling people to pack their bags and head to the hills. Cities have been fun places to live for the region’s burgeoning middle class. To keep urban areas prosperous and healthy, though, the hinterland needs to be revitalized, too.

Guiding Changes in the Workplace: Past, Present, and Future

In workplace design, change management is the process of equipping leadership (first) and then supporting staff (second) in a company to move from their current state to their new future state. Usually, the purpose of change management is so that employees can embrace the change successfully and therefore thrive while driving better organizational outcomes, which impact the company’s bottom line and wellness in a positive way.

Let’s be honest, our world has really thrown us for a loop, impacting our ability to do our work—both functionally and emotionally. We are now at a significant paradigm shift in what we would consider “business as usual.”

In times of unexpected change, our ability to prepare employees psychologically in advance of change is limited. In such instances, leadership can still support the nimbleness of an organization’s staff. This is where we need to be real with each other. There are some unknowns, expectations, and fear as we move between working from home to phases of returning to the office. As workplace designers, how can we continue to put on our empathetic lens to create the workspace that supports people returning to the office?


What We Know Now

During this work from home (WFH) period, everyone has learned new strategies to thrive. Here’s what we have learned, and what we can use in navigating change.

  1. Our ability to adjust and be nimble is paramount to the future success of the workplace, especially with technology. Our IT support is important here. They tend to become like family because they are the ones you are calling at odd hours when something is not functioning correctly.
  2. We can measure productivity in a different way depending on firm size. A large national firm can “staff share” and work across offices and disciplines, while a small office used to wearing several hats should support constant virtual communication to maintain nimbleness.
  3. The ability to provide seamless service and deliverables to your clients and customers is critical. It keeps projects moving forward and provides a sense of stability for your staff. Your leadership has set you up to be productive and effective. That is still the goal, rely on each other to find new ways to be productive and happy.
  4. There is a “humanizing” factor that can create a stronger bond between clients, customers, and consultants. From active children to pets and views into our personal lives, virtual meetings can create bonds that will carry beyond the current situation.

WFH Guidelines

As we continue to work from home in varying ways, consider these change management strategies that address the functional, safety, and emotional needs of all:

  1. Provide immediate and succinct response from leadership to the staff. CEO/COO + HR + IT become vital to the succinct messaging and seamless transition of things—show leadership and consensus and, in times like these, grace.
  2. Provide workplace from home and IT support—do staff need other equipment or ergonomic capabilities? How can organizations reduce stress/burnout from home?
  3. Provide emotional support—virtual check-ins, group lunches, HR/benefits Q&A. “When managers ignore emotional culture, they’re glossing over a vital part of what makes people—and organizations—tick,” Harvard Business Review, January/February 2016.
  4. Provide empathy in leadership and management—be mindful that each employee situation is unique and be authentic in how you interact through technology/virtual meetings. Direct managers with closer relationships can help maintain a consistent message from leadership. Frequent, succinct communication is better than less.

Returning to the Office

As you re-enter the workplace, assess what your staff has taken from shelter-in-place. Can you react to change—even unexpected change—in a way that is empathetic and compassionate?

Remember that every day and every interaction count. In the moments of change, people often take things personally. But if you can encourage a culture where it becomes more about the collective and the collective value of the people, then you can provide opportunities for all to feel a strong sense of purpose.

It will not be the old “business as usual” when people phase back into the office. People will be more resilient, appreciative, and excited to come back into the physical workspace if . . .

  1. Your workplace provided a strong sense of place prior to the pandemic.
  2. Your transition back into the office cautiously, with safety measures such as cleaning and testing.
  3. Provide emotional transition support, when needed.

Sachse Construction’s People & Perks Department Recognized in 2020 Crain’s Excellence in HR Awards

Sachse Construction has seen an increase in retention and a rise in employee engagement scores since its People & Perks department launched a company-wide wellness program.

The Detroit-based construction management and general contracting firm has 170 employees and generated $164 million in revenue last year.

Three years ago, Sachse’s People & Perks department created Project:U, a wellness program for employees that focuses on four categories: health, wealth, mind and body.

“We needed to create a wellness program that would be embraced by all generations of our company and a place where all of our team members can go to find resources,” said Myra Ebarb, director of People & Perks.

Multiple initiatives are offered to employees across each wellness category. For instance, employees who want to work on their wealth can take an online course, talk to a financial adviser and use online budgeting and finance tools paid for by the company. Team members who want to get fit are eligible for a $20 per month gym membership subsidy if they work out four times per month.

Last year, in an effort to destigmatize mental health, the company launched individual wellness programs that are accessible online and through mobile devices. Employees can customize their program by answering questions about their stress and happiness levels. The People & Perks team analyzes the anonymized responses of each team member and develops a suite of initiatives that caters to the needs of the team.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has offered additional mental health resources for employees. Employees are eligible for free memberships to mental health apps like Calm, a sleep and meditation app. Team members can also chat with a counselor and access mental health assistance programs.

More than 44 percent of employees have participated in Project:U’s individual wellness programs since its launch. The demand for the programs led the company to adopt a program from the University of Michigan called Mood Lifters, a voluntary 15-week program that allows participants to evaluate and improve their mental health through a series of wellness activities.

Employees that work outside of the Detroit office can also take advantage of Project:U benefits. They’re offered a quarterly wellness care package that includes resources such as a digital budgeting workshop, a spa gift card and a restaurant survival guide book that helps employees make smart decisions about what to eat while traveling.

Last year, more than 84 percent of employees participated in Project:U. Since its launch, the company has seen a 2 percent increase in retention. Employee engagement scores have also increased by more than 10 percent in two years.

“We put our team first and we’re always looking after them,” Ebarb said. “Everyone appreciates our wellness program because it’s a benefit that you really don’t see anywhere.”

Mnuchin Says New COVID-19 Recovery Legislation is Necessary

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says another federal aid bill will be needed to help businesses and workers still recovering from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mnuchin, testifying at a Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee hearing on June 10, provided one of the strongest statements to date from the Trump administration about the likelihood of a further coronavirus aid package.

“I definitely think that we are going to need another bipartisan legislation, to put more money into the economy,” he said.

That legislation won’t come immediately, however, he indicated.

“We don’t want to rush into” a new bill, Mnuchin said, noting administration officials want to be “careful” in seeing that funds from the several measures enacted earlier are put to use in the economy.  He indicated a time frame of about 30 days to develop the legislation.

Any new funding should be focused: “I think whatever we do going forward needs to be much more targeted,” he said, “particularly to the industries and small businesses that are having the most difficulty in reopening as a result of COVID-19. We absolutely believe small businesses and, by the way, many big businesses in certain industries, are absolutely going to need more help,” he said.

Stimulating hiring is a priority, said Mnuchin, who said that though the unemployment rate declined in May, it is still “too high.”

He said the new proposal could include provisions to stimulate hiring in industries such as travel, hotels, leisure and restaurants.

Types of assistance might include tax incentives or assistance from the recently launched Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of forgivable federal loans for small businesses and nonprofits.

Funding for state governments should be part of the package, too, Mnuchin later added.

In the House, Democrats last month pushed through a sweeping $3-trillion-plus aid package titled the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) bill. It has a modest amount of construction-related funds but more than $900 billion in direct federal funding for states and local governments.

There was next to no mention of construction in the hearing, except Mnuchin’s comment that the unemployment statistics released on June 5 showed a big increase in jobs in the industry.

Construction priorities

Industry groups have made clear their priorities in the hoped-for package.

For example, on June 5, a long list of construction, transportation and engineering groups, led by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, wrote to President Trump, urging him to support an “immediate $49.95-billion infusion” for state transportation agencies.

State DOTs are faced with a steep decline in transportation-related revenue, chiefly in motor-fuels taxes, because of the drop off in motor vehicle traffic in recent months.

The letter reiterates a proposal that AASHTO had put forward on April 6. The HEROES bill, which the House passed on May 15, has $15 billion for state DOTs.

PPP in review

Much of the Senate hearing dealt with the PPP, which Congress created in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Trump signed the bill on March 27.

The law provided $349 billion for PPP, but all of that was exhausted in 13 days. That prompted Congress to provide an additional $310 billion for the program, in a bill enacted on April 24.

A follow-up bill providing more flexibility for loan recipients was signed on June 5.

The program was constructed under severe pressure, as lawmakers sought to provide financial help as quickly as possible. But construction and other industries criticized PPP requirements, laid out in industry guidance. That led to a series of additions and clarifications to the guidance documents from Treasury and the Small Business Administration, which carried out the program.

Committee Chairman Mario Rubio (R-Fla.), a prime architect of PPP, said although the program had “some bumps along the road,” it has been an “extraordinary success.” Rubio said PPP had “saved millions of jobs.”

SBA reported  as of 5 p.m. June 9, it had approved $511.4 billion in PPP loans, leaving a balance of $148 billion.

Democrats’ new PPP proposal

Some in Congress want to make additional modifications to PPP. The committee’s top Democrat, Ben Cardin (Md.) and fellow Democrats Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) and Chris Coons (Del.) on June 10 said they plan to introduce a bill providing new funds for PPP that would go to businesses with 100 or fewer workers and which have seen revenue drop by 50% or more due to the virus.

Companies also would have to have borrowed from PPP and spent all of those funds or be on track to do so. The senators’ statement didn’t specify how much funding their proposal would entail.

Hospitality, Leisure, Construction Lead Job Growth in May

If the lower unemployment rate in May is any indication, the country may be experiencing the shortest economic downturn since the 1930s.

As pointed out in a research brief by Marcus & Millichap, the US unemployment rate dipped to 13.3% last month. The country had reached 14.7% unemployed in April, the highest rate since 1948. Overall, 2.5 million jobs were added in May.

Leading the recovery is the leisure and hospitality sectors, which were the hardest hit industries when stay-at-home orders were mandated in March. Restaurants and bars added 1.4 million employees in May after many states moved into phase two or three of re-opening plans last month. In Texas, restaurants were allowed to re-open at 50% capacity and reported high foot traffic from customers eager for dine-in service.

The hospitality and leisure industries were bolstered by the Paycheck Protection Program loans and individual stimulus payments from the government to keep the service industry running. On June 5, the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act was signed, meaning that the amount of the loan required to be used for payroll decreased to 60% from 75%, allowing business owners to allocate the loan towards rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and loan interest.

Developers can also feel relief that projects may still hit completion deadlines this year—the construction industry regained 464,000 jobs last month, mostly in residential building. The job gains totaled almost half of April’s job losses. The industry was included in phase one of re-openings in states, meaning that most construction projects were able to stay on schedule.

On the other hand, sectors that saw job losses in May were natural resources and mining, information, and government.

Despite the strong indicator of job growth in May as states start to re-open, a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic may hit in the fall. Proposals in Congress that may include a $450 bonus for returning workers and a larger wage subsidy for workers may help if the US were hit with more coronavirus cases and stay-at-home orders go into effect in the fall.

Culture of CARE Works to Boost Diversity and Inclusion, Overcome Racial Inequalities

The Associated General Contractors of America recently launched Culture of CARE, a program designed to boost inclusiveness and diversity in the construction industry by helping firms create more welcoming workplace environments to boost innovation, safety and profitability. ENR’s Managing Editor Scott Blair sat down (virtually) with Brynn Huneke, AGC director of diversity & inclusion and member engagement, and Brian Turmail, vice president of public affairs & strategic initiatives, to talk about what the program means for companies that sign the pledge to participate, and how the program addresses current events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests to overcome racial injustices.

ENR: Can you please talk about the recent launch of Culture of CARE, which unfortunately coincided with a global pandemic?

Brynn Huneke: As you can imagine, our startup in early March right before COVID-19 really affected our launch and our strategy. We did officially launch in conjunction with our convention back in early March, and released it to our convention attendees who were in Las

Vegas with us. Recognizing that our members were trying to make sure that they were working safe and that employees were safe on the job site with respect to COVID-19, we held off on a broader kind of national launch of Culture of CARE until the end of April. Since then, we’ve had a great response. We’ve had over a hundred companies take the Culture of CARE pledge.

What are the expectations for companies that sign the pledge?

BH: The Culture of CARE pledge has four pillars that we’re asking companies to commit to. CARE is an acronym that stands for commit, attract, retain, and empower. We’re asking companies to commit to hire based on skill and experience, regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. The aim is to attract prospective employees by creating workplaces and cultures that are free from harassment, hazing and bullying; to retain high-performing employees by identifying and removing barriers to advancement; and then empower every employee to promote a culture of diversity and inclusion—or a culture of care—within their companies.

What resources do you provide to help companies follow through on their pledge?

BH: The tools and resource that are part of the website are designed to help them establish that culture of care and start to promote it within their companies. We’ve developed toolbox talks to help them talk to their employees and their subcontractors about what a culture of care means, what the expectations are. We have also drafted human resource policies and best practices, providing them resources and abilities to review and update their policies.

What are you planning for the future?

BH: It’s not meant to be a stagnant campaign. We’re working on identifying training as part of the campaign, including for diversity and inclusion, implicit bias and bystander intervention so employees know how to respond if an incident happens on their job site. And we are also working on developing an assessment tool that goes more in depth into diversity and inclusion company policies. The assessment will identify areas within a company where they’re lacking in diversity and inclusion and provide recommendations and best practices on how to grow in those areas.

AGC of America released a statement on the Culture of CARE site saying that “our communities are scarred and in need of healing” and that the industry has a responsibility to provide opportunities for everyone to advance and succeed. What has been the response from your members about the recent protests? 

BH: I think members who have had long-standing diversity and inclusion initiatives and focus—but also companies that haven’t before—recognize, with the protests that are happening in response to racial injustice throughout the country, that there is a need for construction companies to be leaders in this and care about the issue. I think there’s an appetite for companies and for the industry to want to do something, to lead and make sure that our companies are an attractive place to work for everybody.

Do you see specific systemic issues in the construction industry that are holding back people of color from being hired or retained?

Brian Turmail: We’ve got a lot of communities that have never really been exposed to construction as a career option, especially in inner-city areas. It dates back to the sixties and seventies when the labor practices of this industry were called into question, and we’re still struggling with that legacy. We see that manifested in the fact that we’ve got many urban school systems that don’t have construction-focused programs. We don’t have a good ability to reach those communities and recruit in them. We suffer from a lot of stereotypes and stigmas. An even bigger challenge is addressing the gender inequality on the job site, especially in the crafts. In addition to history and culture, we’ve also got the challenge of how to make sure that women are not harassed on job sites. And that’s something that Culture of CARE hits right at. You’ve got to make sure that you’re making a welcoming environment.

How do you ensure that word about the program gets out to everyone who needs it? 

BH: One of construction’s biggest challenges is its decentralized workplaces. Cultures manifest themselves differently on the job site, or even on one specific job site versus another, or versus the office within a particular company. One of the things that Culture of CARE is really trying to do, and one of the things that I am pushing when somebody takes the pledge and I’m communicating back out to them, is to make sure their employees and their subcontractors understand what a culture of care is and what the expectation for behavior is. This is in line with the toolbox talks and some of the other resources we’ve deployed. Also, the [Culture of CARE] hardhat stickers and job site posters are meant to be a visual reminder for anybody walking into the office or on the job site about what that expectation is, and to be a conversation starter if  they’ve never heard of Culture of CARE.

Why did Culture of CARE develop a toolbox talk and other tools for COVID-19?

BH: In thinking about COVID-19 and the impact that it’s having on companies and employees, and talking about a culture of care and diversity and inclusion, we felt there was a lot of synergy between the two. It’s not just about COVID-19 as it relates to physical safety and PPE on a job site. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty, and definitely an emotional, mental and psychological toll that COVID-19 has had on all of us. So we’ve provided some best practices for companies to check in with their employees in an authentic way to make sure they’re doing okay, not just on a physical safety level, but on a mental safety level as well. The toolbox talks also provide resources for employees who may be struggling with COVID-19 on how to access help, and that the toll it’s taking on them is normal and okay and the company is there as a support system. That’s what Culture of CARE is intended to do.

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