Sustaining People

April 17, 2020

Breaking Ground

Sustainability is often framed as pursuing the ‘triple bottom line’ of people, profit, and planet. The ‘people’ part can be overlooked by those seeking data-driven results or even by those focused on saving the planet.  I was inspired this week by one of my specialty contractors, who is taking extra steps to protect the health and wellness of his employees, during one of the most unique times in our current history.

I listened intently as this business owner described his efforts to seek out the necessary protective equipment & supplies, how he had a backup plan if those items ran out, the processes he put in place for his employees, and how each had been instructed.  I paid attention as he described the concern of the people living in one of the properties they service and how they are considered in these processes.  Items such as face coverings and hand sanitizer for company and employee vehicles were all carefully considered.  Finally, I listened to his genuine concern for the health and well-being of his employees and his family when he arrives home in the evening.

Those of us in the commercial construction industry already engage in a significant commitment to the safety and health of our employees and those who are on our project sites.  However, COVID-19 has made everyone more acutely aware and will make us better for it.

Contractors are considered essential in Florida and for that, we are extremely fortunate.  Here in Duval County, we are well supported by local government making it possible for us to continue to pursue and perform most work, although there are exceptions and challenges. This privilege comes with a great deal of responsibility that we do not take lightly.  Being essential does not exempt contractors from the requirements being set forth by officials.  In fact, it amplifies the obligation and necessitates additional levels of thoughtful consideration and planning of our work every moment of every day. Our industry is also facing shortages of essential safety equipment in use prior to the pandemic, and now all of the additional items needed to work safely.

The steps this business owner is taking reach far beyond his employees.  These actions protect the circle of clients, their clients’ customers, his employees’ families, his family, and all those they may come in contact with.  In other words, ‘the people’.

I am always proud of my industry, the work we do and the service we provide to so many.  This week my pride is strengthened.