Like businesses everywhere, Edon has had to adapt to an ever-changing workplace amid the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize the challenges that this once-in-100-year health crisis has created for our nearly 500 employees and clients.
It’s hard to believe it’s been eight months since our world was turned upside down. But Edon’s work re-entry and workplace protocols have proven we can surmount the seemingly insurmountable and succeed. Our philosophy – even before the pandemic – can be summed up in what NBA star Michael Jordan stands by: “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
And who would know better than some of our very own directors, along with their team members? They have had to adapt to new provincial guidelines, support new client requests, communicate in new ways with clients and employees, help staff navigate workplace protocols and offer support to individuals and team members when someone has to take time off work for potential exposure to COVID.
Here are some observations and tips for working in the pandemic from five of Edon’s managers and directors.
Tony Kuruvilla, Regional Director of Operations, South
Understanding clients’ needs and adapting
Our clients are in the same boat as us. Don’t forget that our customers have faced or are facing increased challenges to conduct their business, just like us. In some of our contracts, we can see the client is turning to us for guidance and support, such as disinfecting spaces through electrostatic spraying. It’s our job to support our clients, and it is an opportunity to fulfil Edon’s purpose of a worry-free solution. As our clients’ priorities shift, we need to ensure we’re changing with them and providing support.
We are now in the new normal. Things have changed and we have to conduct the same business in a different way. For example, we’ve adapted to using new meeting technology such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. As well, our client’s site layouts have changed to accommodate physical distancing while allowing us to still interact with others.
Pro tip: Always take your laptop (or critical business tool) home with you every night.
Randy Hodl, VP, Corporate Services
Fostering a sense of security for employees
During times of unrest, companies must develop a sense of security for employees to continue to function. To bolster that sense of security we made numerous changes within the office environment, changing office protocols, such as traffic flow, meeting room protocols, identification of six-foot boundaries and a lot of communication.
Limited information and an overwhelming amount of inconsistent information can challenge decision-making at all levels of the company. The always-shifting government directives on COVID is one of the challenges. Another is how other companies made their changes, creating opportunities to determine new best practices.
Pro tip: Recognize that each team member requires varying levels of support and each must be individually managed. This is not the time to use “broad brush” policy and procedure.
Mike Kulak, Sr. Property Manager
The big lesson learned is how important it is to follow COVID guidelines. We encountered a positive COVID case and following Alberta Health Services contact tracing guidelines, self-isolation protocols were enacted. Thankfully, all of the test results have come back negative. This is a testament to the effectiveness of Edon’s protocols as we always use hand sanitizer, practice social distancing, wear masks when inside offices, and frequently sanitize common touch points, among other guidelines.
Pro tip: Remember to stay home if you’re sick.
Daniel Tower, Operations Manager
Empathy and a positive attitude
One key lesson is to be understanding with all of our team members as we live and work through these troublesome times. A potential COVID exposure requires team members to isolate from their place of work, their family, and friends. Some might feel shame at being potentially exposed, some regret they are not able to perform their duties, and some might be depressed about being isolated. Our team is a close-knit group and we all keep each other positive, especially when one of our team returns from a difficult quarantine period. There are no easy COVID scares but, with a little teamwork and a positive attitude, our Edon team is successfully living through, learning, and growing in this new world.
Pro tip: It remains vital to follow the proper protocols, especially when it comes to PPE (masks, gloves) as well as hand hygiene. We have all learned how to properly wash our hands to prevent the spread. It seems so simple but it makes such a big difference.
Tanya Shantz, Director of Asset Management
Timely & Open Communication
Whether it be communicating changes in building services, facilitating government financial assistance programs, addressing tenant requests or launching new pandemic related protocol, timely responses have never been so critical. This is especially true when considering health and safety as well as the long-term viability of the businesses located within the buildings we manage.
Change can and will happen even when you don’t expect it! It’s how you react and embrace change that will determine the outcome. With the shift from the workplace to remote work scenarios, people and businesses alike have had to adapt quickly. Whether it is the use of new technology, online etiquette, varying remote environments, modified service levels, mandatory personal protective equipment or physical distancing, our teams’ willingness to accept these changes and move forward together has resulted in a positive outcome and stronger team overall.
Pro tip: Since we are all in this together, transparency and open communication enables us to work more effectively as a team, lean on each other when in need and ultimately, provide better support to our customers and business partners alike.