Posted by: Michelle Glassburn, Executive Director of EM NARI
What I’ve learned – and what I have really learned in 14 weeks.
Three months ago the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic set in. This was back before using Zoom was second nature, 20 seconds of washing your hands was a lifetime, and finding Clorox wipes at the store did not make you smile.
Early on Peter Feinmann reached out to several colleagues to connect (yes – via Zoom!) to discuss how they were handling the looming crisis. This early conversation was the catalyst for a program that would establish an important connection between our members during one of the most unusual and disruptive times in history.
Our first Remodelers Conversation was held on March 19th. In the past three months we have met weekly together to share, console, inspire, guide, and support each other as we collectively navigated the weekly – and sometimes daily – changes that impacted our businesses and our industry. Over the past three months, we have mixed our format between occasional topic experts in HR, insurance, law, finance, safety, and technology – and our regular open dialogue conversations. Here are a few highlights.
- PPE – both where to find it and what worked best on the job
- Marketing in the time of COVID – and the ways in which we communicate and connect differently
- How we handle an employee who becomes sick
- The challenging landscape of town-by-town differences in safety requirements and permitting
- Strategies for obtaining PPP loans – and later PPP tracking and forgiveness
- Improving cash flow by accessing loans, deferring payments, cutting costs and more
- Issues around employees working remotely including how they record time, create connections, and adhere to policies
- Dealing with employees who refuse to return to work – whether because they are fearful of exposure or would prefer to remain home and collect unemployment benefits
- Tips for HASPs – Health and Safety Protocols including working safely and cleaning protocols
- New ways to connect with clients, employees, and colleagues using technology
- The FFCRA with employer-paid sick leave and the tax credit that is tied to the program, and
- Tools to work differently, like using 360 cameras to document and measure a space
In the 14 weeks, the group has been meeting there have been hundreds more topics and useful tidbits like these. The experience has been unique and amazing. It reminds me of the “specialness” of NARI. This is a place where on Wednesday and Friday two competitors can be vying for the same project, and yet on Thursday at 4PM, they are colleagues and companions that are sharing in the same struggles and as time goes on – sharing in the same successes as they emerge from a period of crisis with a renewed commitment to their work.