The COVID-19 pandemic has gravely affected businesses across different industries worldwide. Business-owners are grappling with the disruptions caused by the pandemic and the economic challenges that came with it.
The uncertainty of the future has certainly affected capital projects. With disruptions in the supply of materials, worker limitations, and safety considerations, investors’ confidence has taken a hit. Businesses have closed, resulting in many projects to be paused or completely scrapped. Even organizations that adopt agile implementations are also being challenged by the uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
However, many projects will push through despite the crisis. Continuing a project through a worldwide pandemic may not be easy, but it is not impossible.
Keep Customer Confidence Despite the Challenges
Here are the steps that you can take to increase the confidence of your customers.
Keep your customers in the loop.
Your customers will want to be informed of the things that matter immediately. Get them on board for every step along the way. Lack of communication is a quick way to mess up a project or lose a client. Invest in the best customer onboarding software tool to eliminate frustrating misunderstandings and roadblocks caused by delayed communication.
COVID-19 safety precautions will also mean lesser meetings and site visits. A customer onboarding software can keep everyone updated on critical project-level communications so no one is kept out of the loop. Tasks will also be assigned easily to keep the project going, even with minimum face to face interactions.
Identify risks that can severely impact the project
The risks are many, yes, but identifying each of them and how they can affect the progress of your project is important. Identifying these risks can help you plan and create your mitigating actions to avoid severe impacts on your project.
Possible risks to look out for include a second-wave of the pandemic in your area, inapplicable cost estimates due to changes in shipping and delivery costs, local safety restrictions and requirements, shortage of qualified personnel, and manpower, and shortage of materials. All of these can cause disruptions in your project implementation and can cause significant delays if no mitigating actions are in place.
Once you have identified these risks and established your action plan, integrate them into your project implementation plan and timeline. These contingencies can help reduce risks and impacts and can help you recover from delays quickly.
Protect your people
Your people enable you to accomplish many great things. No matter the situation, their safety should be one of your top priorities. Principal personnel with critical project roles going sick on you will be a terrible headache. The same is true for every person that works in the project, regardless of roles. Make sure that everyone practices safe physical distancing and is taking precautions such as wearing a face mask. Limiting the people that can enter your office and project site can also help secure your people.
If the project can continue with people working off-site, then adapt a remote work set-up. Business owners and project managers need to be more flexible to ensure the safety of their most important asset: their people. The way you protect your people will reflect on the values that you uphold, which will be attractive to prospective clients.
Reduce the risks of on-site transmission
If on-site work is necessary, you have to take measures to defend your people from the transmission of COVID-19. Change the way you operate to ensure everyone’s safety. Strike a balance between the safety of your men and efficiency. Fewer people on-site may mean more stress on your people when you have to meet your commitments. If manpower is needed on-site, you can opt to have stay-in accommodation for them. This will help reduce the risks of on-site transmission. Before the stay-in period, make sure that your employees are clear from COVID-19, else you will only endanger everyone in your team.
Install temporary handwashing stations on your site to encourage your team to wash their hands often. Prevention and intervention are necessary for the safety of your project team and that of the project.
Monitor the project closely, and your people as well
Your people also experience stress due to the fears and uncertainties that the pandemic brings. This can lower their morale and can affect their mental health. Communicate with your team and get to know about their concerns. Their health and their means of living are at stake because of the health crisis that the world is facing. If you have employees who cannot work on-site, consider if they can work remotely. If they need to have some time off to focus on their health, there are alternatives such as sick leaves or the payroll relief offered by the federal government.
Monitor and ensure the progress of your project by optimizing the scope, reducing the needed capital, maximizing cash flows, and have an onboarding system for alignment and transparency with all the stakeholders.
Remember, you are not the only one affected by the pandemic. Everyone is going through the same ordeal: your competitor, suppliers, even your client. The priority should be the safety of everyone in your project team and how you can be efficient given the restrictions and disruptions.