Embracing Digital Transformation
DURATION 3 minute read
The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the AEC industry into a teleworking environment. From maintaining communication to staying on top of project schedules, the current situation has forced many project teams to quickly address such hurdles.
I recently sat down with Juan Chavera, Assistant Director of Capital Project for the City of Houston to discuss his team’s transition to a remote working environment and steps other teams can take to adapt to the situation.
Equip Your Team with the Technology They Need to Succeed
Many IT departments were not ready for the rapid transition to a teleworking setting – forcing many project teams to figure out how to effectively operate in a digital environment.
“COVID-19 has forced us to look at how we can operate in this new normal,” Assistant Director of Capital Projects for the City of Houston Juan Chavira said. “We are now forced to unlearn standard operational procedures that we gained from years in an office environment.”
Embrace the digital transformation and devise a solution for how your team can work in this environment while minimizing disruption to products and services. Update teleworking policies and enable your staff to operate in a remote setting by providing them with the necessary hardware and software.
Don’t be discouraged by the stigma that teleworking results in reduced productivity. Many day-to-day office functions can be effectively executed in the digital environment, including invoices, estimates, electric bidding, planner reviews and meetings. From a consultant’s perspective, we’ve has seen greater focus, increased efficiency and better product delivery as a result of remote working.
“Because of what we are being forced to do, people are realizing that it actually works,” Juan said.
Using Technology to Foster Communication
Maintaining communication is one of the biggest concerns for teams in a remote work setting, but the advent of technology is making it easier for them to stay connected when apart.
Video calling is allowing teams to make site visits while remaining socially distant. Rather than send the entire project team, a single person with a cell phone capable of video calling can visit the site. This method still provides project teams and managers with visual updates on project progress and site conditions while minimizing possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Technology is also making it easier to connect with the community. By using video chat software, Juan and his team held a public engagement meeting with more than 200 members of the community. In the past, many local leaders would go through the struggles of finding a meeting location for only a small number of people to show up. But by using video chat software, Juan and his team eliminated the struggle of finding a safe meeting place and provided the community with a better opportunity to get involved.
We are entering a new frontier for project management that is creating efficiencies that are expected to last for years to come. You can check out our podcast, Texas by Design for more insight on how to embrace the digital transformation sweeping the AEC industry. You can watch all of our episodes on YouTube, or subscribe where ever you listen to podcasts.