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Tuesday November 17th 2020

With so much negativity surrounding us as a result of the Coronavirus Pandemic, it is crucial to take time to appreciate the positives and the things we have learnt from what has been a ‘challenging’ year for us all. Whether it has been too much or too little personal space, a compulsory side career of home schooling or a distressing lack of dried pasta and loo roll; the cast of 2020 really has seen it all. 

Despite learning that Zoom is a communications platform and not just a setting on a camera; management teams of all industries can take away much from this year’s activity (or lack thereof). From the almost complete transition to digital communication, to living our professional and personal lives in parallel; we have seen how incredibly versatile we can be when prospects are limited. On top of this, we can take enormous comfort in that due to our lack of travelling, we are allowing the planet and our wallets to take the breather they most definitely deserve (although many of us would prefer our lives to be a tad more three-dimensional).

As the many layers of the COVID-19 crisis unfold, what we have adopted here at MDA is not a defeatist attitude; but what we have labelled a ‘change of tack’.  We have taken a step back to identify our strongest capabilities and opted to play to those assets. Now is more important than ever to direct our professional energy toward enhancing our competencies and recognising our ambitions to strive towards a positive future. The construction industry has been encouraged to continue its work throughout the pandemic (within guidelines of course), so we acknowledge we have a role to play regarding economic recovery and we are embracing it firmly. 

Here at MDA, we were fortunate enough to have the technical capabilities to make the transition from office to remote working silky smooth. Having such resources has kept us competitive in this new business environment and it is something we aim to maintain whether we are at home or in the office. All our offices have never been better connected, a crisis-related change which we intend to keep in the long term as it has greatly enhanced our relationships within the business and with clients and peers alike. COVID-19 has given businesses the (perhaps needed) hard push over the technology tipping point and totally transformed the way we work: Surveys suggest that responses to the pandemic have sped up the adoption of digital technologies by a number of years, many of which will be here to stay. 

I think we can all agree that there is something quite comforting to be taken from seeing someone who you may have only ever seen in an immaculate suit, who you perhaps found a tad severe in a professional setting, at ease in their home environment. Suddenly the cat on the keyboard, the dog chewing a rogue slipper and the child barging into camera view create a much more human image of said colleague, client, or peer. These broken-down barriers may play a key role in productivity and teamwork in the drive back to economic stability. Factors such as these, make those cheesy phrases such as ‘we’re all in this together’, become less of a motivational canvas on someone’s kitchen wall and more of a reality. 

All things considered, even if we have to spend many more months on video calls redefining ‘smart casual’ as jogging bottoms on our lower half and a smart shirt/blouse on our top half; it is essential we do not lose sight of our work ethic. As restarting the economy becomes a priority, it is imperative we all look beyond current actuality, remembering that strength lies in being part of a community and that social boundaries are no longer just a figure of speech.