O P I N I O N
Being apart from one another tested the strength of our relationships, and we had to think creatively to meet the new challenges we were encountering. Maintaining culture during a pandemic
I t would be a gross understatement to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched our firm’s resources and creativity. And we are certainly not alone. Compared to many other industries, AEC firms have generally fared well since our workforce can do their jobs remotely, but it hasn’t been easy.
After the initial adrenalin rush of transferring our staff to working from home, we prepared corporate guidelines to keep our office-essential staff and survey field crews safe. During this time, we began to wonder what impact a separated workforce would have on our company culture. Being apart from one another was going to test the strength of our relationships, and we knew we would need to think creatively to meet the new challenges we were encountering. We were also working under a cloud of great anxiety, which was stressing our resilience as an organization. At Sain Associates, we’ve been working to build a strong corporate culture for years, one that could withstand the pressures of a year like 2020. Culture is a combination of big and little things. For us the big things are social events organized by our Funtime Committee, group lunch and learns
with meals provided by the company, gatherings for special events in our staff members’ lives, an annual client fish fry, and community service outings. The events are the easy part. The small things are where the real strength of our culture is developed and ingrained; it’s in the way we treat our associates, the depth of our caring in times of crisis, and the community we build when we spend time together. The common denominator in all these cultural elements is presence with one another. It was a legitimate concern for us to be worried about losing part of what we love about Sain Associates with most of our staff working remotely. Video conferencing is an inadequate substitute for physical presence! Our initial response to the challenge of
See BECKY WHITE, page 4
THE ZWEIG LETTER MARCH 8, 2021, ISSUE 1382
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