O P I N I O N
Don’t know what to do?
For many A/E firms, it is going to take a lot of tough decisions, hard work, mental intensity, and help from everyone in the firm to get through this situation intact.
O ne thing is for sure. This pandemic is not affecting every A/E firm the same way. There are two ends to the continuum of how impacted individual firms’ financial situations are.
Some firms – for example, those that do largely infrastructure projects for government clients – are seeing little to no reduction in their backlogs and workload. They are just chugging along pretty much as normal except for the fact that most everyone is working from home with perhaps some minor decline in worker productivity and profitability. But they have no immediate threat to their survival. Other companies are devastated. Those that do residential interiors in New York City or design new chain restaurants or hotels have seen workloads evaporate. They are wondering how they can quickly change direction to get sufficient work to survive – even though that could be in a new form with much less work and staff.
management teams’ concerns are is wholly different. I don’t worry too much about the fate of the first group of companies. They are going to make it through this thing and if they run into financial problems it won’t be in the near-term future. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that their success is assured. It isn’t. Longer-term, their city, county, state, and federal government clients could have budget problems and things could still get ugly for them, but the threat to their survival is not urgent now. These companies are dealing with issues of revising their business plans and protecting the health and well-being of their people, some of whom are probably going to be back in the office soon. Reconfiguring their office
The situations of each of these two types of companies is vastly different and their
See MARK ZWEIG, page 4
THE ZWEIG LETTER MAY 11, 2020, ISSUE 1344
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