Written By: John Jeppesen
Who knew a microscopic bug would bring the world to its knees? It has devastated everything…how we interact, how we shop, how we work, how we worship, how we play, how we go to school, and most importantly what we are doing about it. And finally, toilet paper is now back on the shelves.
It shut everything down a couple of months ago. Businesses were shuttered, many permanently, costing millions their jobs and livelihoods. Dark days indeed. The good news is our country is slowly and deliberately coming back. Knee jerk reactions could set the progress back to zero if we’re not careful.
The workplace is drastically different. Morning drive times instead of being miles in a car are now a short walk from the kitchen to the home office. Anybody with the foresight to buy Zoom stock is now cashing in big time. Parents with school-age kids may have to share some of their space and time homeschooling their children. It’s a brave new world these days.
So this is what we at Performance Point have been doing. Sam Galphin, the Performance Point president offers some of his insights
“The company has felt the stress of the pandemic, Galphin says: “The biggest stressors for our employees vary depending on if they have kids at home. For employees with kids who are doing virtual school (as opposed to in-person school) managing schooling at home and childcare is probably their biggest COVID-related stress. For employees without kids at home, I understand that social isolation has been difficult. At this point, many people are venturing out into social settings or getting together in small groups in their homes where they can keep a safe distance or be outdoors so that helps alleviate some of the stress from social isolation.”
While some companies were blindsided, Performance was naturally ready for the “new normal.” “We were actually ready for COVID without needing to put special measures into place,” Galphin notes. “Performance Point has operated with a paperless and distributed workforce since opening the doors in 2008. It was easy for our office staff to work from home because most of us already did operate from home 1-2 days a week. We have a large group of office staff that only come into the office once or twice a year; that kind of flexibility has always been a benefit to our office people. At the very beginning of the pandemic, we did decide to continue operating a minimal staff from the office to help with some tasks that benefit from the physical presence of teammates such as our scheduling/dispatching people. Our customers benefit from our decision to operate in this way because it allows a real-time response to customer communication. For example, one person can look up the details on an unpaid invoice while the other person is talking to the customer and scheduling their job – we can give the scheduled date of the job they called in before they are off the phone as opposed to going back and forth.”
The field staff has also adapted. “Our field staff work independently for the most part. The timing of our inspections on homes requires we are not in a house with other trades working as it is so that never really changed field operations. We have had to reschedule jobs if other trades are working in the house when we arrive to prevent exposure to COVID, but in many cases, we would have had to reschedule those for other job-related reasons.”
Performance Point has learned a couple of lessons in the process says Galphin: “First, this whole situation has reinforced the understanding that we are all in this (life) together and we as individuals hold the power and responsibility to make our world better or worse. We can choose to use our individual freedoms and resources to impact climate change, economic opportunity, and COVID for the good or for the worse. The government isn’t or can’t ever do as much as the people acting for the good of each other. Taxing and distributing wealth will never be as effective as people giving to the deacon fund at a local church where it can go directly to helping those in need in their local community. The problem is that people don’t often act in a way that is best for everyone so the government has to do something.
Second, I learned we apparently work at the pleasure of our local government. I think it is an unfortunate situation when our state and local officials have to force businesses to close for a period of time or at least force them to change their operations. I’m not suggesting this step was not necessary, it probably was, but I would have preferred to see companies and business owners be proactive and change their operations so the government would not have a need to shut people down for weeks at a time. I do think some research-based guidance to affected small businesses would have been helpful to prevent a mass shut down as we saw in some places.”