Stronger Together: Safety in the Era of COVID-19
In the construction and building design industries, the ability to be agile, creative, and flexible all at the same time isn’t just a desired skill set- it is a requirement.
At lumenomics, we’ve grown to excel at handling whatever challenges come our way, while ensuring that we never compromise the safety, health, and well-being of our employees and partners. With our innovative and intentional mindset towards safety, accident prevention, and wellness, we have always succeeded in safely carrying even the most difficult and challenging of projects across the finish line.
However, with the onset of COVID-19, the traditional operating and safety procedures we knew and practiced day in and day out were upended overnight. From shipping material goods to installing our products on-site, this virus has changed nearly every facet of how we perform our jobs safely; impacting our teams mentally, physically, and emotionally. Nonetheless, through this new hardship, we have persevered together.
From business development to production and installation, here’s what safety during the COVID-19 crisis has meant to us and how our reimagined commitment to safety has helped us thrive during these hard times.
DEFINING AND APPLYING SAFETY:
Safety isn’t just a term or a set of protocols. It’s a decision that is made every day when we step onto our workplaces- whether it’s a job site, manufacturing facility, or even our home offices. When it comes to safety, most people think of the usual workplace hazards like trips and falls, but we here at lumenomics have given safety a much broader scope of influence. For us, safety is the constant, intentional work of vigilantly preserving and upholding the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of ourselves and others on and off the job site.
With the onset of COVID-19, we knew we had to immediately apply our definition of safety to our procedures and operations.
The immediate and obvious threat of COVID-19 is, well, COVID-19. The sudden danger of a hyper-communicable virus to our workplace immediately upended just about everything. “It’s all nothing we had ever thought about before,” said Production Lead Jenny Ogden. “Not sharing things, [and] making sure we’re keeping the 6ft distance. We really had to be more conscious of keeping everybody safe.”
That’s exactly what we did. We began our proactive defense by instituting a series of new protocols and standards to combat the transmission of the virus across all of our operations. The first wave of changes in safety began by requiring all staff who were able to work remotely to do so, instantly eliminating any chance of transmission in our offices. For our business development team, we moved our in-person Continued Education Units (CEUs) into an exclusively online format called Sunlight Series.
For our production staff who needed to remain on-site, we began requiring facial coverings, instituted a social distancing policy, provided cleaning supplies to each station, and distributed individual tools, pens, and styluses to eliminate the possibility of transmission on the production floor. We also empowered employees to make decisions based upon their own health, making sure they knew they must stay home if they felt experienced COVID-19 symptoms or might have had contact with someone who was.
For our installation teams, similar face-covering and social distancing measures were instituted. While challenging to do on tightly fit window openings and installation sites, team lu made it their duty to discover innovative solutions to get the job done while keeping themselves and others safe. “We’re just doing everything that we can to ensure that our people are not being exposed and that they’re remaining the safe distance.” Said Installation Manager, Mike Boyer.
“If we gotta get a second lift or if we gotta install a type of barrier on one lift, then we have to do it. It’s not just for them, you know. It’s for everybody. It’s everybody’s duty.” Through increased effort and vigilance, we have been able to keep our team and others safe on the job site from the transmission of the virus.
While the physical dangers of COVID-19 were vividly apparent, an equally important safety focus took shape for us here at lumenomics: Mental health. Vigilantly preserving and upholding the well-being of ourselves and others requires a mental clarity that is easily clouded by the anxiety, fear, and depression caused by the societal changes due to COVID-19. These effects were felt on many fronts. For many employees who were sent home to work remotely, quarantine was beginning to erode their sense of community and connectedness. Vice President Carlee Swihart was one of those people.
“Change happened super fast. Everybody went remote. It was way harder for me than what I even realized it would be. So I tried to take that and focus in and make sure that my team is doing whatever they can to help themselves.” By following up with each other, establishing re-occurring digital happy hours and group events, and candidly discussing mental health together, we developed an even stronger sense of community and camaraderie than ever before. “I think that we have started, hopefully, a trend and a practice in the company that it’s ok to have mental health issues, it’s ok to ask for help sometimes, and that the team of people that we have is there to help and support each other in a non-judgemental way. To just accept and envelop that person in our community a sense of love and appreciation for each other.”
Since its arrival in March, COVID-19 has completely changed our world. For us though, it has given way to a new holistic meaning to safety, wellness, and a job well done. For Project Manager Steve Ulrich, our responsibility to safety in the workplace has been transformed entirely: “Our commitment to safety hasn’t changed- it’s more so evolved. Now we just have to make sure we’re more diligent. It’s a team effort to make sure that everybody on Team lu and other subcontractors or contractors on sites are safe during this crisis.”
Adaptability and agility are skills that are in our company’s DNA. By harnessing these skills to evolve our focus on safety, we’re able to thrive safely together in this difficult time and continue to deliver exceptional results in our mission to maximize natural light. In the words of Production Lead Jenny Ogden, “The crisis has made our team stronger.”
- team lu