Top 5 COVID-19 Tips for Landscape Contractors & Landscape Suppliers

Top 5 COVID-19 Tips for Landscape Contractors & Landscape Suppliers
STONEarch
March 30, 2020
Top 5 COVID-19 Tips for Landscape Contractors & Landscape Suppliers

The Novel Coronavirus has quickly turned from an epidemic to a pandemic. It carries ripples across the globe affecting every continent, from Asia to North America. As the entire world prepares to decrease the impact of the COVID-19, businesses including landscape contractors and suppliers are filled with uncertainty. No doubt, the outbreak emphasizes the need for industries, businesses, and society to be ready and resilient long after the restoration of public health.

It’s especially disappointing if you’re working on a number of landscape projects this year and looking forward to completing remarkable ones. You may already be at various development stages with all your projects with some even on advanced design phases. The decision to work remotely or close your physical offices is not something to be taken lightly. And you probably would have not have chosen to do so if there was a better alternative. However, as we all unite for the greater good of society and reducing the burden on our health care system, shifting to remote work and self-isolation is critical.

Fortunately, we should be proud that the landscape industry is not like any other. There is no doubt that we’ll be able to support each other and come together through the difficult times ahead. We have to embrace an optimistic outlook despite the delays we’re experiencing right now. We have to keep going so we can come back stronger after all of these are over.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips to combat COVID-19 for landscape contractors and landscape suppliers:

  1. Educate & implement cross-training
  2. Over-communicate with everyone
  3. Provide flexible work opportunities
  4. Develop an emergency response plan
  5. Keep workspaces extra clean

Educate & implement cross-training

The majority of employees tend to go to work even if they are sick. So check your sick-leave policy and ensure that it encourages your staff to stay at home when they’re sick.

Also, it’s vital that they know the symptoms of COVID-19, which includes the following:

  • Dry cough
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing (severe cases)

Some patients may also experience:

  • Aches and pain
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea

As a landscape supplier or contractor, it’s also crucial that you recognize these symptoms and actively convince your employees to go home immediately and self-quarantine. Additionally, it’s likely that you’ll experience a higher number of employee absences, so make sure you are prepared for this. Likewise, you may want to cross-train your other workers so that they know how to perform other crucial roles in case of higher-than-usual absenteeism.

Over-communicate With Everyone

Now, more than ever is the time to start communicating regularly with your team. Doing so can help mitigate their concerns and fears by addressing their questions proactively.

Some specific topics to address COVID-19 employee concerns in landscape construction:

  • The dynamic actions your company has undertaken to protect the well-being, health, and safety of your workers during the pandemic.
  • Opportunities to work remotely for those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or employees that have had contact with an infected individual.
  • Check options you have for their unpaid and paid leaves in conjunction with government laws or company policies. For Canada, refer to the Canadian Government COVID-19 benefits for Employers and Employees. For USA, refer to the United States Government benefits for COVID-19.
  • Tips on how they can stay well in the workplace, as well as measures to ensure their work environment is hygienic. However, make sure that the health tips you’ll provide come from a reliable source like the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Procedures in case of an emergency closure of your worksites and offices.
  • Travel adjustments for any staff who has a scheduled trip that’s work-related.

At STONEarch, we are global suppliers of natural stone. We work with natural stone quarries and fabricators from over a dozen countries, managing global supply chains from production to container shipping to rail & truck distribution for our products. We’ve been working closely with everyone to reduce or minimize any delays once projects kick-off again as global conditions begin to ease.

One tip in this time of crisis from Arun Goel, our CEO – “Be transparent with your customers on lead times and add buffer by anticipating potential delays. We’ve already stocked up over 10,000 bundles of natural stone for the 2020 landscape season, and are actively conveying any potential delays on custom orders to all our customers.”

Provide Flexible Work Opportunities

Remote work and flex work are beneficial for your landscaping business. You’ll be able to get things done continuously without the need for anyone to sit behind a desk. Consider including remote work options for those who can do their job at home. This is particularly an option for landscape architects and designers that can continue communicating with clients remotely, sharing pictures of their design ideas, and working on collaborating using tools such as Zoom.

Furthermore, you can use an online time-tracker app, where your staff can clock in and out at the comforts of their home. Likewise, there are online scheduling apps online to make the process even more convenient for both employees and managers to stay in touch. It will also help the team in terms of work delegation. If you have workers who need to go out on the field, they can also use this solution as it’ll lessen the need for physical contact or their presence.

Keep in mind to involve your team when deciding the process to ensure that everyone is clear on what their roles will be.

At STONEarch, we’ve implemented a remote-work policy for all of our office staff effective March 18, 2020. We are continuing to keep the yard open for pickups and for customers on an appointment-only basis. We’re ensuring strict procedures are in place such that yard staff are to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between anyone entering the yard. We also request no one with any symptoms or that has travelled in the last 14 days to enter our yard premises at this time to keep all our employees safe.

Have An Emergency Response Plan In Place

If you haven’t prepared this yet, now is the right time to do so. Your emergency response plan should include how your landscape company will respond to the pandemic, as well as on other potential natural disasters and emergencies. One tip for landscape contractors is to consider donating some of their masks that they keep for job sites to doctors, nurses, and those in need. This will substantially help our medical system in coping with demand and help you also gain some goodwill in the minds of customers.

At STONEarch, we’ve implemented a remote-work policy for all of our office staff effective March 18, 2020. We are continuing to keep the yard open for pickups and for customers on an appointment-only basis. We’re ensuring strict procedures are in place such that yard staff are to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between anyone entering the yard. We also request no one with any symptoms or that has travelled in the last 14 days to enter our yard premises at this time to keep all our employees safe.

Keep Workspaces Clean

You can get or spread COVID-19 through contact. You can pick up viruses, germs, and bacteria from surfaces and transmit them by touch. Encourage your employees to maintain a clean work environment by providing them with hand sanitizer or alcohol and disinfecting wipes.

All landscape contractors should be maintaining distance when they are going for pickups, deliveries, and while on job sites. All door handles, equipment handles, and other surfaces that are commonly in contact should be sanitized frequently. Finally, we encourage all our landscape suppliers to also implement similar policies in their day-to-day yard operations as these will have a substantial impact on the spread of COVID-19.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at stone@stonearch.ca in case you want us to share more information about policies we’ve implemented to stay safe and keep all of our customers also safe. We still have lots of stock so if you need anything, please reach out!

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