Beyond the Build


Better Together

This week has was not as I planned. Like many others around the country, I was diagnosed with the virus and have been quarantined at home.

When I received the news last Friday, my first reaction was, “You have got to be kidding,” but in the end, I trusted the test. Gratefully, I’ve been virtually symptom-free, but I have stayed home because it’s the right thing to do. I’ve quickly realized that the “work from home” trend would be a tough one for me to embrace long-term. I am thinking that’s probably the case for many others, too.

Since construction is an essential service, our office has remained open throughout the pandemic. It was a tough call, one of the waterfall of decisions we’re all having to make these days, but much of our work requires a physical presence to be done properly. Our front doors are locked to guests. We are working in our offices and wearing masks any time we leave our desks. We’ve got hand sanitizer stations peppered throughout the office and are conducting meetings via Zoom or equivalents. And we certainly aren’t all piling in the car going to lunch together.

I’ve have had several people come to me and tell me that the office remaining open has kept their sanity in check during the wild ride of 2020. Many are grateful to have the physical and mental separation of work and home, and also have a place to (carefully) collaborate. We’ve been responsible, and not one of the limited cases we’ve seen on our campus has spread from one coworker to another. It’s our hope that we can persist with this system until a vaccine is available. We’re better together, after all.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.