Editorial: The new abnormal
COVID-19 demands we take nothing for granted
By Colleen Cross
On March 1, this industry’s top challenge was, arguably, finding and keeping good employees. By March 31, it was reacting to and weathering the COVID-19 storm. When the seriousness of this pandemic became clear, our world quickly turned upside down. Business has slowed for many and the worst part is we don’t know when things will get back to something like normal.
We know only it will be a new normal where we take nothing for granted.
An interesting thing happened in response to the pandemic: provinces and territories, one by one, issued restrictions on business operation. Each posted a list of services deemed essential and these vary depending on where you are in Canada. Drinking water is not named explicitly on several of the lists, but rather under broader categories such as construction. What is striking is not only how different they are from one another but also how vague they are about water. This suggests either that water is not valued highly enough or it is valued so highly that people take it for granted to be essential – and therefore not worth spelling out clearly. Either way, ground water has a PR problem.
Businesses can’t take for granted that people know and trust their standards of cleanliness and physical distancing and the responsibility they take for employee safety.
Communication is so important right now. This includes keeping your team and your customers updated on cleaning, safety and physical distancing measures. It also includes taking every chance to educate the public about the process that brings them drinking water. Businesses can’t take for granted that people know and trust their standards of cleanliness and physical distancing and the responsibility they take for employee safety. I’ve heard members of the public say they won’t patronize a business that doesn’t have specific measures in place to meet provincial and federal guidelines – and clearly communicated in the office, in the field and, for that matter, online. Customers, employees and suppliers all need to know what you are doing to keep them safe and stop the spread of COVID-19.
In this edition, we look at some of the programs started by the federal government to provide some financial relief to businesses. In The Source the Ontario Ground Water Association offers some solid ideas for making the most of what may be a slow time for many businesses. Next issue, we’ll bring you an in-depth look at how the pandemic is affecting the ground water industry.
Although it’s difficult to look ahead right now, think of this: All the thought and effort you’re putting into your business now – increasing marketing and communications, updating your best practices and putting long-term plans in place, being a better leader – will serve you well in the long run. The impact of social distancing will be with us for months, if not years.
Before we sign off, an important note about the industry: In May you will receive a national survey of contractors via eblast and enewsletter. Please take 10 minutes to participate in this important poll to help create a clear picture of this industry’s priorities and challenges.
Please write or call us to share your experiences and ideas, and visit groundwatercanada.com for regular news updates, articles and ideas.
At this most stressful time, be well, be hopeful, be good to others and be good to yourselves.