Global perspective by the Future leaders on the post-Covid consulting engineering industry
The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled many services to adapt to new technologies and highlighted the need for employers to safeguard employee well-being in the post-Covid workplace. The blog talks about this in more detail.
After more than a year of the pandemic, some countries have returned to normalcy, while others few have seen resurgences of cases and renewed lockdowns. This has had a significant impact on the world, and the construction and infrastructure industries, like all other business sectors, have been severely impacted. However, working practices are rapidly adapting to this new normal and will most likely change further.
Future Leaders offered a unique outlook on the current situation via an online webinar, The post-Covid consulting engineering industry – Future Leaders’ global perspectives where they provided a regional and global perspective on the impacts and challenges.
The webinar was opened by André Jabir Assumpção, business development director at TPF Engenharia. He offered his observations on the industry situation in Brazil and highlighted how working remotely has unleashed new potential as they now hire consultants from different parts of the world without an adverse effect on the quality of work.
He also stated that the emphasis should be on digital transformation because technology can assist in resolving issues caused by restrictions on visiting sites and going on the field. The use of drones and images by junior staff are some of the alternatives being considered by the company. André then discussed the lack of human interaction and how it can affect client relations if meetings are moved online. As a result, the physical presence of key personnel is also required for business development. When asked about productivity, he stated that while a lot of travel time is saved, a change in mindset is also required. People still measure productivity by time spent in the office so other aspects should be considered.
Riitta Kujala, AFRY’s Technology Manager, emphasizes the difficulty of gauging the client’s perception of ideas and work via online medium of work. AFRY is a Swedish-Finnish engineering, consulting, and design firm specializing in energy, industry, infrastructure, and information technology. Riitta goes on to say that the Covid-19 pandemic’s effects were felt not only by clients, but also internally, when it came to motivating employees and ensuring their mental health. As a result, Project Managers and Technology Managers should make efforts to ensure a positive work environment for their employees. With these issues raised, she recalls holding a workshop at the start of the pandemic when everything was shifting online, and how things were difficult at first, but everyone was able to cope with the change successfully over time.
Everything was new, from virtual meetings to virtual tours, but the change aided in ideation and presentation. We are now in a better position to hear the clients.
Kaveh Heshmati, a Civil and Structural Designer at SANO Consulting Engineers in Iran, discusses the importance of changing one’s mindset. He mentions how things will be different even after the Pandemic is over. This is where designers, civil and structural engineers, and architects must consider the fact that people’s homes will be different in the future. Everything will change, from making space outside for entertaining guests to arranging a desk suitable for working from home. There will be changes in offices, specifically to incorporate sanitation and proper ventilation. He also shed light on how people prefer to live in suburban and rural areas because working from home is an option. He goes on to explain the significance of education for an engineer. Also discussed is how education has changed in the last two decades as a result of the internet’s introduction. Access to information is simple, convenient, and not geographically limited, allowing individuals to broaden their skill set.
Masao Yamakawa, the next speaker, discusses changes that have resulted in greater flexibility in work location and hours. This adaptability aided in achieving a better work-life balance. This change has resulted in everyone having more time to relax or spend with family that was previously wasted in commuting to work. This extra time allowed me to take on more work/projects. This change enabled engineers with international projects to better connect and collaborate on these projects using digital tools. The speaker on the other hand mentions being aware of remote work harassment – going beyond work topics and checking the personal things/elements in others’ lives through online meetings, or not trusting the work delivered or assigning excessive work to complete.
In today’s world, it is critical to focus on professional development and how it is incorporated into an organization. Mr. Eoin Cullinane, Senior Project Engineer, emphasizes the increased accessibility to e-learning/professional development via webinars, events, and online courses. Engineers are evaluated based on their experience when they join projects. The senior engineers’ professional and corporate experiences must be passed on to the junior members of the team – even if only remotely in this situation. This online professional development allows them to gain access to a broader range of training materials. The informal interaction that would have occurred in the office for the purpose of gaining more knowledge is undoubtedly a challenge here, which is then covered by the formal calls and training sessions organized by the team to check in on the team members.
This post-covid phase has led us to deal with these challenges by developing new innovative solutions and broadening our perspectives, giving us a competitive advantage in learning more and experiencing a new normal. The employee’s well-being is restored through the use of digital tools and a remote perspective on the same old as well as new challenges encountered during COVID times.