I’m a project manager and lead carpenter for DBS Remodel, a residential remodeling company based in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. We’re a midsized design-build firm with 17 full-time employees, most of whom have been with the company for 10 to 25 years (I have been with DBS for 18 years). We’re a close-knit group with a reputation in our community as quality remodelers who meet challenges head on. But nothing in our past work experience could have helped us prepare for the nerve-wracking events of Spring 2020 when the state of New York shut down all “non-essential” construction due to the coronavirus.

Like many in our profession, our company had to furlough all its employees at the beginning of the pandemic. Undaunted, we stayed connected via group chats and Zoom while under stay-at-home orders and began to plan how to weather the crisis. Our company president assembled a “COVID Care Team” tasked with researching and developing COVID safety protocols in preparation for re-opening (see “Developing COVID-19 Safety Protocols").

Learning from the crisis. With vaccinations rolling out, the pandemic appears to be showing signs of waning. In our region, there has been a huge cultural shift with regard to people working from home and moving out of the New York City metropolitan area. This hit home for me when a client we just completed a remodeling project for was told that their offices would be permanently closing and that “this is your life, you’re working remotely from home from now on.” This may be the new normal—or a hybrid of this and the pre-pandemic “normal.” Regardless, we intend to adopt new procedures learned from this crisis to keep our company vital and thriving.

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