How Gannett Fleming’s Work Environment is Evolving in a Post-COVID World
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, businesses around the world were forced to move entire workforces to remote work models almost overnight, and many more felt the devastating impacts of the global economy grinding to a halt. Gannett Fleming was not exempt from these pains; with a workforce of more than 2,600 and 60 offices in the U.S., Canada, and Qatar, our agility was put to the test. However, we found that our company culture, belief in innovation, and flextime and flexible scheduling benefits greatly aided in the transition from working in the office to working from home. And now that the world is seeing the benefits of effective vaccines and starting to return to “normal,” we know that our work environment will look different than it has in the past. Read on to learn more about what our next “normal” will look like.
Hybrid Work Models
According to a recent survey, employees’ attitudes about the workplace have shifted since the onset of the pandemic. A staggering 41% of employees surveyed say they would be willing to take a job with a lower salary in exchange for a hybrid work model, and 47% say they would likely leave their jobs if one weren’t provided. While many employees miss socializing with coworkers and feel that in-person interaction is important to company culture and career growth, they also recognize the work-life balance and productivity benefits that come with working from home. Gannett Fleming is no different; throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have conducted regular pulse surveys to gauge our employees’ feelings on continuing to work from home and what the return to offices should look like. A pattern is clear: most of our employees want to see hybrid options available once the pandemic is over.
Although Gannett Fleming has reopened offices under COVID-19 safety guidelines to employees who have a need or wish to work in an office, our Freedom to Work from Home policy remains in effect. We have assembled three teams, which are comprised of employees at all levels of the firm, from different geographies, and varied job roles, to work on what our mentoring, culture, and hybrid work model should look like in the future.
Greater Transparency and Communication
With the swift transition to a remote workforce, Gannett Fleming’s leadership team recognized that transparent and frequent communication would be crucial to successfully navigating our new reality. We quickly assembled a COVID-19 Corporate Response Team, and this team developed a comprehensive plan and dedicated SharePoint site to help keep employees up to date on Gannett Fleming’s response to the pandemic. However, one of the greatest developments during this time was the introduction of a weekly email to all employees from CEO and Chairman Bob Scaer.
Bob initially developed this email series as a way for employees to hear directly from him about what was happening within Gannett Fleming, how we as a firm were coping with the pandemic, and what we could expect to see in the near future. What set these messages apart, though, was that they also contained helpful advice and resources about physical and mental wellness and anecdotes from our coworkers and clients dealing firsthand with the crisis, among other topics. They were sincere and honest, sharing both the good news and bad news, and they helped employees feel informed and valued during a time of immense uncertainty and fear. The positive employee response was so overwhelming that Bob adapted the series into a permanent communication now called CEO On Point. Still a weekly message to employees, Bob discusses industry and firm news, corporate social responsibility topics, and our evolution as we enter new territory post-COVID.
An Unwavering Commitment to Our Values
We take our core values seriously, especially our value that our employees are the key. Central to this value is our promise that “we will encourage and promote wellness for our employees and their families. We will promote diversity and the principle of equal employment opportunity.” And the COVID-19 pandemic has only strengthened our dedication to living this value.
Gannett Fleming has always had a focus on safety and wellness, but the pandemic provided an opportunity to integrate our safety and wellness initiatives together in a new way. We launched our Live Healthy, Work Safely campaign in 2021, which provides practical tips from our colleagues on how to live and work healthier and safer and tools to improve our mental and physical health. Each month, representatives from our corporate business groups and employee resource groups (ERGs) deliver companywide messages on a range of topics, such as home health and safety and the importance of health and safety plans.
Additionally, Gannett Fleming has continued its dedication to diversity and inclusion by making progress, not just pledges. In June 2021, we launched our newest ERG, LGBTQ+ of Gannett Fleming. This ERG is committed to developing a supportive environment that leads to an internal community of engaged colleagues; facilitating and fostering networking, mentoring, and professional development; and empowering and enabling the LGBTQ+ community to advance in leadership at Gannett Fleming.
A Renewed Optimism
Navigating a global pandemic presented challenges for every person living through it. Uncertainty about the future, isolation from family and friends, and a fear of contracting and spreading a deadly virus created stress, anxiety, and depression in ways that most of us had never experienced. However, for Gannett Fleming and the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, the future looks bright.
Major bipartisan infrastructure bills are passing and gaining ground in the U.S. Congress, promising much needed improvements to aging infrastructure, new jobs, and opportunities for improved innovation, resilience, and sustainability. Additionally, as the world changes and recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, the AEC industry is needed to get everyday citizens back to the places and people they love. 2020 was a trying year for everyone, but we’re excited about where we’re going and continuing to implement the lessons we learned.
Join Our Journey
When you work for Gannett Fleming, you’re not just a number. We maintain a small company feel while also providing opportunities to work on large, innovative, and diverse projects. If you’re ready to advance your career and appreciate a firm that evolves and adapts with its employees, apply to our open positions and join our talent community today!