Fluor’s Greenville office is the largest and most diverse of all its offices with approximately 1600 employees supporting most of the markets Fluor serves, including Government, Mining and Metals, Infrastructure, Advanced Technologies, Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences and Chemicals. Additionally, there are a number of Corporate and Functional groups located here.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, we were executing a wide range of projects for Clients around the world. These projects ranged from small to mega in size and were in various stages of design completion. Some of these projects were specifically being developed to produce COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic treatments, which brings us great pride in helping these companies help to conquer this virus.
As a global Engineering, Procurement, Construction Management (EPCM) company, one of our Core Values is Safety, embodied in Health, Safety and Environmental principles. That said, our number one focus was on the health and safety of our employees, followed by the successful execution of our ongoing projects.
Since much of our business is considered “essential,” notably the Life Sciences, Infrastructure and Government work we opted to remain “open for business,” while aggressively drawing down the resources in the office and sending employees home to work. Within one week, we surveyed every employee’s equipment and identified gaps which would prevent them from being able to execute their job remotely. Our information technology and engineering teams worked around the clock to fulfill each individual’s needs- ranging from remote access tokens, to laptops and other hardware required to enable the heavy 3D CAD design work remotely. In parallel, we established a Greenville based COVID 19 Task Force which worked in tandem with the Corporate Task Force to leverage learnings and best practices, which seemed to be changing daily.
Within three weeks, we had reduced the headcount in our two office buildings to an average of sixty per day, or 3-4% of the total population. We initiated security protocols to manage the headcount and updated our facility plans with engineered and administrative controls to reduce any transmission risk. We rolled out our infection control plan with an increased schedule for sanitizing and disinfecting, enhanced air quality, modified safe practices for COVID-19, and a significant signage campaign, while providing frequent communications to all employees.
Additionally, we added daily touchless electronic temperature testing and health screening as requirements for access.
Within the next few months, we also quickly redefined how we execute projects. That is, how we optimize collaboration and innovation while working in our own homes versus doing what we’ve always done sitting right next to each other for the last hundred years. We established a number of teams to identify deficiencies and opportunities and to develop practices to enhance our “Work from Home (WFH),” protocols. By all accounts, this new “normal” is working and our Clients are supportive. To date, we have had no projects canceled and we are seeing a new wave in project commitments fueling the backlog in 2021.
The resilience and flexibility of our employees has been impressive and also a catalyst for change “post pandemic.” We fully believe that a hybrid platform which includes some “work from home” and some “work from office” will be the way of the future and help us attract and retain the best talent in the industry.