The "New Normal" - October 2021 Edition

October 14, 2021 Kevin Breslin

One year ago, I posted about the evolving impact that the pandemic was having on the infrastructure design industry, and now that a year has passed, it seems worthwhile to review where we are today and what we’ve learned since Fall 2020.

In October 2020 I noted that we were just starting to pull out of the lockdown restrictions imposed by various government agencies and cited that some were restarting (to whatever extent possible) their “normal” operations.  Many organizations however had remained in a limbo-like state and were still trying to figure out how to function under the evolving pandemic conditions.

So here we are in October 2021, and where are we now?

Status Update:

  • Contrary to what one might believe would be the case, business is generally up.  For many it’s WAY UP, and a lot of companies are struggling to find staff to help balance the increased workloads.
  • Many organizations have brought people back to the office in some capacity (full-time, split-time).
  • Some organizations have been able to successfully continue with staff working remote and are downsizing, sometimes substantially, their office space needs.
  • Employee turnover has spiked, and a lot of organizations are reporting that they’ve lost staff over the last year.  In many cases the turnover has been attributed to increased compensation opportunities, and for some it has been the lure of having the ability to work from home vs having to go into the office.
  • Many organizations were required to quickly either adopt a new remote collaboration/data sharing technology, or refine existing systems to keep projects on schedule.  Autodesk’s Construction Cloud (formally BIM 360) has gained a footing with Civil 3D users as not only a means to collaborate internally on projects, but also externally with customers and other project stakeholders and partners.
  • Web-based meeting tools have been broadly adopted and it seems almost everyone is using Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or one of the other popular web-meeting tools. 
    • As a side note, we also get to answer the question of: “What does our coworker’s kitchens, living rooms and basements look like?”

October 2020 Question: What’s Next and How Will Organizations Operate After Covid 19?

At one point, many were talking about “After Covid”, where the belief was that this would in time pass, and we’d all be back to business as usual.  Now that 2 weeks has turned into 20 months and with no end in sight, many have adjusted their expectations from “What to do when Covid has passed?” to “How do we operate with Covid being a part of our lives for the foreseeable future?”

This change in perspective has necessarily adjusted expectations, goals and the basic thinking of how business can best proceed.  With the ever-present waxing and waning of infection rates, variants, and government-imposed regulations, all of which have an impact on our ability to function, it’s very difficult to etch many specific plans into stone.

At this point, it’s safe to say, that for the time being at least our “New Normal” will include navigating the ever changing and sometimes substantial obstacles related to Covid 19.

Where are you?

Please take a minute and tell us what your “New Normal” is and what if any specific challenges you’re experiencing that are making it difficult to operate effectively.

Enter Feedback: 



About the Author

Kevin Breslin

Professional Services Director, Civil <br> Kevin began working in the civil engineering and survey industry in 1985 and has continually built on this foundation to become an expert in civil design and infrastructure data management software. He has been involved in every aspect of the industry from field surveying to transportation systems, as well as managing a CAD design group within a civil engineering firm. <br> Kevin's passion for technology combined with his unique insights to the business processes of engineering firms makes him an accomplished leader for the infrastructure solutions team.

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