Take Care of Yourself and Build a Better Department

We have all read and heard a lot about the pandemic. Our daily routines have changed. Businesses are decimated. Politics is polarizing. Childhoods are robbed of innocence or worry. In some cases, loved ones have been lost, forever gone from this dreaded disease. We are tired of it all. What can you do?

Live and go on. It is what the human race does. I am stunned by this fact and the ability to do so. We reflect, remember, study, and adjust. Time goes on, and day by day, we keep going.  It is what we have always done, whether we are aware of it in the moment or not. It happens, and we go on.

I think one of the most important things for you to do is take care of yourself. You need to. Whether it’s quiet time meditating, quality time with family, or even treating yourself to the new toy you want.  Or maybe you’d feel better buying the meal for the car behind you in a fast-food drive up and then move on before anyone knows. Whatever it may be, take care of yourself, feel good, and count your blessings.

This is important to do in a professional aspect as well. Look at your building department. Call your fellow employees every now and then. Back in the day, we used to see each other a lot, and now we Zoom. Make that call, and check in. Listen and practice understanding. Take care of yourself and your team.

Looking forward, what have you learned from the new workday we now face? When the pandemic is behind us, will you really go back to normal? Will it be as it was? Exactly like it was?

Isn’t there something we learned about efficiencies and new work tools we now use? Business operations have been modified to meet our challenges. Many of them are better. Some are not. Evaluate your work processes and make a list of things to keep.

Virtual inspections. They save time and money for all. They are efficient and useful. Virtual inspections are worth keeping – using it when we need to and making it a requirement for certain jobs. Contractors have adapted quickly to this one.

Electronic submittals, plan review. Using an ftp site, email, or having a permit software capable of utilizing an automated review process was a goal years ago. Now it is a normal standard we cannot live without.

Web Meetings. We are using low cost effective communication with visuals (Webex, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, etc.) and letting team members share screens with great success. Meetings seem shorter and more productive.

We have all gained in our mutual respect for each other, being in the company of one another, and learning that collectively we are stronger together through everything we do.  At home, work, or play, building departments make it their business to keep a city safe.  Now when we all say be safe, it means much more.

So, stay safe and take care of yourself.

Selso Mata, AIA, CBO

Second Past President, BOAT

BOAT Affiliate Director, TML Board

Building Official, City of Plano

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