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  LEADERS HAVE TAKEN UNIQUE MEASURES TO ENSURE BUSINESS SUSTAINABILITY Since early March, the unprecedented events of the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in employers making difficult decisions to manage liquidity challenges and ensure business sustainability. One such early decision made by many firms was the implementation of temporary layoffs. Unfortunately, the majority of these temporary layoffs happened before the government announced a number of measures to help stabilize the economy as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.   IMPLEMENTING TEMPORARY LAYOFFS CAME WITH RISKS While a temporary layoff can be valuable in helping with...

SURVIVAL TACTICS ONLY GUARANTEE SURVIVAL FOR SO LONG It has been 8 weeks since Canadian architecture and engineering practices moved their operations online and adjusted to the reality of working from home. There is uncertainty about how much longer this will last, and perhaps more still about what returning to ‘business as usual’ will look like. Business leaders have been focused during this time on survival, damage limitation and responding to other immediate challenges. Understandably, emphasis will have been on cutting costs and preserving capital. It’s important now, however,...

PROTECTING CULTURE IN TIMES OF CRISIS Lockdown life is teaching us some unexpected lessons. And we're learning truly surprising things about the nature of professional and creative work that I think will matter long after social distancing has been relaxed.  As we've been helping clients take care of their people in this crisis, we're noticing that leaders are increasingly concerned about preserving their office cultures. Why? Some degree of social distancing will likely be with us for some time to come. Workforces will be reduced in size and remain at...

FINDING THE SILVER LINING IN CLOUDY SKIES In times of crisis it’s common to focus primarily on the negative effects experienced; loss of revenue, loss of jobs, uncertainty, risk, disappointment. However difficult, it’s worth exploring how this time can also be an opportunity to rethink, revive and reinvent areas of your business that may not be working to full effect. REFOCUS ENERGY TOWARD THE BIG PICTURE When everything is running smoothly and your team works at full or near full capacity, it is rare to take the time to think about...

WHAT MIGHT THE 'NEXT NORMAL' LOOK LIKE FOR AEC FIRMS? It’s safe to say that disruption will be a big part of our ‘next normal’ in the architecture, engineering and design world for some time.   We’re starting to get signals from leading indicators - such as those produced by the American Institute of Architects - that suggest the size of the economic shock generated by COVID-19 will be very large indeed. And their gauges of market sentiment hint that the shock will take years to work its way through the...

COVID-19 HAS ACCELERATED THE USE OF "NEW" TECHNOLOGIES BY YEARS Our consultants at Innovia have been monitoring recent developments closely to understand our clients' needs and how we can better support them. An interesting observation has been made by numerous commentators on how COVID-19 has dramatically accelerated the adoption of new technologies by businesses suddenly working from home. Architects, engineers, and designers are among those that rely most on face-to-face and happenstance interactions to drive the creative process. Within days, entire studios had acclimatized to new communication and collaboration...