What was the most challenging part of being an essential service during COVID?
Amen – The hardest thing I believe was to ensure that we were able to continue working without compromising the safety and wellbeing of our staff and subcontractors.
Khalil – Keeping the team, our subcontractors and all stakeholders focused on adopting and implementing the changing rules and protocols to keep the sites open and be the beacon of light and hope for the greater community.
How did you implement changes to ensure Binah was COVID business ready?
Amen – Daily communication played a massive role in getting the business ready; we appointed a COVID officer responsible for ensuring we were up to date with the latest information. The Executive team came up with a COVID Management Plan and clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and we worked together as a team to execute it.
Khalil – Aligned with NSW Health recommendations and created protocols for the team to implement, this gave our staff the best chance of remaining mentally, physically and emotionally healthy.
How did you keep up with the constant changes and action them accordingly?
Khalil – Constant communication and discussion amongst the Executive team. We also decided on a course of action and supported the staff to remain focused and not be distracted by uncertainty.
Were there opportunities despite the crisis?
Amen – Absolutely; we focused on strengthening our relationships with existing clients by providing them with certainty that we had things under control. We demonstrated that it was business as usual regarding the delivery of their projects. Within 3-months post the original lockdown, our new clients started projects on the back of the confidence we gave them.
Khalil – The business became more resilient and robust. The staff unanimously supported the COVID initiatives put in place to navigate the company through the crisis. We learned to do business via VC and work from home. Overall, we learnt more about each other.
Can you give examples on-site adaptations that were made to adjust to the pandemic?
Khalil – Regarding the management of COVID, here’s just a few of the steps our team implemented below:
- Dividing the site teams into 2 to ensure adequate coverage in the case of a confirmed case.
- Office staff that were able were asked to work remotely from home.
- COVID Questionnaires were introduced to ensure any essential visitor to a Binah office or site were screened and accepted prior to attending the site.
- HammerTech sign in/out with COVID screening questions for all workers/contractors/visitors.
- Site personnel were restricted from attending any other sites/office.
- Additional cleaning arrangements.
How did you look after your mental health during the peak of the pandemic?
Amen – By accepting that life is happening for us not to us helps keeps things in perspective; I would ensure to remind myself daily of all of the blessings I have in my life and took nothing for granted.
Khalil – Focused on solutions and strategies that gave the business the best opportunity to keep our doors open.
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?
Amen – Remember to breathe and remind myself that being overwhelmed usually occurs due to a lack of clarity. I also complete a quarterly plan outlining all the important tasks that need to be resolved, and I build a strategy to get them done. This strategy keeps me focused on what’s required to move things forward.
Khalil – Ensure that I am not reacting to the immediate environment that I am faced with. I keep focused on the strategic business plan and be honest about what is working, what is not working, what needs to be accelerated and what can be reprioritised.
How did you communicate with and reassure the team?
Amen – Daily, through face to face meetings, video conferences and in writing.
Khalil – Clear, honest and succinct communication via VC. Regular communication focused on action and solutions.
How did the Binah values help you manage the crisis?
Amen – Gratitude and wellbeing were front and centre; it kept things real and reminded us that whilst we were doing it tough, there were others globally suffering a lot more. We were lucky to be in Australia above anywhere else during the pandemic.
Khalil – The team came together to ensure we continued to create opportunities and empower lives by doing whatever it took to support the business. We exceeded in our individual roles to navigate the ship through the unchartered waters.
In the last few years, what new behaviour or habit has most improved your life?
Amen – Trading the science of achievement with the art of fulfilment.
Khalil – Replacing expectation with appreciation.
What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the construction industry? What advice should they ignore?
Amen – Live your life with passion and drive and have the courage to follow your dreams; Build a plan, so the dreams become tangible goals for your spectacular future. Patience and perseverance are your friends, when things get toughdon’t give up and don’t give in, there’s always an answer to everything.
Khalil – Make sure you love the construction industry and are passionate about building and working in teams.
Advice to Ignore:
Amen – Keep changing employers every two years to grow your skillset and advance your career.
Khalil – Get into the building industry because it pays well.