It caught us all by surprise, didn’t it? The appearance of the novel COVID-19 virus was a news story that surprised us all. But it was half a world away and didn’t affect us and our daily lives until it hit our shores. Even then, no one immediately realized how deeply it would change us, and how much it would influence our business procedures as well as our lives. In our business, prior to the pandemic, landscaping safety had an entirely different meaning.
But the coronavirus changed us. It continues to concern us. Newly-mandated safety protocols continue to impact our daily lives and every aspect of our business. At this point, no one is certain how long it will last or if life in the United States will ever really return to “normal.” As sobering a thought as that might be, we have done everything we can to keep our families, associates, and clients as safe as possible. That continues to be a prime concern as we move forward.
At ASI Landscape Management, a safe working environment has always been a top priority. We continue to honor that commitment, now more than ever before, and we have instituted new protocols to ensure that our employees, whether in the office or in the field, go beyond what is necessary to remain safe. Proper protocols are not mere suggestions; they are a way of life for everyone in our company. That will never change.
Even though much of our work is accomplished in the open air and requires limited close contact with others, we are aware of the risks. We practice strict social distancing, and we have altered some of our job site rules just as we have refined the methods we use to interact with clients. COVID-19 has changed the way we do business. Surprisingly, what we have found is that it’s not all bad. Working remotely is different, and it took some getting used to, but we now know it’s possible to maintain virtual relationships that are as effective as face-to-face communication.
The Changing World of Landscaping Safety
There is no question that we have had to seriously consider how to keep our designers, installers, maintenance crews, and customer service representatives safe during this health crisis. We are proud of our company’s response to enhance landscaping safety, and even more proud of the cooperation and support that we received across the broad spectrum of suppliers and service providers, our valued associates.
We immediately arranged for the use of high-grade masks and followed recommended personal sanitation procedures for handwashing, social distancing, temperature checks, health monitoring, and all the local, statewide, and national protocols that were suggested. In addition, we paid attention to routine sanitization of all our equipment. ASI arranged for additional crews to deep clean all trucks and landscaping equipment on a bi-weekly basis.
Our offices in both Orlando and Tampa have been routinely scrubbed, sprayed, and sanitized since the onset of the pandemic, and we are committed to continuing this new routine. We fully realize and subscribe to the importance of continuing these procedures, understanding that we all reap the benefits of our “Bleach Beaches” and Sanitation Stations.
Technology and Its Transformative Power
Because of modern technology, we are able to continue to work with clients. We have instituted virtual consultations to further our landscaping safety efforts, working with clients to design and plan the Florida landscapes that add value to their properties and enhance local quality of life. Our business is based on client interaction, but even though we might not be able to shake hands, we can see and hear one another, exchange ideas, see the results of our labor, and continue to develop work schedules and complete on-site work.
Our field personnel continues to visit sites, and our installers operate the large and small equipment necessary to transform outdoor spaces. We not only protect our equipment but have become experts at holding Zoom conferences to tackle ongoing concerns that require joint decisions or immediate exchanges of ideas that lead to decisions. We embrace the technology that now exists to solve problems we never expected to have! Just as digital technology, like computers and cellphones, changed the way we all transact business, newly-emerging visual conferencing brings us together for decision-making even though we remain physically separated.
We rely on our cell phones and visual conferencing to keep in touch with field teams, to meet with clients, and to interact with manufacturers, suppliers, and municipal personnel. We find that our effectiveness has not diminished in the slightest!
Moving Into a New Dimension of Landscaping Safety
If anything, the Coronavirus pandemic has opened our eyes to the power and the necessity of automated systems. We possess the ability to monitor and control landscaping needs through off-site monitoring devices, or to check on conditions transmitted electronically to remote locations. Weathermatic systems not only make it easier and more efficient to irrigate a landscape but can reduce water usage and save money at the same time. Cameras and data recorders help us in many ways. Alarm systems and digital status reports allow our team to respond quickly when a need arises.
As we continue to explore options for more effective off-site monitoring capabilities, we are certain that we will continue to expand the availability of better landscaping techniques as well. If there is a silver lining to the current coronavirus pandemic, it may be that it brings about greater innovation. Better ideas and practices for improving Florida landscapes, new efficiencies, and more cost-effective implementation will benefit us all.
In the meantime, ASI Landscape Management will continue to be available, by phone, and in-person as allowed, to help clients with their landscaping projects throughout Florida. With offices in Pinellas, Tampa, and Orlando, we are aware of the differing soils, conditions, and requirements throughout our state. We work with clients large and small to create appropriate landscape solutions. Our award-winning landscape designers will listen to your ideas, and work with you to bring those ideas to life, whether it’s for a residential complex, a hotel or office building, a shopping center, or newly planned development.
With full-service design, construction, maintenance, and service teams, ASI Landscape Management can be your “go-to” resource, no matter how large or small your project may be. These may be uncertain times, but one thing is certain: A beautiful landscape is something that will not only lift your spirits but also create a healthy outdoor environment for your business or residential community.
That’s an important consideration. Contact us now to schedule a consultation. We’re always available in a very real sense, although for the time being, we may only meet virtually!