By: Blake McGregor, P.E.
Senior Vice President | CCO | Practice Area Leader - Land Services
If you had asked me about EHRA Engineering announcing a permanent flexible work schedule before the coronavirus became a pandemic, I would have suggested that you are crazy! Yet here we are, in June of 2021 proudly implementing our new work policy, which includes the option for our team members to work remotely two days each week. I use the term “work policy” because adjectives such as “remote” and “flexible” are no longer necessary, as the work schedule will now be business as usual.
Over the past year, our team members have worked hard to identify the most efficient ways to work with leadership and other team members internally, and with clients and other industry consultants and agencies while working a schedule that includes both time in the office and time working remotely. Although we may not have achieved perfection yet in this new approach, we are dedicated to continuously improving our capabilities. With the determination of myself and our leadership team, we are striving to be as close to perfect by the end of 2021 as a firm can be.
The ability to work remotely provides many advantages, including the following that are important to the EHRA leadership team:
Our leadership team understands that commuting to and from the office can be frustrating and impacts team member morale. Reducing the amount of time spent commuting means team members arrive at daycare earlier in the afternoon to pick up their children and can spend more time with significant others or other family members; they can begin their wind down from work earlier; or leave earlier for vacation on a Friday.
We understand the importance of offering paid time off (PTO) and the impact it has on our team members’ physical and mental health, their attitudes towards work and productivity. Without the option to work remotely, team members are forced to take PTO for unexpected life events, such as a sick child at home, or someone’s car doesn’t start or a technician requiring an adult be available at home at a specified time during the workday. With EHRA’s new work policy, our team members can choose to work remotely on these days and use their PTO on spending time with their families, traveling and pursuing other activities.
Achieving the American Dream of Homeownership
For many of our team members, buying a home is part of the American dream. However, living in the city may not be an option for some team members who would like to own a house. There are more affordable housing options for those willing to commute a bit further, so driving to the office only three days out of the week makes living further from the office a more reasonable alternative.
Traffic and Transit
Nobody likes sitting in traffic - expanding the ability to work remotely to more people reduces the amount of cars on the road during peak-travel periods. It also has the potential to alleviate the strain on the City of Houston and its surrounding communities’ transportation infrastructure. In addition, our team members spend less on transportation costs.
EHRA focuses on producing high quality work, on time. If we can achieve these standards while working outside the office, the firm, team members and our clients will realize numerous benefits.