A Sobering Reality—and a Bright Future!
If there’s anything we’ve learned from the COVID-19 crisis, it’s that life can change on a dime! As I write this message on April 15, 2020, two things come to mind. First, this is Tax Day in the U.S., and second, I’m supposed to be in Maui on vacation with my family during my daughter’s spring break. However, Tax Day has been postponed until July, my daughter’s school is now using remote learning, and our vacation was canceled because of the pandemic. We are all adjusting plans and shifting priorities.
In this edition of CoolTimes, we highlight the ways our company is adapting because of COVID-19, and in some cases “pausing” initiatives so we can focus on our team and our customers during these challenging times.
It is now nearly 30 days since CoolSys essentially started operating remotely. I’m very proud of the fact that, pulling together as a team, we have made this a success. Office workers who used to occupy cubicles and private offices in 70-plus locations are now occupying home offices, kitchen tables and family rooms all across America. We have proven that we can adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and it is great to see that productivity has not suffered.
I believe that one permanent change in our post-COVID-19 world will be the way employers think about real estate needs. At CoolSys, we were set to begin the build-out of the second-floor mezzanine in our new training center because headquarters was running out of space. I think the better response now will be to determine who can work from home on a more permanent basis to alleviate the need to build additional facilities altogether.
The news has been filled with stories about flattening the curve to alter the trajectory of the disease, and now attention has turned to rebooting the US economy. It boggles the mind to think about how many businesses are shut down—malls, theaters, restaurant dining rooms, sporting venues, churches, and so forth. How will we reboot? What comes next? How do we get back to where “normal” is normal once again? The answer to these questions is “slowly, and in stages.” At CoolSys, we’re already planning for our reboot.
So what should we expect in the weeks and months to come? First, we have to expect the country to get back to work slowly, not quickly. I am certain there will be no more large gatherings for the rest of this year, and I can’t imagine that sporting events will have live crowds until next year, at the earliest. I believe that, even if allowed to re-open, movie theaters, malls and restaurants will have limited capacity and fewer patrons willing to risk being close to crowds of people again. Shaking hands—a practice that dates back hundreds of years—may have died a quick death in 2019.
And what about our customers? Will they go back to normal? Will grocery store remodels, new store construction, and engineering and energy optimization projects pick back up without missing a beat? I think the answer is “no”—not at first. Recovery will move slowly. I anticipate the country will ease into an economic restart that will take upwards of a year to return to a “new normal.” Even so, face coverings in public may become mandatory. Let’s hope there isn’t a rebound of this virus or arrival of a new strain during the next flu season. Any recurrence would set us back tremendously.
Despite the situation we’re in now, America—and the world—will survive this. We will once again bask in the sun at the beach, laugh in a crowded theater, stroll a busy shopping mall on Black Friday. Our world changed dramatically 30 days ago, but we will find our way back, just as our forefathers have done every time the world has faced a crisis.
My sincere and heartfelt gratitude goes to all of you who are working to care for our customers and to keep your family safe and healthy. Keep the faith—and remember: Together, we are CoolSys strong!