I’ll Trade You Hand Sanitizer for Toilet Paper:
Safe and Efficient Ways to Navigate COVID-19 Response

Graphic icons showing best practices for stopping the spread of corona virus - washing hands, coughing/sneexing into elbow, calling a doctor, social distancing, throwing away used tissue, quarantine, staying informed, no handshakes and avoid touching face.
on 24 March 2020
  • working safely
  • covid-19
  • tips

If I told you in 2019 instead of Bitcoin being the hottest worldwide currency in 2020 that toilet paper and hand sanitizer would be, would you have believed me? Many of us were excited to forge into the “Roaring 20’s”, but few believed that meant repeating a 1920’s-esque global pandemic and struggling stock market.

Our team here at Summit is working to stay one step ahead of the COVID-19 outbreak (also known as the Coronavirus ). The leadership of the company is supporting and embracing a remote working policy for our office staff and we remain committed to smart social distancing for our field staff. This challenge to our planet will force us to think and act differently to continue to deliver on our clients’ expectations. So far, the response of each employee has contributed to Summit remaining open for business. Operating in these uncharted waters may have you asking:

“What can I do to safely keep working efficiently?”

Our field-based staff function in a variety of diverse roles, serving many types of clients across multiple geographies. Field technicians, surveyors, construction managers, and many others make their hay in the fresh air and sunshine, so here are a few tips to ensure we all work safely and help stop the spread of the virus:

  • Employ a social distancing method of keeping six feet between you and the other team members on your work sites.
  • Graphic of two people standing 6 feet apart - social distancing

  • Make sure to wipe down and sanitize equipment that you and other team members are using during field work.
  • Graphic of two men with cleaning supplies in front of a construction scene

  • Sanitize your phone and your iPad! These devices can contain more bacteria than the bottom of your shoes!
  • A graphic showing a an and a women sanitizing their electronic devices

  • Find ways to connect with your clients using digital tools such as email, Zoom meeting, or phone calls. Communication during this period is vital!
  • A graphic showing a man working from his home and a woman working from her home in different spaces.

  • Practice active foraging and gathering for food on remote proj….wait, that is for the next blog.
  • A graphic of two people standing next to a table full of food.

For Summit team members who work in an office setting, our business relies heavily on a high degree of collaboration. Even though most of us are not sitting in an office next to our teammates, our collaboration must persist and be better than ever during this time. If you’re a first-timer or a veteran of the remote working strategy, here’s a few tricks to make the most of your work day:

  • Allocate a specific space in your home for your work station. Dining room tables, back porch tables, and upstairs office desks will work, but it must be consistent. You will create a repeatable workflow that allows you to work as you normally would.

  • Keep your normal schedule! Wake up, conduct your normal morning routine, and “report” to work as you normally would. This will allow you some measure of consistency in your workflow.

  • Offices are naturally social environments. Every two hours, take 15 minutes and do something non-work related. Walk the dog, pick some weeds, or unload the dishwasher. A mental break from what can be a monotonous work schedule can improve your output and focus.

  • Don’t rely entirely on email for communication during this team. Embrace software (such as Microsoft Teams) to keep in touch with your coworkers, organize meetings with Zoom, and make old-fashioned phone calls when appropriate.

  • Put in the hours you normally would in the office. It will become easy to work extra hours if the work is present and available. Maximize your off hours by spending time with family or on a hobby. Don’t get burned out.

  • HAVE PATIENCE WITH THOSE AROUND YOU. If you don’t live alone, this is likely a big change for those who share the space you are now occupying. Several Summit folks this week have heard the shrieks of excitement as we potty-train our youngest daughter, and that’s ok. We’re all in this together.

Thanks to our IT team, Summit is now monitoring all Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and cable TV accounts for our staff to make sure you are all still working (KIDDING! Just wanted to make sure you were still reading.) “Safe and efficient” remains our mantra. We want each of you to safely navigate this trying time for our world while still being able to create value for our clients and your Summit team members. If you need any support during this period, Summit’s IT and HR departments stand ready to help. We look forward to an already bright 2020 once COVID-19 becomes Coron-adios.


Patrick Cummings, PE Headshot

Patrick Cummings, PE
For almost twenty years, Patrick has developed and delivered both large commercial and industrial projects around the world. Project management is at the core of his DNA. Whether he is driving Summit to a new market, a new project or a new client, Patrick works hard to get everyone there successfully. When he’s not in the office, Patrick enjoys spending time with his family outdoors (or indoors recently), golfing, and volunteering with the Hillsborough Youth Athletic Association.