When COVID-19 first began to spread like wildfire, no one knew how long it would rage, or whether or when it would burn itself out. Not since the flu pandemic of 1918 had a global health crisis touched so many – or so tested our resilience.
We began addressing the challenges of this new environment from the earliest days of the pandemic. We raced to make information technology upgrades that would enable our people to work seamlessly from any location. We rethought the fundamentals of safe and effective team collaboration, whether on Zoom, in the office or side by side with clients in the field. And we set board committees and task forces to work preparing for the future, adjusting our five-year plan, and reimagining operations and expectations for a post-pandemic world.
Through it all, we continued to innovate: we rolled out GoGuide™ to enhance safety and help reopen the places where people gather. We built Healthy Reentry, a health-monitoring and contact-tracing app, and made it freely available. And we are using computational fluid dynamics modeling to simulate airflow patterns and help make indoor environments safer to reoccupy. By pushing us apart, the pandemic also pulled our industry closer together. New collaborations emerged. Clients, colleagues and competitors – we all came together to help the communities that were in need of our combined abilities and expertise.
This demanding year drove us to look afresh at our purpose – we embrace challenges to make lasting contributions – to reexamine our firm and redouble our commitment to working toward a healthy, sustainable and equitable industry. The challenges of these times also sharpened our focus on the resilience work we do for our clients, our communities and our collective future.
Resilience, we believe, grows out of many kinds of innovation – in technology, in process and in sustaining relationships. And we see barriers to innovation coming down, such as those between disciplines, companies, and the private and public sectors. With the pandemic as a catalyst, our industry is stepping out of its comfort zone and embracing new opportunities.
Promising and exciting work is already underway. Together, we can accelerate the drive toward a more resilient world.
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