Kansas City business owner braces for COVID to continue to disrupt work: “This is no joke” | KCUR 89.3
As the United States wraps up its second calendar year of the COVID-19 pandemic, KCUR wanted to hear from members of the greater Kansas City community talk about their experiences and thoughts.
Fahteema Parrish is the owner of Kansas City-based Parrish & Sons Construction and is one of the few black women in the industry. Continuing to do business during the pandemic has meant constantly adjusting security protocols and dealing with what Parrish calls “fear of the unknown.”
Prior to the pandemic, Parrish says, his business experienced “little or no downtime due to illness.” Now, she says, when an employee falls with COVID-19, it will have a ripple effect of quarantines throughout her team, causing delays in projects.
“It’s been quite common,” Parrish told KCUR’s Nomin Ujiyediin. “Every two months, at least twice a quarter. So we’ve had a good streak of our guys that have been affected, including myself. So it’s no joke.”
How daily life at work changed during the pandemic
So, what has changed is that our safety action plan would consist of doing temperature checks. I bought the infrared thermometers and we had to go through an extra hygienic step of cleaning our machine. So once the operator has removed himself from that machine, “Hey, here’s a box of Lysol, here’s a box of Clorox wipes.” So when you’re done with that piece of gear for the day, we spray it, we wipe it down.
But first of all, before our employees start working for the day, “Hey, did you have a fever? Have you had any of the following symptoms? And so we go through this list with them, and we hope they answer it, you know, honestly, because, if you don’t answer honestly, you put the whole crew in danger.
What happens when an employee contracts COVID-19
This caused a slowdown for us and our deliverables on several projects. Thank goodness we had understanding clients that allowed us to have this two weeks or 14 days or 10 day period where we didn’t have the whole team in place because some people were exposed and had to stay home and self-quarantine.
So we really had to rely on relationships with our business partners to say, “Hey, our guys are down. We had one person contract it and then it spread to another. And so this communication was sent to our customers. They were understanding, we were able to revise the schedules and we were able to pick up the pace once everyone was back in good health.
On what she learned from the last year
You have to be extremely transparent and communicate too much. As soon as you are touched by something, whether you think it’s big or small, you need to reach out and communicate it to your business partner or customer, just to make sure we’re all on the same page. wave and we’re aware of, you know, the rising costs or the impact of labor. How do we come together and work on an action plan, corrective action plan, or safe action plan that will get us, you know, to move forward in the midst of so much unknown?