Insight | People

What the COVID-19 pandemic taught me

by Mauricio Bustos, Sr. Director of Client Experience

There’s no doubt we all were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the few silver linings the global pandemic offered was that we all were in it together. We all encountered shutdowns and shortages, new mask requirements, and I know I wasn’t alone in the search for hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and the crown jewel – toilet paper. 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced us all to slow down, adapt, and – I hope – appreciate life as it was before. The pandemic also reminded me of a couple of important business and life lessons. 

Stay connected.

Before the pandemic, many of us took our daily rituals for granted like shaking hands or hugging, catching up with friends over coffee, sharing lunch with colleagues, or taking our children to the park. In a world where we’re advised to keep our distance, I learned just how important it is to stay in touch. At home, no longer could we host dinner or game nights. At work, I couldn’t stroll into someone’s office for water cooler talk. In a COVID-19 world, our interactions required more intention and effort. At home, that meant scheduling FaceTime or Zoom dates with friends and family. At work, we had to make a more deliberate effort to stay connected with our employees and clients. Not only did we have to stay in close communication regarding the rapid changes on our jobsites, but we also had to stay in contact about the quickly shifting needs of our clients and re-align ourselves to meet them. 

We also used this as an opportunity to implement a new Client Relationship Management system – a tool that will help us stay connected with our clients and partners on an ongoing basis. 

Stay relevant.

This was a lesson learned some time ago, but pandemic offered a glaring reminder of the importance of remaining relevant. PWI Construction started as a local home builder over 35 years ago. Over that time, we continually diversified to meet the changing needs of our clients and market conditions. 

Staying relevant during the turbulence brought on by the pandemic was imperative. We were forced to examine our services, processes, and delivery methods to determine if, and how, we're remaining relevant to our clients, their needs, and current market conditions. It forced us to look for new, innovative ways to conduct business. Any smart businessperson will tell you that to be successful you must be able to adapt. 

To remain relevant, we must offer value to our employees, clients, and partners where they are today, not yesterday. We also need to watch out for new opportunities. During the pandemic, we looked for opportunities to provide the same level of service and quality under new conditions. We improved workflows by enhancing and integrating our project management systems. We also were quick to respond to the new design needs brought on by the pandemic. 


The people around us have the biggest impact on our lives. In a time where physical distance is promoted, I couldn’t feel closer to our team, clients, friends, and family.