More than 26 million Americans already worked from home at least part of the time, according to 2018 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sources expect this burgeoning trend to gain even more traction in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic forcing as much of the workforce as is possible to work from home. Fenestration companies are following suit.
PGT Innovations is employing more technology in the office areas to allow for enhanced and more secure work-at-home options. “We were doing that prior to COVID-19 in areas such as IT and customer care but, with the recent challenges, we have employed much more technology in that area,” says Bob Keller, president of PGT Innovations southwest business unit. Working at home, he adds, is something that may become more permanent as employees become used to it and it becomes more accepted.
About 95 percent of Veka’s office staff are working from home to minimize traffic on its campus and the risk of exposure for the office staff. Although some staff has worked from home occasionally, it’s never been to this extent. “That’s a pressure test,” says Joe Peilert, president and CEO. “But we haven’t missed a beat communicating with our customers and with each other. I think one of the legacies of the coronavirus is that there will be a much greater acceptability and utilization of work from home.”
Soft Tech leadership implemented precautionary measures early in response to COVID-19, including asking staff to work from home. "As a technology company, we are in the fortunate position of being able to easily transition to remote working without impacting our day to day operations," co-CEOs Tyron Ball and Rowan Hick wrote in a statement. "In fact, it is a practice we have exercised for some time already in order to support our staff when needed."
Several industry companies are also trailblazing how to continue sales in this virtual environment. Pella Corp., for example, introduced free virtual appointments for homeowners. Nicolle Picray, public relations and brand communications manager, says Pella experienced double-digit increases in the percentage of appointments in the past few weeks as people continue to shelter in place and want to explore home improvement projects.
Infinity from Marvin partners also offer virtual appointments. Conducted over Zoom or Skype, the dealer guides the homeowner in capturing rough measurements and discussing replacement options. Product demonstrations are conducted through sharing PDFs, video and using Infinity’s online visualizers, explains Kate Lutes, marketing communications manager for Infinity. “We are seeing an increase in requests for virtual appointments across our dealer network,” she says.