As the world continues to change, so have we. Founded in 1956, we have proactively evolved over our 65-year history. As a firm, we continue to draw on our innovative approach for each project – which may involve nonstandard materials, environmental impacts, sustainability, or simply better use of existing technologies and resources.
Innovation and a collaborative effort have always allowed us to find better ideas – resulting in creative change for both our clients and for our employees. Long before Covid-19 became a reality, we learned the benefits of having employees work remotely. Starting back in 2016 in our Midland office, we found that remote employees allowed us to retain individuals we might have otherwise lost to relocation.
As the pandemic took hold in March of 2020, we took what we learned over those past five years and put it into action – deploying our entire staff of 200 to work remotely from home – 100%. “About a month in working remotely – all of Dunaway became very familiar with Microsoft Teams. From then on, the “a-hah moments” kept rolling in,” Dunaway’s Chief Executive Officer, Chris Wilde, PE recalls. “What we realized almost immediately is how much time we got back.”
Processes quickly became streamlined and even more efficient than before, resulting in increased focus and a huge peak in productivity for many. Throughout this period of extreme isolation, it appeared that we had gained a new sense of cohesion. As Wilde notes, “what we found through Teams meetings is that they brought our different office locations together; the camaraderie of teamwork was evident.”
However, there were still some disadvantages to working remotely. “We missed each other. At the end of the day, there is still something about sitting across a table vs. across a computer screen – there’s an energy you lose that you can’t quite replicate,” Wilde explains. As Spring turned into Fall, everyone’s different home lives came into play as well. As Dunaway’s HR Executive and Associate, Nova Albers recalls, “it was a mixed-bag — those without the distraction at home were still thriving but those who were distracted – it started to wear on them. There was the realization that this way of living was becoming permanent and not temporary. So, there was this adjustment to “what is my new norm?”
During this time, we reexamined what we had – from software to office space. “We decided to equip employees with the necessary tools for hybrid work and the option to work comfortably either in the office or at home,” Albers explains. As a result, in 2021, Dunaway rolled out our “Flexible Work Schedule” – a unique plan that allows all Dunaway employees from different roles, tenure, and locations to have complete ownership over their work schedule.
You may have heard us mention the “Dunaway difference.” Our flexible work schedule exemplifies exactly that – a schedule that isn’t based on hours, or a specific day – a truly flexible policy that allows for interpretations by each team member. As Wilde explains, “we say it a lot… but our team is #1. We want to create an environment where people have a choice – where they can work their schedule around their life instead of working their life around their work schedule.” We’ve already begun to see the positive impact this flexibility has had on our staff – ranging from commuters who now have a decreased drive time to parents who now have more time with their children.
During 2020 and beyond, we’ve learned that when it comes to our employee culture – our ‘one heart’ mindset transcends space and time – even while working flexible schedules, the heartbeat of Dunaway can still be heard and felt from far away. If you’d like to experience the Dunaway Difference for yourself, we encourage you to check out our current career opportunities.