Construction Cost & Project Management

Making the most of your commute


August 3, 2018

(Blog post by Poole Dick ambassador Andrew Thorp)

If, like my Poole Dick colleague James Carnes, you do a few business miles you’ll be familiar with the frustrations of road travel in the UK. James was telling me the other day that he’s recently opted for a longer route to work which avoids the worst of the traffic. It takes more time but it’s less stressful and goes through some beautiful scenery.

For James this was a reminder that fast and furious is not always best, a useful metaphor for the work of a QS. There’s always a pressure to find the quickest, cheapest solution to something but that rarely results in lasting quality and value. In fact, it’s indicative of a race-to-the-bottom approach which bedevils the UK construction industry. That’s not the Poole Dick Way; we want to be the supplier of choice because people trust us to do a great job, provide value for money and enjoy the experience of working with us.

But what else can we learn from James’s decision? Is he displaying an emotionally intelligent approach to commuting?

Tortoise and Hare
One of Aesop’s Fables, this has several interpretations but commonly it’s about the importance of making steady progress rather than charging ahead like a fool. It’s funny when you see the agitated driver weaving in and out of traffic in an attempt to get ahead, only to pull up alongside him an hour later!

Focus on the things you can control
You can’t make the traffic go faster so why get all aeriated about it? Focus more on the things you can command, like your response to the situation. Listen to the radio. Call ahead to tell the client about the likely delay; don’t risk making it on time and then turning up late. They may be delayed too!

Listen and learn
There’s pleasure to be had from listening to music but try ‘talking radio’ for a change or listening to some interviews or podcasts – great for inspiration or industry ‘intel’.

See the world in a new way
Trying a new route is an example of breaking a habit and seeing things from a fresh perspective.

A networking opportunity
I remember being stuck in a major traffic jam on the M6. I wound down the window, got chatting to the guy in the middle lane and ended up exchanging cards!

As a final thought, check out a 2013 movie called Locke – Tom Hardy plays as a construction manager who spends the entire film on his car phone juggling multiple issues – everything from a concrete pour to the impending birth of his lover’s child. Just in case you thought YOUR life was complicated


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