The superyacht industry has always been a business for people. It sets itself apart from other industries in how its meetings and gatherings usually take place in-person. Face-to-face agreements on plans, designs, samples and materials have so far been the order of the day, especially when it comes to working with interior outfitters such as List General Contractor (List GC). The outbreak of the global Covid-19 pandemic has turned these well-established methods upside down. But the crisis caused something to happen that no one was expecting: surprisingly, we discovered a lot of positives in the midst of it all, which can change the way we work in the long term. New structures and procedures were established, processes questioned and ideas pushed forward.

Recently, we’ve had to deal with strict safety measures within companies, the majority of the team working from home, limited supplier contacts and a lack of personal coordination. How can we return to normal under these circumstances and what will this normality look like? When we want to deal with new situations quickly and effectively, it is tempting to instinctively rely on experience and follow familiar patterns. But this could also be the perfect time to try something new, right? List GC has put a lot of thought into these questions during the last few weeks.

In this article, we take a close look at the positive experiences and lessons learned during the time of Covid-19 with the aim of subsequently integrating them into the daily working routine and driving the company forward in the long term.

The same space – only virtual
Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, video conferencing was something quite foreign to List GC. Many of us were used to sitting together in the same room to have conversations, receiving immediate feedback from the gestures and facial expressions of the other person and communicating intuitively even in larger groups.

For one, our employees have now learned how to better use new digital technologies such as video conferencing and virtual collaboration tools. This also meant that the basic rules of conversation came back into focus – active listening, letting the other person speak, being more present and attentive in the conversation. Meetings now focus more on the essentials, are more efficient and are shorter.
The yachting business is international and distance often plays a role. Now site managers can also take part in meetings or approvals in our production facility for example, and are able to virtually guide the project team through the ship on site.

Relationships are good, partnerships are better
The current situation has once again shown how important it is to have a strong network of loyal suppliers. And, most importantly, what role local producers play in this. As an internationally active company, we source a lot from the global market, but regional acquisition has always been one of List GC’s fundamental philosophies. It’s been a strategy that we’re reaping the benefits of now. This is due to the fact that local suppliers can be reached at short notice, costs for logistics and support are lower and, despite closed borders, approvals in times of crisis are partially possible. Where feasible, we will continue to work with high-quality local suppliers in the future.

Using resources more efficiently and sustainably
While working from home, many employees have largely done without paper printouts and copies. We want to keep this going at List GC not only because it reduces costs but it also reduces the impact on the environment. Plans are also reviewed in web meetings in this way, including through the use of digital meeting notes, so that appointments are documented even better and available to all team members right away. Whether at home, on-site, at the customer’s premises or in the office, the workplace no longer has strict borders. Allowing our employees to work from home could become permanent and something we can integrate into the working world of List GC. This shouldn’t be considered a replacement for working in an office, but a complement within the scope of possibilities that can also improve the work/life balance of the workforce.

Rethinking working practices and processes
For working from home, many processes had to be rethought and adapted to the new conditions. List GC has found ways to make workflows easier and more efficient. Employees have optimised their everyday work and have better structured and planned any tasks that come up. Tasks in the office such as plotting plans, incoming goods inspection or work in production were carried out in a bundled manner. The contactless transfer of tasks in production has improved employees’ communication with each other. Coordination and communication is clearer and more objective, with a focus on the essentials.

Keeping our distance, while remaining closer together
So much has been turned upside down by the Covid-19 pandemic, but there have also been some positives that have come out of the current developments. The crisis has meant that List GC employees have grown closer together as a team and the relationship with business partners and suppliers has been strengthened. Remoteness play a less important role and, for example, short-term consultation and coordination with customers is simpler in spite of great geographical distance.
Now the time has come to look ahead together and do what List GC has been doing for seven decades: courageously pushing beyond personal boundaries and seeing change as an opportunity.