Project delivery in a post-COVID-19 world


Having successfully undergone a major business transition in the last 12 months, Worley has weathered the storm in a rapidly changing environment, seamlessly delivering strategic and operational objectives through innovation, strength and determination to deliver.

Worley sees its ability to adapt as key to the company’s resilience, and a major driving force towards a transition into the realities of a post-COVID-19 world. The company is initiating a pioneering distributed workforce model, offering a more flexible working environment, and has moved more than 45 000 staff members from offices to safe working environments over the past three months.

To support this transition, Worley has formed an advisory group to ensure remote work can be accomplished with the same level of integration and security as if done within a company facility.

While there have been some challenges, the company’s determination to adjust and renew its workforce model is proving successful.

At a recent Macquarie Australia conference, Group Chief Executive Officer Chris Ashton says Worley now has the ideal platform from which to move to the next phase of transformation, as the business embraces the trend towards global connectivity and digitalisation.

Ashton believes that COVID-19 has prompted the opening of a “talent door” by emphasising how complex projects can be collaboratively delivered from any location across the globe.

“We’ve demonstrated that we can deliver projects in a virtual environment, as Worley’s technology systems allow engineers to access advanced 3D modelling systems from home and enable staff to collaborate from different locations to deliver projects virtually,” he says.

“The safety and wellbeing of ourselves and those around us is fundamental to life. And without this, nothing we do is worth doing,” says Ashton.

In line with this safety ethos, Worley’s COVID-19 preparations began on a global scale well before South Africa’s lockdown. Robert Hull, Vice President for Mining, Minerals & Metals in Africa says the business recognised the potential impact of the pandemic early, implementing structures towards a global response which were then applied at regional and local levels. 

Benefits of flexibility

Hull says the future of Worley business will include working differently, more efficiently and effectively, as well as working from home.

“While we are confronting a new world, we see many benefits in terms of flexibility and efficiency, as well as an opportunity to accelerate change.” 

He adds that as a global company, Worley is familiar with operating remotely and continues to offer the same services as before.

“In the mining, minerals and metals space, feasibility studies and design proposals have seen little decline in demand and we are operating at full capacity, while our construction teams not involved in essential services continue to work from home whilst waiting for lockdown restrictions to ease,” he says.

Shaun Mills, VP Project Management, Energy and Chemical Services, affirms that Worley has been able to seamlessly transition its services from the workspace to homes.

“We’ve already proven we can successfully deliver projects virtually. In the future this will enable us to fill skills gaps through remote global networking and collaboration free from locality restrictions,” he says.

Mills comments that virtual communication was implemented swiftly and Worley has received positive feedback from customers regarding the remote performance of their project teams.  

He adds that Worley has used the lockdown period constructively by increasing training and life skills of employees. Educational material and resources on mental health and wellbeing are freely available to all employees, and Worley celebrated World Safety Week under a ‘Live Life’ theme.

Focusing on working together while ensuring the safety of all, the week highlighted best practice systems, tools and programmes to encourage safety excellence at home and in the workplace.

Worley’s renewable energy projects have remained resilient throughout the COVID-19 crisis

Chris Ashton sees the business continuing to take a lead role in the global shift from traditional energy sources to renewables. “As we step into the new world, we will elevate our focus on transformative trends such as digitalisation and the energy transition, and ensure we apply our project delivery and technical expertise to enable our customers to meet the world’s changing energy needs in a safe, responsible and sustainable manner,” he says.

Worley has already delivered more than 60 000 energy projects, including the largest windfarm in Africa and biggest solar plant in South Africa.

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