“No Time To Be Less Than Our Best – There’s Always Somebody Watching Us & Our Work”

In the movie, “Ocean’s Eleven” (with George Clooney, not the original with Frank Sinatra) Julia Robert’s character walks out on her casino-owner boyfriend Terry Benedict by reminding him that “there’s always someone watching” – referring to the many surveillance cameras deployed throughout the property. This is also good to remember when we are doing aging in place renovations in someone’s home. 

There’s always someone watching us, the work we do, and the people we bring into the client’s homes because this is their home. They have home-field advantage. We are the visiting team. We are there by invitation. Sure they have contracted with us to provide an aging in place solution for them, and we have agreed to do it. Still, they are in control of the process in terms of allowing us access to their property and permitting us to remain there until the job is completed. Any violation of their trust could be reasons for them to cite a breach.

The client’s home is not some public space where we can come at will, do what we like, treat indifferently while we are there, and then leave without any impact. We have an obligation to the client and to our professional integrity to protect their property, maintain their dignity, and make sure the work we are doing is everything we promised – and perhaps even more. There should be no second guessing our performance by the client, their neighbors, relatives, or anyone else who inspects the work during the project or once it is completed.

We do aging in place renovations constantly and move from home-to-home to complete them. However, this may be the only time this particular client has any work done. Whether it is easy for them to find the money for us to help them or more difficult, we need to honor their commitment to the process and to wanting to help themselves remain in their homes. We owe them respect for their decision.

We know that they will be watching – or could be watching if we don’t actually see them – our every operation in their home. This applies not just to us but all of the team members we assemble and invite into their home with us as an extension of the invitation we have been accorded. The subcontractors and consultants we bring their home are only there because of us. Therefore, they will be watching their behavior, their conduct, and their output. Do they measure up to what was expected or to what we conveyed that they could rely upon?

When we wrap up for the day and go home, they will be watching and inspecting what we have done. Again, does the quality of our work meet with their approval, and is the condition of the job site (their kitchen or bathroom, for instance) as tidy as they think it should with the work being done there?

As they inspect our work and our methods, they are going to have questions about how and why something is or is not being done a certain way. This is to be expected, so we should welcome it and not treat it as an intrusion or something undesirable. We want them to be involved – but they will be whether we desire it or not.

In a sense, the client, to the extent they are present throughout the time we are there, and at night when we are gone, is the job foreman. We may think that we are, but the work has to meet with their approval for them to be happy and for us to receive positive recommendations for future work.

Someone is always watching – the client, their friends, the crews we are using, the local inspectors, people delivering materials, the neighbors, and anyone else who is interested in what is being done. We must conduct ourselves accordingly.

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