As some companies start to figure out what bringing people back to work will look like, here’s a real-life example of an organization that’s doing it well. This is an email sent out this week by Stan Soderstrom, the executive director of Kiwanis International and the Kiwanis Children’s Fund, an international nonprofit focused on helping children around the world, with about 115 employees. “We have been working from home since mid March,” their COO, Ann Updegraff Spleth, told me. “We are in a hiring and promotion freeze and have had a modest across the board salary cut. No layoffs. Our governor has announced return to work for offices as possible on May 18 with social distancing and protective measures.”
Here’s the email they sent to all staff, which I’m sharing here as an example for others.
Happy Star Wars Day! I am celebrating it much as I plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo tomorrow. At home, working from home, not going out, being safe. Sound familiar?
Now that we’ve heard from the state governor, we can firm up what our office operations will begin to look like in the weeks and months ahead.
This week (May 4-8), the Building Services team is working on making some of the changes to our workspace to make our building safer for when it is occupied by any of our staff team members.
Next week (May 11-15), we will allow a few selected staff to occupy their workspace to test the various updates.
Beginning May 18, which is the earliest date the governor and the mayor have set for workplace reopening, we will allow another small number of our staff to reenter the building for work, whether it is every day or just some days each week. This will require advance approval by your work supervisor and the Director of Operations. We’d like to ensure we know who is planning to work in the building, and who may need IT or other support.
We will offer this for those who either 1) have a work assignment that requires their presence in the building, or 2) believe they are more productive in the office or they do not have an advantageous work arrangement at home.
For the foreseeable future, working from home will remain our primary work arrangement. We will not accept outside visitors into our office. All deliveries will be required to be made via the loading dock.
The Building Services team will share a more detailed list of new protocols and resources for those working in the building in the days ahead.
We must acknowledge there are so many things we still don’t know regarding the pandemic, and we continue to see speculation and conflicting projections regarding testing, diagnosis, treatments, vaccines, and reopening of the economy…
Here’s what we do know.
We know that 90% of the COVID-19 casualties were patients who had an underlying health condition. This doesn’t mean that someone with one of these underlying conditions is going to contract the virus. It does mean that someone in one of those groups is more susceptible. By working smartly, we can reduce our risk. If this is you or a member of your family, we want you to work from home.
We know that many of our staff team are parents of children who aren’t in school and may not have any organized summer activities or childcare. If this is you, we want you to work from home.
We know that we can meet via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting, and Skype, and be very effective in this manner. If you are comfortable continuing in your work from home assignment, we want you to work from home.
We will review all of this later in June or July.
At the May 6 employee meeting, I’ll share how we see some various scenarios for the months ahead.
As always, thank you for being so patient and cooperative during these tough times. May the fourth be with you!
here’s a real-life email from an employer that’s managing its re-opening well was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.