Thank you everyone for your patience as we work through the implications for our people, our customers and our business to COVID-19.
Below are some frequently asked questions and their answers. We will issue a new set as the need arises. If you have questions that are not currently addressed, please speak to your Manager or your local People & Culture Business Partner.
Q. Where should I be working from now?
A. If you are in the UK we ask that you work from home effective end of Tuesday 17 March. We will be closing the office at that point based on UK government advice. Please don’t go into the UK office from Wednesday 18th March onwards.
For other locations we recommend that you work from home effective this week. You are still welcome to work in one of our offices, as they will all remain open at this time, but please contact the senior manager in that office to let them know if you plan to be in each day, so that we can manage numbers and still practice social distancing.
While all of our office locations, other than the UK, remain open at the current time this may change. We will review the situation daily based on advice in each region. Any local changes/updates will be provided for your region by your General Manager.
Q. Now that we are working from home what do I need to consider?
If you are not normally a full time remote/home worker, please do the following:
- Talk to your Manager this week to agree a work plan, an individual contact schedule and discuss any issues that impact how you will work.
- Ensure you have the appropriate technology in place and can access the core systems you need to get the job done.
- Consider what equipment you will need to be able to work effectively and safely at home. If you need a monitor, adjustable office chair or other hardware please discuss this with your manager as we can relocate some of the office equipment in the short term.
- Please ensure your home office area is safe and ergonomically sound. Please refer to the guidelines on our intranet.
- We recommend that every team have a 15 minute ‘stand-up’ meeting by Zoom every morning and/or afternoon, depending on the team type, to keep in touch and for workflow purposes. Managers will work out logistics in the coming days.
- If you don’t have a company paid internet plan (because you are not normally a remote or on-call worker) and you experience additional costs over and above your normal home data plan usage, please talk to your Manager about reclaiming the additional expense.
- If you have a company paid phone please hotspot to your phone in the first instance to use the data on your work mobile plan, to supplement your home internet plan.
It is vitally important that we continue to provide our usual high level of service and responsiveness to our customers, and to continue our strategic projects, for the longer-term health of our business.
Many of our customers are small to medium sized enterprises who will be experiencing business disruption, worry and distress. We are committed to providing them with ongoing access, support and free training during this challenging period.
Q. Schools in my area have closed already or plan to close. How do I manage that?
A. It is inevitable that school closures will occur in various locations at different times over the coming days/months, and they have already commened in some locations. We recognise that for those of you with school aged children this means that you will need to juggle work and family commtiments throughout the day. You do not need to take paid or unpaid time off to manage this. We trust that you will continue to work and deliver for our customers, but just in a different way over the course of the day/evening. If however you find you are completely unable to work, because of family care commitments, then please talk to your Manager and local People & Culture Business Partner about accessing other options.
Q. Can I still undertake international or domestic flights for work purposes?
A. No. To ensure everyone stays safe and healthy and to avoid difficulties with returning to home locations all international and domestic travel where the travel date is during the next four weeks needs to cease at this time. We will work on a rolling four-week basis for now so at the start of each week please check on the upcoming four weeks, and review current advice from us, before you cancel.
If you have bookings that need to be cancelled please take responsibility for contacting the travel providers (airlines, car hire, hotels) and negotiating wherever possible to move the travel to another date (6-12 months away) or seek a credit. Where this is not possible, we recognise that we may experience some financial loss. Your help in minimising that is appreciated.
Q. Can I still travel to customer/supplier meetings or other offices if I am driving?
A. No. To minimise social contact and assist with global efforts to manage COVID-19 we ask that you cancel all face to face customer, supplier or internal meetings and to meet instead via Zoom or telephone.
At this time rather than increasing e-mail, please step up your level of telephone and Zoom contact in general so that our customers experience a warm and personal touch in our support of them, and so that your colleagues feel connected. Working from home can be isolating so we will all benefit from seeing a friendly face several times a day or hearing another person’s voice.
Q. I was due to attend a conference/training program soon – can I still go?
A. You will probably find that most large conferences and many training programs have already or are about to be cancelled. In most cases they will either postpone the event to a later date or they will offer you a refund. Please take advantage of that to help manage our costs.
Q. If I have to work from home will I still be paid as normal?
Q. If I have recently returned home from overseas and need to self-isolate for 14 days, but am not sick, will I still be paid?
A. Absolutely. If you are not sick, then you can of course continue work at home as normal during the self-isolation period. We ask everyone who has upcoming family trips/holidays planned to seriously reconsider personal overseas travel for your own health and that of your colleagues and local community.
Q. If I am notified that I have had casual or close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 what do I need to do?
A. Please do not come in to the office. Call your Manager or your local People and Culture Business Partner and let them know the details, as soon as you are made aware by health authorities. Even if you are not asked to self-isolate, we ask that you remain at home and not attend any office locations until such time as the casual or close contacts involved have received their test results,a nd you have spoken to your manager about the all clear. If all is clear you can of course attend an office again. Please review the information below.
Q. If I become sick with COVID-19, or I cannot work because I am caring for a family member with COVID-19 will I still be paid?
A. Obviously we hope that everyone and their families remain well during this unprecedented situation but in the event of this occurring we will work with you individually and will do everything we can to support you. As a baseline everyone has some carers leave and some personal paid time off plans which can be accessed.
Q. I have some recruitment going on for my team at present. Can I continue with it?
A. As a precaution to help us to manage our finances during the next 6-12 months all recruitment is on hold effective immediately. It makes sense to delay recruitment for now. The Board may make one or two exceptions if a role is considered to be essential in terms of contributing to significant savings.
Q. If I am sick or experiencing symptoms which I am unsure about who should I call?
A. Please call the relevant health line or contact the relevant body in your region:
|Australia||1800 020 080|
|New Zealand||0800 358 5453|
Q. Can I continue to spend my approved budget?
A. We are currently re-forecasting our expenditure for the next 6-12 months and may want to reduce our spending. General Managers and Finance will look for ways to reduce expenditure in the short term, to be prudent. We will continue to develop our FY21 plans and budgets and are committed to our longer-term growth strategy. Things will happen as planned but timings may need to be adjusted to accommodate the emerging situation over the next 6-12 months.
Q. Should we still attend Lunch and Learn sessions in the office?
A. For now, locations are asked to conduct Lunch and Learn sessions by Zoom, just to reduce the number of people in the office at any one time and to minimise social contact in groups.
Q. Will our service providers be able to maintain the level of services we need to run our business?
A. Most service providers have excellent contingency and risk management plans in place to ensure continuous operations in the face of global disruptions. Many have already triggered these plans and are working through various scenarios with their customers. Our providers are no different. We are working closely with them currently to ensure our needs and those of our customers continue to be met.
Q. What can I do to help during this difficult time?
A. Keep calm, listen to reliable and valid sources of news/advice and if in doubt ask questions of your Manager or People & Culture. The other things we can all do are:
- Continue with regular hand washing and safe hygiene practices
- If you or a family member experience flu-like symptoms , as with any other virus, please seek appropriate medical care and stay/work at home until you have recovered.
Please practice everyday prevention measures like frequent hand washing and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or into your elbow.
- Avoid handshakes/kissing when greeting others – try the toe tap or elbow nudge!
- Practise social distancing
- Avoid hoarding/panic buying – don’t be selfish! Think of others in your community
- Help and support our customers as much as we can
Q. I am feeling anxious and stressed. Who can I turn to for help?
A. It’s normal for people to feel more anxious at a time like this. These are challenging and unprecedented times. Talk to your loved ones, colleagues, friends and your Manager for assistance, and provide support for each other. If the situation starts to impact your mental health, or exacerbates an existing condition please seek help early.
For practical help and access to counselling services contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in your region. They can provide you with confidential counselling services and health resources.
There are also many great self-help and on-line resources in each region (some links below).