Planning for a return to the office
As we enter a new month – the third in a COVID-19 climate – we are starting to think ahead to how and when Seaspan employees can safely return to our offices to work. While great progress has been made to flatten the curve in BC, we are still far from returning to life or work as we knew it before COVID-19. In fact, the need to manage in a pandemic environment will persist even after the state of emergency is lifted. I expect that COVID-19 will continue to impact our business, including how, where and when we work for the short term, near term and long term.
These new realities require us to take a cautious and long-term approach to planning for an orderly reintegration of those employees currently working from home. We must also consider multiple factors beyond our control, including access to child care, transit services and other practical needs. While there are still many unknowns, and still many discussions to be had and decisions yet to be made, I wanted to share with you what we are doing now and what we know today.
- Employee safety remains our top priority. We will continue to take our cues from provincial and health authorities and to ensure all requirements are met. In line with that, we are taking the following actions:
- Industrial hygienists have been engaged to assess our office buildings with respect to the need for everyone to maintain physical distancing and to provide additional recommendations.
- For those employees working in the yards, a limited supply of non-surgical masks has been secured and will be made available in the shipyards for use on a voluntary basis. Usage and procedures will be evaluated simultaneously with efforts to secure ongoing supply for the long term.
- While we do not have a set timeline for employees currently working from home to return to the office, at this point, we can confirm that no one will be asked to do so before the long weekend in May at the earliest. We will continue to assess the situation weekly and update as needed, providing ample notice to employees.
- While we left our offices in a hurry, we will not return in a similar big-bang approach. We will take a phased approach that will see individual departments return to the office one at a time based on business needs. Department VPs will make the decision on who from their teams will return first.
To further inform our thinking and planning, we will be sending out a short survey to gain insight from employees currently working from home. Look for that next week and please take a few minutes to complete it when you receive it. Everyone’s individual circumstances are different, and we want to make sure we have as much insight as possible.
Until then, as always –
- If you are sick, please stay home.
- Wash your hands – often.
- Get some rest and exercise.
- Thank you for all your great efforts.
Chief Executive Officer, Seaspan Shipyards