Flow extends work from home until end of 2020

FLOW Jamaica is set to continue its work from home protocol for the rest of 2020, as many Jamaicans return to office following the expiration of Government’s work from home order on May 31.

Flow, in a release yesterday, said more than 70 per cent of its 1,200 plus workforce has been working from home since the Government issued orders for schools to be closed on March 13.

“The traditional or conventional way of looking at work has had to evolve all across the world as organisations, both large and small, deal with the new normal of existing with COVID-19. This pandemic has taught us to be even more agile and responsive as we safeguard the health and well-being of our team members while supporting their needs as well,” said Stephen Price, Flow’s country manager, in a recent digital town hall with employees.

Flow employees will be able to choose when they return to office and which days they will work, in consultation with their direct supervisor, said the release.

“We’re mindful of the concerns our team members have for their family, whether children, elderly parents or high-risk spouses or relatives. So even while we’re in the process of preparing to reopen our offices, our team members are being supported in their decision to continue working from home, said Flow’s people director Phadra Saunders. “Our exception is our high-risk employees – those over 60 years of age or anyone with an underlying medical condition that makes them particularly susceptible to COVID-19. These include respiratory conditions, those with immunocompromised systems, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, etc. Those employees are required continue working from home.”

The decision by the company’s leadership team was further informed by feedback from their team members who were polled on when they would be ready to return to the office and how many days they would choose to work from home. Some 45 per cent of the company’s team members indicated a timeline of September to return to work, with 32 per cent selecting January 2021. Those who opted to return when the offices reopen were given a maximum of two days in office.

“We’ve seen managers’ trust and confidence in their team members increase and, amazingly, we’ve also seen an increase in the productivity of our employees. Bold ideas are being pitched and innovative solutions are being implemented for our customers. We’re still very mindful of the need to keep team engagement going and have introduced various digital platforms for increased collaboration and interaction with our teams,” Saunders said.

“Work from home is now our model going forward, and we’ve been having various support sessions to help our team navigate this new normal of balancing work with supervising homeschooling etc. We’ve had digital counselling sessions, fitness and wellness sessions with certified experts, and even our annual church service was done digitally. The critical thing for us is leading with compassion as we consider the demands on our team members while working from home,” Price added.

The company said it has enhanced its sanitising stations across all its locations, reviewed cleaning protocols with its sanitisation and cleaning contractors, and stocked up on required personal protective items. The company is also leveraging technology to digitally manage physical shared spaces to ensure compliance with physical distancing and restricted capacity measures, training is underway for its safety teams, and several physical spaces are being adapted. In addition, the company said thermal devices will be used at all locations and its corporate office will be closed for one week day to allow for deep cleaning —in addition to the enhanced cleaning and sanitising activities throughout the week — as it prepares to have some team members back in office.

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