UPDATE #5: FAQs for Managing the Coronavirus (Updated)

7 minutes to read, posted on March 23, 2020, by VXI Marketing

Please see earlier updates for additional information.

March 23, 2020

VXI Global Solutions remains committed to our 3 core priorities during this unprecedented time: Employee Health, Business Continuity and Strategic Long-Term Support.

Below we have updated our VXI FAQs for Managing the Coronavirus. Please see our VXI blog for the latest updates.

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Is VXI staying open?

Yes, we remain operational at most sites as of Monday, March 23, 2020, PDT. We have 42 global locations, and we encourage workers to work remotely when possible. We are working with local governments at each site. As of today, our site in Youngstown, Ohio, will temporarily close today until April 6, 2020, and our site in Guatemala City, Guatemala, will also temporarily close with a reopen date that is being discussed. In both cases, we are moving agents to work-at-home (WAH) environments. We stress there are no known COVID-19 cases in either facility. We are supporting the local governments who are requesting community shutdowns.

We do anticipate additional sites may temporarily close to meet local requests. Therefore, we are rapidly developing WAH solutions for our agents. Our foremost priority remains your safety and well-being. Our second priority is business continuity that supports our clients and your work.

Why haven’t we closed operations yet, do we not value employee safety?

Our first priority is the safety of our employees. It always will be. You will not lose your job if you choose to stay home due to illness or safety concerns.  All sites have established the VXI 10-Point Safety Plan (see below) that follows CDC best practices. By remaining open, we are supporting our employees who depend on the income to take care of their families and to cover their expenses.

We also remain open because we are vital for the essential infrastructure needs of our communities. Our work with telecommunications companies ensures service deliverability of communications infrastructure. For example, our customer support powers a major food-delivery service that provides meals nationwide to people facing isolation; we process vouchers and food credits for low-income people so they can continue receiving benefits; we deliver customer support for major utilities that must remain operational.

If one of VXI’s sites identifies a confirmed case within the employee base, is there a closure requirement?

To date, we have no known positive COVID-19 cases in our global workforce. However, we expect that to change as the impact of the virus grows. We have a clear protocol in place for our employees should there be a suspected case. We have communicated to all our employees that we are here to support them and should there be any concern we will provide transportation to the closest medical facility for screening. Should there be a confirmed case we would work with the impacted clients/customers to mobilize an alternative BCP as best we can. Options include leveraging an alternative site or remote working, where possible.  In the event of a confirmed case, we would close the impacted site and self-quarantine staff for the timeframe recommended by the WHO, or according to local government-mandated protocols.

If we close operations will we be paid?

In North America (U.S. and Nearshore), you will not be paid if you are not working. Agents who work onsite and/or work remotely will be paid. In the Philippines, agents who do not go to work will have to use their PTO/CTO (leave credits). Once all the leave credits have been exhausted, the government extended some financial support amounting to Php 5,000 (~USD 97.7) to cover for the unpaid leaves.

What is VXI doing to ensure the safety of employees?

All sites have established the VXI 10-Point Safety Plan that follows CDC best practices.  This includes spacing agents a minimum of 6 feet apart, enforcing hand-washing, providing masks at most sites and significant cleaning. Where appropriate, we have added security personnel to enforce social distancing, hired additional cleaning crews, added hand sanitizer dispensers and enforced thermal scans at our entrances. Some sites have added portable wash stations outside our facilities. We ventilate spaces with open doors and windows as weather allows.

How is VXI leadership managing the situation?

We have multiple VXI Coronavirus Task Forces around the world that meet multiple times per day to communicate updates and plan next steps. We are in constant communications with local government leaders, medical personnel and other businesses as we plan our business continuity. From a financial standpoint, we are one of the strongest customer-care service organizations in the world. Rest assured we have the financial reserves to survive this unprecedented situation.

  • Philippines: All sites currently are operational with reduced workforces. Travel is restricted in the Philippines, so we have established nearby lodging for workers. We are testing work-at-home solutions and rapidly beginning to deploy them. The government has declared BPOs an Essential Service. This means we are able to stay open and operational.
  • North America (U.S., Jamaica, Guatemala): All sites currently remain operational. However, we anticipate many will face temporary closure as local governments execute “stay at home” orders. We believe we fit the definition of “Essential Services” and we are working with government leaders to ensure we remain open.
  • China: During the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, all our locations were closed for multiple weeks. During that time, we successfully migrated one-third of our workforce to remote work. As of now, nearly all our China facilities are open and operational again.

What are you planning for?

We are preparing for a worst-case scenario that requires all North American sites to temporarily close and for agents to work remotely. This is a fast-moving situation and it is better to be prepared than to be caught off-guard. It is critical to be proactive and focus on employee safety and business continuity.

Are there any positive tests at VXI facilities?

To date, there are no known cases of COVID-19 within VXI’s 35,000 global employees. However, we expect that the situation will change as more people are tested. We have prioritized creating a safe work environment for our employees.

I’ve heard VXI is an “Essential Service” – What does that mean?

An Essential Service is defined as a service required to maintain the safety and minimum order of daily life in a region. In North America, governments define it in different ways. We believe VXI delivers essential services because we manage the customer needs of critical services such as utilities and essential infrastructure. In the Philippines, BPOs have been explicitly declared Essential Services.

What is VXI’s Work-at-Home (WAH) strategy?

We are rapidly developing WAH solutions to ensure both employee safety and business continuity. This requires several logistical steps, including partnering with our clients to develop a solution and setting up the infrastructure to be successful. Our goal is to make WAH possible for any VXI agent who can support it.

What is the timeline for Work-at-Home (WAH) to start?

We began limited testing of WAH solutions the week of March 16, 2020. This takes time. Starting Monday, March 23, 2020, we will begin migrating to work-at-home environments across multiple different sites. We expect this process to take approximately 2 weeks.

I want to work remotely. What are the criteria for WAH?

Each individual client has specific criteria. See your VXI manager for specific details. In general, WAH will require the following:

  • Computer equipment (supplied by client/VXI or your own device)
  • Secure online environment
  • A headset (where applicable)
  • A private office setting
  • A clean desktop
  • Minimum internet connectivity speed

What kind of training will you do at home?

Our focus is on the logistics of migrating to WAH. For the next several weeks, we will not provide training. Longer-term, we anticipate developing remote training and instruction protocols.

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