UPDATE #3: Coronavirus & U.S. & the Philippines, Work-at-Home (WAH)

10 minutes to read, posted on 03/16/2020, by VXI Marketing

Please see earlier updates for additional information.

MARCH 16, 2020

Client/Partners/Friends,

As an organization, VXI Global Solutions is deeply committed to transparent communications. We will regularly update you on our ongoing efforts to manage the risk of the Coronavirus threat.

VXI is focused on three priorities:

  • Employee Health. We are taking aggressive action to slow the virus spread. This includes deploying preventative and sanitary measures in our facilities, conducting daily health reviews for employees and providing significant education to our global workforce.
  • Business Continuity. We have developed action plans and infrastructure contingency plans to meet each client’s individual needs. We will continue to partner with you on this workstream.
  • Strategic Long-Term Support. We expect the Coronavirus to disrupt the business world for future months and potentially longer. As a result, we are rapidly exploring strategies to ensure employee health and business continuity. This includes customized work-at-home (WAH) solutions. See page 2.

To date, there are no known Coronavirus cases within the VXI Global Solutions workforce. However, we anticipate that may change in the weeks ahead. Our experience managing the Coronavirus situation in China, where we have extensive operations, provides us the benefit of quickly adapting our successful playbook for APAC and North American Operations. Together, we will get through this.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your VXI Client Services partner with questions.

Thank you,
David Zhou & Eva Wang, Co-Founders & Co-CEOs

U.S. / Nearshore Operations

Here are actions as of March 13, 2020.

Task-Force Communications

We have established a Global Task Force to coordinate efforts across operations to address the situation and our response. You can be assured we are coordinating best practices across our teams.

Business Continuity & Mitigation Planning

VXI will invoke our normal business continuity planning (BCP) process on a case-by-case basis.  We will pull all normal levers, such as OT, schedule changes, and movement of people as needed.

As company, we seek to be proactive and be prepared for unforeseen challenges. As a result, we have been developing formal mitigation plans with our clients that include:

Account Identification

  • The unique LOBs and locations that support each client
  • Mitigation strategy for each LOB/Site
  • VXI sites that can serve as backup to mitigate impact of any increased absenteeism and partial or full site closure:
    • Additional capacity to facilitate relocation of employees if they are not quarantined
    • Use of OT and/or schedule changes in backup locations
    • Understanding of requirements, such as routing, skilling, additional training
  • Supporting any stranded accounts that will require another vendor to mitigate
  • Communication Planning

Absenteeism is being monitored on an hourly basis. In the event of absenteeism increases, we will pull the normal staffing levers as needed (OT, schedule changes, etc.)

Onsite Actions

  • Prevention & Awareness: We continue to provide daily education to slow the virus spread among our workforce, their families and their communities. Our clinic teams are coordinating with local departments of health.
  • Onsite Health Screening: Starting March 13, 2020, all employees will be prescreened before entering our facilities. We have begun thermal screening in some situations.
  • Onsite Cleaning:
    • We have significant cleaning supplies in each site (2 months’ supply in most). Cleaning Vendors. We are assessing current vendors on their ability to perform deep cleanings and we will ensure that our sites are properly cleaned between shifts.
    • We perform daily cleaning of hard surfaces such as workstations, terminals, tables, door handles and more.
    • Recruiting Stations. We clean each interview station between each person using it.
  • Social Distancing: Agents are now spread out in our call centers to establish recommended social distancing.

Strategic Long-Term Support (WAH)

We are reviewing multiple contingency plans to ensure your business continuity, including the potential for a rapid deployment of a work-at-home (WAH) solution. This week we launched a feasibility study, and we will have results by next week. We are assessing:

  1. Employee ability to work from home
  2. Client ability to have a WAH solution
  3. Tool requirements (hardware, headsets, internet connectivity, etc.)
  4. Security requirements (VPN access, private/secure office settings, etc.)

More details on this initiative in our next update.

The Philippines Operations

The Philippine government has put in place travel restrictions for the NCR until April 14, 2020 (see more). Here are the actions we have taken to date:

Workforce & Recruiting Safety Protocols

  • Thermal scanning for all incoming applicants, trainees, and visitors
  • Provision of face masks for recruiters when stocks are available
  • Cessation of all job fairs outside of Metro Manila
  • Continual social media postings on proper handwashing hygiene
  • Frequent disinfection of office equipment (computers, headsets, and telephones)
  • Flexibility for an over the phone interview including operations validation, as needed

These actions are in addition to those we have already implemented:

  • Enforce telecommuting for those support individuals who cannot or should not report to work
  • Distribution of face masks in production area/sites
  • Intensified cleanliness and sanitation of facilities
  • Additional hand sanitizers in all main entrance lobbies and other locations within the site
  • Strict compliance on food safety by our concessionaires

 Update on Hiring in the Philippines

  • Temporarily lifting the 15-day submission timeline for recruitment
  • Waiving or delaying background screening requirements due to delays in the submission of government-mandated requirements
  • As much as possible, applicants will be required to wear surgical masks when they take the Berlitz test
  • Should the limit on travel to and from Metro Manila for non-residents be strictly enforced, we expect a drop in our hiring capacity across all sites. More on this as it develops.
    • To help address this, we will further strengthen our BAU sourcing strategies by increasing talent engagement in Social Media and reinforce our digital marketing, except provincial job fairs and caravans.
    • Additional focus will be given to our referral programs (applicant and employee) to compensate for the reduced share of applicants and hires of other talent sourcing channels.
  • To manage possible delays in the submission of drug test results, we’re exploring the temporary use of drug test swabs as a possible preliminary drug screening and continue with the usual drug testing done in clinics once the situation permits. *Note that, this is a worst-case scenario that we’ll implement, with proper approval.

Appendix:

How VXI Is Responding to COVID-19

Starting in early February, VXI developed a strict preventive measures action plan and communicated across the global VXI enterprise, including:

  • Regular communication to educate employees about coronavirus and how to prevent it
  • Social media and Intranet-based campaigns providing preventative information in clear and engaging info-graphic format
  • Distribution of face masks
  • Intensified cleanliness and sanitation of facilities
  • Additional hand sanitizers in all lobbies and throughout each site
  • Constant health advisories
  • Coordination with Department of Health (where available) for local updates
  • Strict compliance on food safety by our concessionaires, where applicable.
  • Suspension of all travel, except for special executive-level exemptions.

Our focus on education and prevention is a global, corporate priority.

FAQs

What approach is VXI taking for Contingency Planning?

VXI is in process of finalizing a work from home strategy where appropriate. This strategy is very program-, site-, and/or geography-specific, and we are working with local subject matter experts to understand how we could implement a work from home strategy within the constraints of each scenario. Collaboratively we will develop mobilization plans to address this unlikely scenario.

For services that cannot be performed remotely and require onsite presence, what is VXI’s backup or contingency location to continue to provide services?

We have had discussion with clients, and are working through BCP/DRP options to meet unique needs and business requirements. These options include from remote working, and shifting contact volume to alternative locations (outsourced or internal) and/or geographies.

Does VXI  see any global risk to services or availability of staff in certain places?

At this time VXI does not see any risk. As we actively monitor local situations, we continue to encourage our teams to remain vigilant on preventative measures, and strive to operate in a way that minimizes impact to our client’s customers. Where most significantly impacted, our mainland China operations are now back to 90% production.

Is VXI restricting travel for employees?

Yes, VXI has canceled all international travel and restricted all domestic travel to ‘essential only’ with approval from our C-Suite officers.

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

At VXI our passion is truly for our people and we have a clear protocol in place for our employees should there is a suspected case.  We have comminuted 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.

 How does VXI make sure that the precautionary measures are being followed/sustained?

In early January as the Coronavirus started to become more prevalent we immediately implemented our education and preventative measures program as outlined in the appendix below. 

We have posted reminders through our global facilities and have weekly communications going out to all staff.  In addition, our facilities leaders and staff with the support of our HR teams have increased their presence to reinforce our preventative measures. 

Does VXI supply/require the use of masks daily?

The company has provided masks to staff in specific geographies, however, our focus has and continues to be on education. As more information is made available, most official sources recommend against mask use in the general public, recognizing they can create a false sense of security.

We strive to ensure our employees who choose to wear masks are wearing them properly and remain diligent about all other aspects of hygiene that have proven much more effective (regular, proper handwashing and limiting contact). We will continue to monitor local situations and evaluate mask use, as needed.

Does VXI have thermal scanners in each site?

Our China-based operations are equipped with ear and forehead thermometers as mandated by the Chinese Government, however, these devices may not be available (or warranted) at every site. Our focus remains on education and preventative measures at this time. Should local situations warrant, VXI will examine the use of thermal scanners on a site-by-site basis.

Are there any changes to the VXI BCP and/or DRP, and any steps you are taking to minimize the risk of an outbreak?

VXI has formulated and launched emergency protocols and established an epidemic task team(s) immediately to minimize the potential risk. We actively contact vendors to promote the procurement of anti-epidemic materials to ensure daily business.

We’ve also made a great effort to manage the current health condition information and travel statistics of employees where appropriate. We are in the process of implementing contingency plans as mentioned, preparing for work from home service delivery where appropriate.

Does VXI have confirmed cases and deaths?

No, VXI has no confirmed cases or deaths at any of our locations globally.

Official Information and Impact Statements:

Extensive information is circulated about the Coronavirus, we recommend and leverage verified sources such as that from the World Health Organization (WHO).

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