July 14, 2021
Since the beginning of the pandemic, our focus has been on your safety and the safety of our customers and communities. If your job requires you to report to a work location, you quickly adjusted to new and sometimes challenging safety protocols – masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning and more. I’m glad that we are able to ease some of those restrictions for vaccinated employees. If you’re a remote-enabled employee, you very quickly adapted to working from home, making use of technology resources and your own diligence and ingenuity to stay connected, focused and productive.
In March, we promised to provide you with an update on Responsible Re-entry in mid-July. That time has come, and I’m happy to let you know that the results on all our health and safety criteria -- from the number of cases in our territories and company to the availability of intensive care beds -- support our decision to begin Phase 1, returning a limited number of remote-enabled employees to the office beginning Sept. 7. Phases 2 and 3 will begin a minimum eight weeks after the previous phase, with an assessment at the four-week point between each phase. We’ll provide more details as we get closer, ensuring employees in those phases have enough advance notice.
This phased approach ensures that we can bring some remote-enabled employees back to our facilities, assess our ability to continue to keep all employees safe and then move to the next phase. Leaders continue to have the discretion to require remote-enabled employees to work onsite at any time, based on business needs.
We also know that some employees may want or need to return earlier than their assigned phase, so we’re offering the ability to “opt-in” to an earlier return with your manager’s approval. Eligibility to opt-in is not dependent on vaccination status. However, only employees who are approved for an It’s Time sticker will be exempt from mask and social distancing requirements.
Over the last 15 months, we’ve learned a lot about how to make remote working effective. That’s why we’re able to approach re-entry for remote-enabled employees with a focus on hybrid work, instead of the traditional every-day-in-the- office mindset. Workplace of the Future, which we launched several weeks ago, spells out how and when we can support more work location flexibility for remote-enabled employees. Of course, for every employee, operational needs and providing our customers with the best possible service will always dictate where you need to work and when.
I’m glad we’ve reached the point when we can begin Responsible Re-entry. However, it’s critical to remember that the pandemic isn’t entirely over, and we don’t want to go backwards. If you’re able to get vaccinated and haven’t yet, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible and report your vaccination status to OHS so that you can stop wearing masks and social distancing at work. Whether you are vaccinated or not, please continue to take precautions in crowded areas, especially public transportation and large gatherings.
Thank you for everything you’ve done to keep yourselves, your families, your colleagues and our customers safe. As we approach re-entry, let’s continue to power through, together.