SSOE’s vision is to Design and Build the Future for our Clients, Colleagues, and Communities. Today we are faced with implementing that vision in a way we couldn’t have anticipated when it was developed. Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Our first concern is the health of our employees but our actions must extend beyond our business. We must also be a leader in protecting our communities and #flatteningthecurve. Our goal is to do our part in the global community to prevent the spread of the virus, while still providing our clients with the best service we can under the circumstances. Each one of us must do our part.
In order to ensure an appropriate and timely response to a quickly evolving situation, SSOE has established a cross-functional Coronavirus response team who is carefully following CDC, WHO, and ISOS (our travel security consultant) guidelines.
While the specifics of our response evolve daily, we want to assure our clients and communities that SSOE is aggressively monitoring the situation and has plans covering the following areas:
- Project Continuity. SSOE does not anticipate disruption to project schedules unless directed by our clients. Employees have been briefed on how to prepare to work from home should the need arise unexpectedly. We are also actively testing our systems to optimize connectivity should a large number of employees be required to work from home.
- Travel and Offsite Meetings. We have enacted a policy that requires manager approval for all business travel (both air and ground), and SSOE employees have been asked to cancel their attendance at large business-related events or conferences. We have also provided guidelines for personal travel which includes self-quarantine / work-from-home requirements upon return in specific cases.
- SSOE Employees on Client Sites. SSOE employees currently working at a client’s site will follow the guidelines set forth by that client.
- Outside Meetings. We are encouraging employees to request meetings with non-SSOE employees be conducted virtually while accommodating specific incidents where this is not possible. Clients will be communicated with prior to cancelling any travel or meetings.
- Visitors to SSOE Offices. We’re asking all visitors to SSOE’s offices to answer questions regarding if they have been in contact with the virus, have a fever, or have visited any countries currently deemed Level 3 by the CDC in the last two weeks.
- Training. SSOE has published required training for all employees on measures to help prevent spread of the illness as well as more in-depth manager training on how to fairly and legally respond to employees who may present with symptoms.
- Protocols. Using evolving CDC guidance, the core team is implementing protocols that ensure we are prepared for the following potential scenarios:
- Employee personal travel to impacted areas.
- Response if an SSOE employee tests positive, including required remediation within an office space.
- Response should an SSOE employee come into contact with someone who tests positive for the virus.
- Response should a specific geographic area where SSOE has an office become inundated with a large number of confirmed coronavirus cases.
- Potential Business Impact. The core team, in conjunction with executive management, is continuously reviewing, and preparing for, any potential business impacts.
- Reporting. SSOE reporting systems have been updated to allow Coronavirus-specific incident reports.
- Communication. Throughout this process, employee communication will be critical. All coronavirus communications have been consolidated to a dedicated Intranet page along with providing employees with a single-point-of-contact for questions.
Because of the changing nature of the situation, our response is evolving, so this communication is accurate as of the time issued. Our clients can be assured that SSOE is monitoring this situation daily as we keep our Vision in mind: designing and building the future for our clients, colleagues, and communities.