B&D Staff, Please see up-to-date information in the video below!
As we all continue to monitor the Coronavirus situation and gauge how it may affect each of us and our respective loved ones, we first want to stress that our top priority is always everybody’s health and well-being. So without reading any further, please make that your #1 takeaway from this e-mail.
Beyond that, we want to provide additional guidance on a range of related issues we are all now facing. The current situation is very fluid and rapidly evolving, and it is likely that the pace of change will only accelerate before calming. As a result, the comments we offered regarding the Coronavirus at Monday’s staff meeting, now, fall short of fully addressing today’s reality.
We know you are being inundated with Coronavirus messages from all sources, but we promised to keep you up to date on how B&D is managing the issue; therefore, below are some pertinent specifics. We understand this is lengthy, but we hope you’ll take the time to read the full message.
Overall, our policy is to continue focusing on the advancement of our clients’ priorities, within the parameters of responsible stewardship of public health.
- Office operations: All B&D offices remain open and will function as usual. We will continue to monitor directives from public health officials in each locale regarding when we should consider alternative work solutions. We encourage everyone to double down on the hygiene and social distancing precautions we sent earlier to reduce the risk of exposure (these are attached again for your reference). Our landlords and many of our client sites have increased building cleaning and sanitation to mitigate contamination risks.
- Employee travel: We must continue moving our clients’ interests forward (and correspondingly preserve our own business and professional interests) but we do not want to take unnecessary risks in doing so; therefore, we will manage business travel as follows:
- Client travel: We encourage project teams to focus with deliberateness on maintaining forward progress with client scopes of work while minimizing (as much as possible) on-site travel and direct physical interaction with clients, their stakeholders, colleagues, contractors and their subs. We encourage measures such as increasing the use of video and telephone conferencing, or opting for automobile travel rather than train or air travel, wherever possible. Project executives should evaluate with the client the extent to which person-to-person client contact may still be advisable or acceptable (e.g., 1-1 or small group meetings, no air travel, etc.). We will generally follow client directives, provided they do not expose our employees to untenable risks. Teams should consider re-sequencing or adjustment of project schedules and scopes of work to mitigate client-imposed disruptions.
- Conference / business development / functional travel: As with client travel, we want to maximize virtual engagements as much as possible. All conference activities and farming trips will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. We are likely to reduce our on-site attendance at conferences in the coming weeks. Employees should contact Doug Kotlove to assess the best way to manage our business development efforts.
- New employee orientation on March 25 and 26: We will conduct the orientation virtually; no out-of-town employee will travel to DC for the sessions. DC- or Baltimore-based employees can participate in person. HR will provide virtual attendance instructions in the near future.
Managers will respect the wishes of employees who prefer not to travel by air or train. Employees should discuss any specific concerns with their supervisor. No employee should feel any pressure (either implied or expressed) to travel by air or train.
Client updates: We will not do generic e-mail blasts to our clients. As we do with all our client engagements, we will tailor our messaging as appropriate to meet their needs. Project leaders should be in regular communication with their clients to determine how they need us to respond to specific needs.
Also, here are some important reminders:
- Contact your supervisor about any concerns you may have regarding the Coronavirus issue, especially if you believe you have been exposed.
- In the event you need to work virtually, remember to:
- Store all your work-related documents on Box.
- Utilize our remote working tools, including:
- Onjive personal conferences for audio-only conference calls.
- GoToMeeting conferencing for audio and video meetings.
- Desk phone forwarding to your smart phone.
- Ensure you have signed up for (or updated your information in) Remind (Remind.com), which is our emergency text messaging system. We use this tool to communicate with employees in the event our network goes down.
Finally, keep in mind that this situation is impacting global markets and local economies, as well as many of our clients. We are already getting word of many schools sending students home and turning to virtual learning environments (some all the way through the end of the spring semester). The fallout will affect us and require us to rethink business decisions at every level. We are fully confident that B&D will navigate through this event successfully, but we need everyone’s help in keeping our projects moving forward and controlling expenses to mitigate any short-term effects caused by client conditions.
Thanks, and do not hesitate to reach out with any additional questions. Kevin Keegan, Jeff Sessine, Paul and Chris will continue to provide updates as warranted.
Onward and upward always,
Paul and Chris