At Arcadis, the safety and well-being of our employees, our clients and our partners is our utmost priority. We want to share with you the steps we are taking to respond appropriately and limit potential exposure to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation while continuing to serve the needs of our clients.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom said this epidemic can be pushed back, “but only with a collective, coordinated and comprehensive approach.” And that’s our approach at Arcadis. We are monitoring the situation on a day-to-day basis and following official safety and prevention guidance published by the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Health Canada.
Crisis Response Team
Along with mobilizing our North American Crisis Response Team, which communicates daily, we have assembled a global COVID-19 Task Force. Led by our global executive leadership team, the Task Force is focused on safeguarding our people and their families, protecting our clients and their businesses, and protecting our own business. Activities within seven workstreams that include People, Client Care, and Systems and IT range from examining the strength of our supply chain to preparing staffing contingency plans – all to ensure we can continue operations and serve our clients.
The Task Force is regularly reviewing our business continuity management plans, developing additional measures that support implementing current best practices. They also are providing routine updates to our people to help keep them, their families and our clients informed and safe.
Travel and Mass Events
Globally, Arcadis has curtailed intercontinental travel. Across North America, we have limited travel to activities that fulfill our commitments to our clients and maintain business continuity.
We are encouraging our people to work with our clients to assess travel criticality and to explore alternatives to face-to-face meetings, such as schedule changes and virtual meetings. When in-person meetings are deemed critical, Arcadis employees understand they have the authority to stop work if they suspect a risk to the health or safety of participants.
Similarly, we are reducing the number of large gatherings in which we participate by canceling non-critical internal meetings and carefully monitoring upcoming industry events and conferences – several of which already have been postponed or canceled.
Office and Remote Working
All Arcadis offices in North America are currently open, and we have asked each employee to make the best decision regarding remote working based on their client commitments and personal situations. Designated Location Leaders in each Arcadis office are being made aware of additional actions required in elevated risk areas. Depending on risk levels designated by WHO, CDC, Health Canada and local health organizations and other factors, we will consider office closures.
Arcadis already has a flexible working policy in place, so our people can and routinely work from home and access the software and data they need through our cloud-based systems. This will allow our employees to work remotely in situations where isolation away from our offices or project sites is required. We anticipate being able to quickly mobilize broad-based remote working across the North American organization if it becomes necessary.
Employee Safeguards and Support
We routinely update our employees on COVID-19 related news and encourage them to follow personal hygiene safeguards such as washing hands frequently, using antiseptic wipes on shared areas and adopting social distance practices. We also have asked our people to stay up to date on COVID-19 within their communities, health updates from local agencies, and school or business closings, and to share information with our Crisis Response Team about any local emergency declarations that might impact Arcadis or our clients.
If the COVID-19 is causing stress for employees or family members, they are encouraged to contact our Employee Assistance Program, which gives them access to counseling and other mental health resources. If an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, they have been directed to notify Arcadis immediately so the company can take appropriate action, including notifying clients, while maintaining the individual’s privacy.
While we do not anticipate a significant number of impacted staff, we are using our global resource management function to help ensure we can support critical projects if staff members are affected. This will include accelerating succession plans, reapplying staff that become available due to canceled or delayed projects, leveraging resources from outside North America and reprioritizing workload, if necessary.
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Arcadis is committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment for all our employees.