April 20, 2020
To Our North American Clients:
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. We continue to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis and follow 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. We are committed to doing everything we can to continue to serve you and your business successfully during this unsettling time.
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 eight workstreams that include People, Client Care, Communications, Systems and IT, and Recovery 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 and limited travel to activities that fulfill our commitments to our clients and help ensure business continuity. We’ve been working with our clients to assess travel criticality, to determine essential field and on-site activities, and to maximize use of virtual tools.
Similarly, we have eliminated large gatherings by instituting remote work, canceling internal meetings and carefully monitoring planned participation in upcoming industry events and conferences – the majority of which have been canceled, postponed or, to a lesser extent, converted to virtual events.
Office and Remote Working
We quickly mobilized broad-based remote working across the organization. Arcadis already had 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. We updated our remote working policy to support IT and security, as well as to comply with individual client requirements for tasks such as time- and record-keeping.
Most Arcadis offices in North America are still open for essential business that can’t be performed from home. Less than 5% of our staff are working in offices, allowing for proper social distancing. Designated Location Leaders for each office coordinate with our Crisis Response Team to monitor additional actions required in elevated risk areas. Risk levels designated by WHO, CDC, Health Canada, local health organizations and factors such as state or local stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, guide us in determining whether to close an office.
Project and Field Work
Arcadis is working very closely with our clients on prioritizing, scheduling and performing work in accordance with established and new protocols set forth by governing bodies and our clients themselves.
Our Crisis Response Team reviews all local orders and provides timely direction to Arcadis project managers related to potential restrictions to our work so they can coordinate with our clients to deliver essential work. When Arcadis staff does travel to a project site or into a field location, they do so with placards and letters documenting the essential work they will be performing.
Health and safety planning and preparedness is more important than ever. Employees are directed not to come to work if they are ill, and self-assessments are required before they enter a project office or site to determine whether they are able to work. Each project conducts on-site planning, along with routinely conducting virtual tailgate safety meetings, updating health and safety plans to allow for social distancing, wearing face coverings if appropriate, and conducting inventories of disinfectants, PPE and decontamination supplies. Additional steps may be taken at individual sites to mirror client protocols.
While we have not had 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 includes prioritizing the use of local or in-state staff, 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.
Employee Safeguards and Support
We routinely update our employees on COVID-19 related news, directing them to wear appropriate PPE and follow personal hygiene safeguards such as washing hands frequently, using antiseptic wipes on shared areas, adopting social distance practices and wearing face coverings, where appropriate. Arcadis employees understand they have the authority to stop work if they suspect any risk to the health or safety of participants.
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 local emergency declarations that 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.
We thank you for your partnership
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Arcadis is committed to providing a healthy and safe work environment for all our employees.