Finder’s response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak
We're making our employer-response plan public to help other businesses.
Like most employers, we’re navigating the coronavirus pandemic day by day. We’re making Finder’s internal playbook public in order to give other businesses information that could help with their decision making. Finder is a global comparison site helping millions of people to make better decisions, and we have hundreds of employees around the globe, so we hope that sharing our guide publicly will help others. This guide is a work in progress, and we’re evolving and improving it over time. Please note that this is not intended to be advice, legal or otherwise, and you should consider your own workplace health and safety obligations and seek legal advice or other professional advice if you’re uncertain. If you have any feedback or suggestions to improve this guide, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizing a task force
We found that an emergency COVID-19 task force was a good way to narrow our working group while ensuring that key messages were discussed, documented and actioned quickly. This is how we set up a task force with all the relevant stakeholders:
- We determined a small group of people responsible with accountabilities to the topic at hand.
- We decided on the most effective way to communicate. We chose setting up a private Slack channel.
- We assessed who must be consulted on the communications. We chose to include our People & Culture team, the senior leadership team, the Head of Publishing and our Country CEOs due to our geo-distribution.
- We came up with a communication strategy to distribute the information. We chose to send one communication globally, with specific sections as to where to find official guidance in each home country. That way, the key messages were managed centrally, and it was clear that we’re thinking about the situation from a holistic perspective.
At Finder, we openly communicate with our crew because we know that transparency leads to more informed decision-making. Given the heightened media coverage, we also wanted to minimize panic of how this pandemic would impact our crew and their loved ones.
Here are the steps we took to set-up our communications plan:
Sources of truth
We chose to use only official government authorities and international health organizations as our sources of truth. When we compared the information between media outlets to government authorities and international health organizations, we noticed a stark difference in unconfirmed or exaggerated information. And again, since we’re a company that helps people make better decisions, handling this matter on behalf of our crew, was no exception.
We chose to monitor the sites below. We also signed up for real-time updates and added the links to an RSS feed. We set-up an integration so that the RSS feed would populate directly into our Slack group.
- World Health Organization
- International SOS
- UK National Health Services (NHS)
- UK Public Health England
- US Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- AU Department of Health
- NZ Ministry of Health
- PH Department of Health
- PO Ministry of Health
Determining key messages
This is an evolving and developing situation, so we decided to keep our key messages simple and to the point.
- This is Finder’s official communication regarding our policy and practice regarding coronavirus. Your health, safety and wellbeing are our top priorities. Please prioritize your health, and the health of others, diligently and with care.
- At Finder, we help people make better decisions. Therefore, we’re going to take the same approach with our crew. To ensure we are deploying the most accurate information, we will be using official guidance from local governments and international health organizations.
- We have crew all over the globe and we are monitoring this situation closely. We will send updates on Thursdays until further notice, and more frequently if there is an urgent announcement. Emails will be sent from a central email address.
In order to centralize communications and distribute key messages to the team, we did the following:
- We created a central email specific to queries as well as a separate Slack channel pertaining to concerns people had about coronavirus. We wanted to avoid cluttering COVID-19 related queries in other communication channels.
- We also encouraged people to reach out to the People & Culture team if they had any questions and to be patient if they didn’t have the answer right away.
- The People & Culture team created a confluence page (like an internal Wikipedia) and an email every Thursday, keeping people updated and informed on the situation as it developed.
- We provided WHO-recommended resources on how to manage stress and anxiety during the outbreak and encouraged people to reach out to a counsellor through our Employee Assistance Program.
- We reminded employees that all health-related queries are confidential. Even if well-intended, we asked people to be conservative about making comments or inquiries about suspected symptoms and encouraged concerned parties to contact their People & Culture team.
We decided to get clear on our workflow to ensure we were responding to each person, each question and each hypothetical with compassion and thoughtfulness.
Determining the optimal process
This topic in particular is important to us due to our distributed crew and crew members who travel between offices. We wanted to make our key message super clear. We determined five scenarios:
- If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus), please notify the People & Culture crew immediately. We will ask that you work from home, in quarantine, for a minimum of 14 days and until you have a physician’s release to return to work.
- If you have traveled to a Category 1 country, please notify the People & Culture crew immediately. We will ask that you work from home, in quarantine, for 14 days to ensure you have not acquired COVID-19.
- If you have traveled to a Category 2 country, please notify the People & Culture crew immediately. You are able to come to the office, but you must notify us immediately if you start showing signs of cold or flu-like symptoms. You will be asked to work from home (or follow sick leave procedures), in quarantine, to avoid spreading illness to others.
- If you have a cough, high temperature, shortness of breath or sore throat, please work from home (or follow sick-leave procedures). If you come to the office, be prepared that People & Culture or your Crew Lead may send you home to minimize the spread of illnesses. The symptoms of the common cold or flu can appear similar to COVID-19. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
- If you have a fever, please remain home until you have been fever-free for 24 hours before returning to the office.
After we sorted our communications plan, and before we decided on a global working-from-home initiative, we were able to solve our office readiness rather quickly. According to the World Health Organization, the following are the best precautionary measures:
- Practice extra diligence with hand washing. Soap and water are recommended. Hand sanitizer will do if soap and water aren’t available.
- Practice extra diligence with respiratory hygiene. Cough in the elbow. Use clean tissues. Discard used tissues. Repeat step one.
- Prepare office with extra supplies to ensure the office remains in tiptop shape in case of supply outages. We chose to be prepared with an extra 45-day supply of cleaning supplies, paper products, hand sanitizer in all meeting rooms and disposable cleaning wipes for equipment.
We initially took a stance to prohibit all non-essential business travel and to let the P&C team know if someone from the team was planning personal travel to a Category 1 or Category 2 country. However, as of early March, we prohibited all business travel until further notice and further asked for awareness on personal travel to Category 1 or 2 countries. Many governments, including those of Australia and the United States, have urged residents to reconsider their need for overseas travel at this time.
Training and informing our People & Culture team
Our People & Culture (P&C) team is often the front line of any type of concern or employee experience query. We gave our crew access to the information they’d need for FAQs and encouraged them to follow-up with people (if they were unsure about a particular response).
Training and informing our Crew Leads
Other times, crew members don’t come to our P&C team, and instead ask their Crew Lead a question. We encouraged Crew Leads to use the talking points from our official communications or to refer back to our People and Culture crew.
Remote work and working from home — updated March 13
Social distancing will be critical to combating the spread of the virus. Young and healthy people have a key part to play in this to protect the more vulnerable members of the population. Therefore on March 13, we announced that effective March 16, 2020, globally, our offices will be temporarily closed to do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). As a digital business, we are well set up to work remotely, and we don’t expect significant business interruptions as a result.
We are proud of the fact we have promoted remote work culture in our distributed crew for over 10 years. Our company was built on the idea that to create meaningful content so that people can make better decisions, we needed to find a way to grow Finder that was agnostic of typical workplace norms. Therefore, we’re not making radical changes to our remote work philosophy.
We will continue to evolve this guide as time goes on. Please feel free to share any feedback at email@example.com.
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