As more people are getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and returning to offices, they are being greeted by both physical and policy changes in the workplace. Before Clayco employees are all back, I wanted to do two things: thank them for their extraordinary performance this past year and let them know about some policy changes we’ve made that we think they’ll appreciate. Here are parts of the company-wide email I sent recently.

“There are many things I’m proud of working with the people of Clayco but nothing more than how innovative and responsive we are to critical changes in our environment, the market, and the economy. I’m tremendously proud of the …management team and everyone in the company pivoting in the last year to a whole new set of work rules, safety issues, and for adapting to remotely working while servicing our more than 10,000 workforce in the field and keeping our jobs up and running.”

Why I Wrote This: We ask for a lot from our employees (team members) and I’m a big believer in recognizing them. Obsessive, relentless and passionate customer service is one of our goals, and we want employees to be motivated to provide that experience.

 

“Today, I want to share my thoughts on the next innovative ways to work and serve our customers. I’ve been getting feedback from you, people in our industry and our customers and want to get in front of our competitors and get us back to work as quickly and safely as possible, together.

In the last year, many of us have had to continue showing up at our job sites and at the office, and we have had terrific flexibility for those that felt they needed to work at home. We’ve learned some of what works and some of what doesn’t. I’m sure we will continue to learn and innovate and be flexible as we go forward.

We want everybody to make a plan to come back to the office as soon as possible. We want to work with you to make sure you feel safe and will do what is necessary to rotate people and make sure that the workplace and desk areas have appropriate distancing. We may request continuing testing for those not vaccinated yet and, at some point, will tie access to offices to vaccine compliance for those not granted an “Exemption,” subject to CDC recommendations and a strict protocol that meets applicable federal and local government requirements.”

Why I Wrote This: I wanted to reiterate that safety is all-important to us and that we’ll have a policy on vaccination and/or COVID testing. I also wanted to remind everyone that I believe people need to be in the office because it’s more efficient and where the highest creativity and teamwork take place. We have introduced flexibility, however, which I alluded to next.

 

“Once things completely settle down and everybody is back to work for salaried employees working in the offices, we will work closely with … managers to implement an optional “four day” in the office work strategy with “one day” work at home as the option. While we are doing this to create flexibility, we will have to work closely with everybody’s managers and supervisors, so we organize these “work at home” days around our customers’ and business needs. This will take some experimentation and some patience for everyone as we work through this new scenario.

For those traveling to job sites around the country, we will work with our customers and the latest technologies to implement as much “remote work” as possible while continuing to maintain our commitment to best-in-class quality and on time delivery of our projects.

We are also updating our parental leave policy: we currently pay the first two weeks of short-term disability for the birth mother and then will include a minimum of 6 weeks short-term disability and then provide two weeks of paid “bonding time” for both birth parents and non-birth parents. In addition, as part of parental leave, both birth parents and non-birth parents will have the flexibility of working remotely for an additional two-weeks in order to facilitate a soft return to work.”

Why I Wrote This: I thought it was important to give employees a preview of what’s to come and let them know we listen to them. I have already heard from numerous employees. One said she had been worried about handling her demanding job as a new mother and that the changes to our Employee Benefits are helpful. That’s gratifying to hear for any leader.