Businesses throughout the region are doing what they can to get people back into the office or keep them working from home throughout the pandemic and have made several accommodations so as to not sacrifice their mission.
“We allowed remote work-from-home in some cases. Anyone that was allowed to do it and wanted to do it could,” said Kim Heller, manager of human resources, First Keystone Community Bank. Heller said about 30 of their more than 200 employees worked from home.
At first, the bank branches had sneeze shields installed and did drive-thru banking only.
“We also broke up our teams by having them work at different branches so that if one section of the department got sick with coronavirus, the other team could keep things running smoothly,” she said.
Heller said there have been no gaps in service.
“Working from home has its limitations sometimes,” she said. “Printing could be an issue so the person working from home would have to let someone know at the particular branch, so they could pick up the paperwork.”
Denise Maleski, chief financial officer at Davis, Gregory and Kyle Insurance in Factoryville said company has had a disaster plan in place for the past ten years.
“But no one ever thought we would have to use it and use it this long,” she said. “Our plan was okay if electricity was knocked out for a period of time, but not this.”
Maleski said most everyone is working from home and those that are working at the office are only a small group.
“That way if someone gets sick, we’re not contaminated our other employees,” she said.
She said temperature checks happen twice per day and in addition to frequent hand washing and sanitizing, client meetings only happen in open-air areas.
“We’ve had to add more technology, but so far working-from-home has been working well,” she said.
Sherrie Miller, vice-president of sales operations and planning for Kane Logistics, with a distribution center and transportation maintenance center in the Stauffer Industrial Park said they’ve invested heavily in temperature screenings for employees over fears of the coronavirus.
“All of our buildings have this technology. They are hi-tech screeners that take your temperature much like you find at a large facility,” said Miller. “We did that early on because we didn’t want have someone risk passing the virus on to someone else.”
She said they are also doing contact tracing logs with any clients or vendors who come into the building in case someone needs to be notified, should a case of coronavirus arise.
Miller said they’ve also invested in ‘biosprayers’ to disinfect large areas of the property and shared workspaces.
“Everywhere a Kane associate is at has access to these sprayers,” she said. “They are super effective at killing viruses.”
At Benco Dental, the company has decided to keep many of its 500 employees that normally work at their facility in the CenterPoint Industrial Park in Pittston in a ‘home work’ environment until mid-January said George Rable, Chief Culture and People Officer for Benco Dental.
“We’re doing more virtual meetings than we ever did, whether they are daily huddles or one-on-ones,” he said. “Even for our senior staff, we are doing daily meetings, which we never did. It’s really improved communication. There’s a lot of connecting with people.”
The Geisinger Health System has developed the RISE program, or Resilience in Stressful Events plan, to help employees cope.
“There are a lot of things that happen in the hospital setting that can be very stressful,” said Dr. Charlotte Collins, a clinical psychologist and director of Geisinger’s Center for Professionalism and Wellbeing. “And then Covid-19 hit and we said, ‘uh oh,’ we need this up and running now.”
Dr. Collins said they had been working on the plan for one year prior. She calls it a ‘care for the caregiver program’ and is open 24/7 throughout the Geisinger Health System. The program is open to any employee who is having trouble coping with the sudden onslaught of issues surrounding coronavirus – from issues at work to struggles at home.