how is your manager or company supporting you right now?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” post. A reader writes:

I’d love a post on the best things people’s managers/companies are doing right now to support them during this period. I think we’re all trying to figure this out as we go along, and it would be great to hear what’s working really well for folks right now. The management team of our small nonprofit is doing the best they can, but it would be great to go to them with some proactive suggestions for how we can all stay engaged/happy/etc. I’d also personally love to hear some stories of employers doing the right thing right now :)

What a great question. What’s working well for you? Please share in the comments.

(Let’s confine responses to that question. There have been lots of other posts recently about what’s going wrong.)

{ 584 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    The rules for this one:

    1. This is not a general discussion of the virus or how it’s affecting work.

    2. This is not for grievances about what your employer is doing wrong. We’ve had lots of opportunites for that in the past couple of weeks.

    3. This post is about the companies getting it right.

    I’ve removed some off-topic comments that are about what companies are getting wrong.

  2. Lemon Zinger*

    My supervisor AND the other lead on my team both went on maternity leave right before this hit, so we are technically leaderless and all based around the country. One team member has shown amazing leadership skills and arranged for us to meet weekly instead of biweekly. The meetings (via Zoom as usual) are a lot lighter and involve more chit-chat and commiseration about the drastic changes to our work.

    I loved these meetings before, and now they’re extra special. Be well, everyone!

    1. Syfygeek*

      I just got finished with a regularly scheduled staff meeting on Zoom. It was easy peasy and kind of fun. 1 person who is always knitting during our meetings is working on something huge, but at one point she leaned way over and was doing something off screen. Turns out she was petting her dog, trying to keep him from getting in her lap.

        1. Sammi*

          I will say I had an issue with my furry coworker. He insists on sitting on my desk, with his head pressed against the monitor. I found a solution – I cleared off a section to the left of my keyboard and sprinkled catnip on it. Now I have a stoned coworker!!

    2. Melbee*

      Now that we’re all working from home, we have weekly zoom meetings. At the end of each meeting, we vote on who has the best fake background and applaud the winner. The CEO came up with that, it’s one way he’s trying to keep our spirits up. He’s also trying not to fire anyone.

      1. Melbee*

        The CEO has also personally called each of us to listen to any problems or concerns we have about our jobs or working from home. Granted we only have about 25 employees so it’s not so hard for him, but we all appreciate it.

      2. Angry Professor*

        My students are using some really funny backgrounds, and it totally makes my day. One has done a series of scenes from Star Wars.

      3. Sally*

        We’ve been having an informal Zoom background competition at every Zoom meeting. I have a colleague who apparently never gets embarrassed, and he has used some crazy (but work appropriate) backgrounds. It makes everything a bit less stressful. And we are all using video so everyone can see everyone. I’ve noticed that the level of dressing up has gone waaaay down over the last several weeks, which I appreciate! Some of us have taken to wearing baseball hats, and I’m about to join that group because I’m getting tired of figuring out ways to make my hair presentable, especially since it’s getting a lot longer and the roots are showing more. I’m really thankful for the people I work with. They’re a huge part of why I love working at my company.

    3. Erika*

      I have worked remotely the whole time I have been with my company and so does about half the US team. Now that we are all remote, my CEO has been scheduling weekly happy hours on Zoom for everyone to log in worth their favorite beverage to chat and say hello to everyone. It’s been really nice to connect. We are all still really busy, so this is a nice pause to relax and regroup.

      We have a large continent in India and none of them worked remotely, but when the stay in place order went out, our IT team really came through and equipped everyone to be able to work from home.

      1. Erika*

        Clearly, I should not type when tired. With, not worth. Contingent, not continent. Sheesh.

  3. Wannabe Disney Princess*

    My grandboss has started sending an email twice a week asking how everyone is doing and encourages people to reply all*. So for a little bit during those mornings, we’re all talking to each other. Sharing stories/tips/etc. It’s a small thing but it’s a great way to kind of recreate the office chatter.

    *I realize depending on your office/team size this may be unusable. We are an office of 16 so it’s not an email explosion.

    1. The Rat-Catcher*

      We have a manager who is also sending “check in” emails every day. They talk a bit about work and then usually share a personal anecdote. We also have a group text message check-in among some of us (very small, 4-5 of us, so it’s not just a constant barrage of text messages).

    2. LJackson*

      The company is doing weekly calls with all employees asking/emailing questions.

      Daily huddle calls have continued and a quick once a week call to check in.

      Emails about how to work from home and be mindful of breaks and ergonomic issues. Can call for a virtual eval and get suggestions on how to set up work space with what you have.

      Also, reminders to be safe and know your exit route in case of emergency.

      Reminder to keep regular hours, not made to feel that we should be working more than 8 hour days.

      I work with local governments and adapting to ever changing situations and requirements.

    3. Spreadsheets and Books*

      Our department leadership is scheduling calls *every day* so that people can check in, hear important news, and stay connected. They’re optional, but a good way to stay on top of things while working remotely if you have the time. I think there are a few hundred people in the department so this really keeps people together. My direct team has twice-weekly video catchups as well to chat and pretend we’re all together in person.

      Our leadership has been really wonderful in virtually every way. We get regular emails thanking us for our contributions and telling us how our family and health come first, and I know this is true and not lip-service.

    4. Liz*

      My grandboss has done the same, about once a week. my group is only 4, including him, but its nice that he’s checking in. As for the company, we have been allowed to work from home, beginning last week? but as of Monday, when my state went into mandatory shelter in place, so all non essential businesses are closed.

    5. Asperger Hare*

      Yeah, my boss has being doing the same! It’s lovely. She called me earlier not to ask anything about work, just to have a normal lunchtime catch-up and gossip that we normally do.

  4. ArchivesGremlin*

    My new boss, when I mentioned I was stressing out about us being open to the public still, he said, well we don’t want that so if you want to work from home, you can (we had plans on what to do if administration sent us home). It made me feel listened to and while I’m still concerned, I’m not as much knowing that if I truly want I can work from home full time now (right now we’re closed to the public).

    1. Amanda*

      My company did mostly ok, but my grandboss was AWESOME. He has 5 teams reporting to him, about 60 people total, and he had us all work from home before the WFH software and servers were even set up. He straight up told the directors he was not risking himself or his people, and they could either get those things set up yesterday or lose however long in productivity which he would sign off as worked by us. And he didn’t care if he got fired for it, but the company would have to wait at least a month for that, for the warnings and documenting required in its policies for high level firings. Everything was set for WFH on the next day!

  5. DeeEm*

    They are allowing anyone to work from home who is able to work from home. We are an essential business, so obviously not everyone can work from home. We’re implementing new paid time off options (like vacation donation – and we have a generous vacation policy, so this is useful since many people have GOBS of vacation time accrued and don’t ever use it all). We’re allowing negative balances on sick/vacation for anyone with COVID symptoms. We’re still talking about other ways to help.

    1. 3DogNight*

      Our company is doing the same thing. They did just issue an emergency allotment of 15 additional PBA days for Covid-19. They are doing a lot to help us stay productive, and mostly letting us just work.

    2. samecoin*

      if you are working from home…its not vacation. if i am misunderstanding please correct me!

        1. Sammi*

          For us, if you can’t work from home (no internet, connection issues, etc.), you don’t have to worry – you still have to attend the morning “touchpoint” meeting (Skype on your phone), and then that’s it. Just try every day. If you can’t, you’re paid for the day – they are calling it admin leave. It does not impact your PTO.

      1. OperaArt*

        They saying that people who have lots of extra vacation time saved up are allowed to donate to other people who, for whatever reason, can’t work but don’t have enough vacation/sick leave themselves.

      1. Not Rebee*

        Only for employees of companies 500 people or less. Which means only 50% of all Americans…

      2. Teen Librarian*

        I’m a teen librarian (not the one from your recent post, but all of my coworkers thought so). My system has shut down for at least a month, with full pay and benefits for all 500 employees. While ideas have been suggested, none of my managers are forcing us to do any busy work or really anything at all, during this time. It’s difficult to librarian from home. As a result, many of us have come up with our own work projects, like online storytimes. I, myself, have been having Netflix parties with my homeschool teens and doing an RPG through Zoom.

  6. OtterB*

    Not-for-profit with about 20 employees. We’re all working remote (which was pretty common for us anyway). A lot of what we do is done via computer but other things are workshops, meetings, or conferences that are now canceled. We’re doing a regular staff meeting via zoom. There was an email from my boss earlier this week confirming that we all have continued employment and paychecks and healthcare, and that we should do what we need to do for our health and our families.

    1. Loubelou*

      This is us as well. We are all working from home (though we didn’t do it before) and it is going well. We video chat a LOT. We’re also encouraged to take it easy, go on walks, stay away from the news, etc.
      Our CEO has told everyone that jobs are secure, and thankfully here in Ireland there is Government support for the company in case we’re at risk of laying people off.

      1. Loubelou*

        We also have a weekly ‘lunch’ in which we all bring our lunch, eat it in front of the camera and chat as if we were all in the same room. It’s usually pretty positive but also supportive if anyone is having a tough day.

        1. OtterB*

          We’re going to do this, too, beginning today. We used to have a weekly bring-your-lunch in the conference room, but this will be the first time doing it remote.

        2. Ama*

          We have a daily trivia question over our chat — there was one department doing it in office previously but now the whole office participates (we have about 35 employees). We do it right around lunch time, and it is a nice break in the day for everyone to be a little goofy — posting GIFs and emojis are encouraged. It works great because you can either be really active and participate or just watch the chat go by.

          Plus because the website they are using posts questions on weekends as well, on Mondays we have three questions and it perks everyone up a bit.

          We’re also having regular Friday “Happy Hours” hosted by rotating departments which does involve the video chat.

    2. Hi!*

      Same here! We also have an optional check-in every morning around 10 on Zoom that is a COVID- and work-free zone. Sometimes we play a game or just talk about how our day/week is going.

    3. Analytical Tree Hugger*

      Similar sized non-profit, checking-in! The past two weeks, all staff were invited for a morning check-in on how folks are feeling.

      Really big shout-out of appreciation to my colleague who facilitated the first one (not sure if they were given a heads up or not): Colleague responded with support to each and everyone’s check-in before inviting the next person to share. So impressed with their ability to handle that (and I hope that wasn’t too much emotional labor for them; I sent them a note expressing gratitude).

  7. BC*

    My company is making sure I get paid! I’m a contractor and don’t get sick time, vacation days, or even holiday pay. The idea that the company could have shut down and I wouldn’t be paid was scary. Of course we’re still getting paid because we’re still working…. we’re considered critical infrastructure. But it’s all a relief. They’re doing a lot as well to ensure our work areas are clean. I’m a technician in a lab so we can’t entirely work from home. But we’re all pitching in to keep the labs clean and be conscious of risks.

  8. ECHM*

    The office where I am an administrative assistant is allowing me to work from home, using a program that mirrors my work computer so almost everything I can do there, I can do here. That is huge as my husband is immunocompromised.

    1. Doug Judy*

      Same here. Our IT department got 135 employees set up to work remotely in two days. They were absolute rockstars. It did help we had about 50 fully remote workers already, but still, it was impressive.

      All the upper management has personally contacted people to see how things are going. Work has been very stressful (401k administration) but everyone is working hard and looking out for everyone. I feel these are the times great companies excel.

    2. Remote Technical Writer*

      Same for me and the folks at my office. We also have meetings with the video option turned on, so it feels less lonely. I really appreciate it :)

      1. Boldly Go*

        Non profit member organization. We have about 60 FT employees. most of us are working from home.

        My immediate supervisor has been amazingly supportive. My Dept (8 people) has a daily 10 minute check in with a different daily theme (crazy hair day, etc). There are twice weekly zoom lunch breaks for all staff.

        I’m so grateful that my job allows me to work from home and that my employer is able to continue to pay us.

  9. TootsNYC*

    My whole team is working from home (God bless our IT folks, not just for their hard work in the setup weekend, but for all the decisions and structure they created well beforehand that made it even possible).

    I found our Zoom meeting to be surprisingly nourishing.
    Our boss pointed out that people don’t need to use video, but I was grateful to the people who did. It really helped to see their faces.

    We also keep getting “if you have to interrupt to deal with kids, etc., it’s fine, just let us know.” We were supposed to have pets in that Zoom meeting, but they all turned out to be unavailable.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      As someone who pre-virus never did video on work calls and rolled my eyes at podcasts with person-sitting-in-bedroom accompanying video, it is amazing how fast I turned around on “Oh look!! It’s a person!!” for both live and recorded stuff.

      1. JKP*

        It’s a very busy time for them. A lot more laps that need sitting on.

        I read an article the other day about a dog who was wagging his tail so much with everyone in his house WFH, that the poor thing sprained his tail from too much wagging.

        1. snoopythedog*

          My dog is so overstimulated from having us around 24/7 for the past 14 days. We started leaving the house without her on purpose so she could have some alone/recovery time.

    2. GOG11*

      My one cat, who I can’t shut out of the room I work from, wouldn’t make an appearance when prompted but then when I needed to talk to someone one on one with a lot of back and forth (so muting isn’t a great option), she started playing with a loud crinkly toy that she’s had and ignored, even when I would try to get her to play with it, for months.

      1. Windchime*

        Mine likes to jump up between me and the keyboard, and then wave his tail majestically in front of the camera.

      2. Djuna*

        My cat spends most video meetings perched on my shoulders, looking at all the faces on the screen.
        He decided a meeting had gone on far too long the other day, so jumped down into my lap and put his paw over my mouth as I was speaking. I think he may want to be socially distanced from me soon!

        1. allathian*

          That’s just hilarious! Was your camera switched on? If so, how did the other attendees react?

          1. Djuna*

            It was! They all cracked up and agreed it probably was time to wrap up.
            I don’t want him getting the idea that he can end business meetings at a whim though!

    3. Sparkly Librarian*

      Video has not been required (never mentioned!) on group calls so people who want to use it do, and others don’t. I am typically a no-video-ever type, but on a couple days when I was dressed nicely and had a cute baby on my lap I turned it on, and got a lot of positive response. But when I want to slump on the couch in PJs and messy hair and make faces at coworkers with different norms for conference calls, I do it without a camera.

  10. Beancat*

    My boss is letting me use one of the company parking spaces so I don’t have to take public transport. It’s honestly one of the kindest and most genuine things that anyone has done for me at a job.

    1. NYCRedhead*

      I will echo that. We are reimbursing folks who would typically take public transportation for their parking & tolls or rideshare.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        Good for your company – depending on your location, those costs are prohibitive for a lot of people.

    2. TootsNYC*

      such a simple thing to do! But SO important!

      We park on the street in NYC, and my DH needed to go to his parents’ to get some information from a file (apparently his mom couldn’t find it, or something). He’s afraid of not being able to find a space when he gets back, so he took public transit.

  11. glitter writer*

    My team are always remote workers, but our managers are being explicitly supportive of using vacation and PTO for mental health days in order to unplug and get away from the news. (We are a news organisation, so working days are wall-to-wall headlines.) Every day one or two people are out, in turns, and it’s very explicit, “Fred and Jane are taking a mental health day today,” so it’s normalised. It seems to be helping and I appreciate it.

    1. allathian*

      This sounds great! I really love that mental health days are treated just like any other PTO would be.

  12. NYCRedhead*

    Here’s a couple thoughts:
    – work from home across the board. It has also been helpful to have the opportunity to go into the office once per week to handle some work that can’t be done at home and get a break. This has to be truly optional and might need some scheduling to ensure social distancing (for us, it’s no more than one person per day.)
    – conference calls to meet as a team. I wish they did not get scheduled at lunchtime as that is one opportunity to take a break that is often cut short.
    – no emails from management after the end of the day. It’s too easy to extend your day and some folks might need some encouragement to unplug.

  13. Alston*

    I rent workshy space, but work for myself. Our shop is closed but the owner has said he is suspending rent payments for the duration of the shut down. That is a huge weight off my shoulders.

    1. many bells down*

      I’m am office admin/receptionist for a nonprofit and my boss has gone out of her way to make sure I have work to do from home. First I was moving all our in-person stuff to Zoom meetings, and now I’m helping with tech support and marketing. They’re even reimbursing me for the extra paper and printer ink.

  14. NowWhat?456*

    We are currently relying on Zoom and Microsoft teams to communicate, but we’re still sharing fun tidbits of our days at home with kids and pets, as well as funny gifs. Productivity level is still about the same with water cooler talk now becoming virtual.

    My manager has done two things to keep the humanity of everything:
    -We now have a virtual happy hour on a semi regular basis so we just have the chance to talk outside of “work”. We have a few single parents on our team, so the non-work adult conversation with colleagues seems to be really helpful. Additionally, we’re a small tight knit team so it’s nice to hear how everyone is doing.
    -They are not afraid to reschedule meetings for a mental health break. At first I was skeptic about putting in for time off since I’m already at home, and I can’t go anywhere anyways. But seeing their lead, I’m definitely encouraged to take my full lunch breaks, turn everything off at 5pm, and even put in for a vacation day coming up just to sleep in and clean out my closet.

    1. Thankful*

      My company is doing these things, too. It makes such a difference. I so admire colleagues who are honest when they are having good days and bad days, and there’s no judgment if it’s a bad day. And the virtual happy hours have had some kid and pet sightings, so that has been a lot of fun.

      I am definitely using this crisis as a chance to think about where my loyalties belong, and my company is holding tight in a high position. I wish everyone had this in their lives.

    2. CupcakeCounter*

      One of the managers in my company put a weekly happy hour meeting on his team’s calendar for every Friday at 4:30 so they have that boundary reminder. No work talk allowed – just enjoy a beverage of choice and conversation with people you used to see everyday. Wish my manager did that…I have to wait until 5 for my beverage (since I am still in my PJ’s and fuzzy slippers at nearly noon, I need to have some boundaries)

  15. Erin*

    My company is based outside of DC, with a New York office comprised mostly of members of the Development and Special Events teams. Our CEO and CFO made the decision on March 10th to strongly recommend all NYC employees work remotely starting March 11th, with the HQ team to start the following Monday. We’ve all been remote since then, and during that time we’ve had several COVID-19 specific calls, our CEO is running a Talent Arts & Crafts contest/fair for children of employees (she emails us highlights each day) and she’s started doing 15-minute FaceTime calls with everyone.

    Our teams are also doing morning Zoom check-ins, and the New York office has an informal water cooler session every day at noon, which has been really nice. I don’t love all of the time spent on Zoom, but it’s helpful seeing everyone’s faces, since I was very used to being in an office with other people. Our senior leadership also sent out some tips for making Zoom meetings worthwhile, and some info on general tele- and Zoom meeting etiquette, which I’m sure was helpful for people who are on back-to-back calls all day.

  16. Lily B*

    I had to cancel my May wedding this week, and my manager encouraged me to take PTO and sent me an Uber Eats gift card so we could have wine delivered. I think it goes a long way when managers recognize that the pandemic is causing personal issues that are impacting many employees’ productivity right now (and obviously I recognize a canceled wedding is a champagne problem compared to what some people are dealing with).

    He also set up a daily 5-minute video check-in, which annoyed me at first but I have started to appreciate the interaction and the visibility for me. When you’re not in the office, you realize how much info can be shared in passing or through water-cooler chats.

    1. OtterB*

      I’m sorry about your wedding. My daughter was supposed to be the maid of honor for one of her best friends next month. At the moment, the wedding is still scheduled but now with a very, very small number of attendees and the big party postponed to August. My daughter, who would be coming from out of state, is included in the small wedding but since she has to come from out of state she will probably not go.

    2. WantonSeedStitch*

      Oh man, I’m sorry about the wedding. I hope when you’re able to reschedule, that it’s everything you dreamed it would be.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      <blockquoteobviously I recognize a canceled wedding is a champagne problem compared to what some people are dealing with

      It may not be life or death, but it’s still a problem. You’re losing money and the time and effort it will take to set it up again when things calm down. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

      1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

        And for some people the legal part of getting married is crucial for citizenship, health care, etc. so it really can be a very big deal. Don’t feel you need to downplay it.

        1. allathian*

          I don’t want to derail this discussion here, but in very many jurisdictions it’s still possible to get married in a civil ceremony with only the officiant and two witnesses and the couple present. You can have the big reception at any time when social distancing is no longer required. It won’t feel the same as a big wedding would, if that’s what you want to have, but it would be a legal marriage.
          Of course, in some jurisdictions they aren’t even doing this.

    4. Krabby*

      My wedding is in July and not cancelled yet, but likely will be. Luckily our venue already contacted us and told us we’d get a full refund if needed, so that was a huge weight off my shoulders. But it’s still a pretty big blow.

      Good on your manager for protecting your mental health :)

    5. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      I’m so sorry about the wedding. I hope you’re able to enjoy that PTO together.

    6. Ellie*

      I’m really sorry about your wedding – that’s not a champagne problem, it’s really hurtful. I hope you can reschedule everything for when this is all over.

    7. allathian*

      I’m so sorry about your canceled wedding. Maybe it would help to think of it as a postponed wedding instead?

  17. VeryAnon*

    My CEO just emailed the entire company a commitment to no layoffs this year. I’m floored — in the best way.

    1. samecoin*

      just and FYI they won’t get any relief money if they don’t retain 90% of their work force for rest of year if i read the bill( That passed) correctly

    2. ThatGirl*

      We got an update from our company presidents that made a lot of vague noises about stability and coming together, but nothing about layoffs, good or bad. We’re owned by a huge German multinational, it’d be great if we could get some sort of commitment like that – but I guess we’ll see.

      That said, everyone’s working from home/our corporate office is closed – our warehouse is open, but only for one shift, and with tons of cleaning and distancing happening. And we’ve been promised that if anyone is sick/diagnosed with C19, our pay will be “kept whole” which is a nice change from the first email we got a few weeks ago that was like “well, we have short-term disability available…”

  18. Mid*

    My area is experiencing internet slowdowns and sometimes outages, so we’ve switched from “core hours” to “work when you can.” It’s also been clearly communicated that we aren’t expected to be at 100% performance right now. A lot of my coworkers have kids who are home, so they can’t be expected to work the same number of hours right now. (I’m in the legal field, so billable hours are Very Important.)
    They’re also willing to purchase any equipment for our homes that we need—that goes for the admin staff as well as lawyers.

    Most importantly, they still trust us to get our work done, even if it might be slower than usual. There aren’t daily check-ins because that’s not what we normally do. We’re still treated like adults who will do their best during strange circumstances.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      I’ve been working from home full-time since May of last year, and I never had problems with Skype and now Microsoft Teams calls. Now, the sound keeps going in and out during my meetings, and it’s driving me crazy. I think it’s because I’m living in an apartment building with 150 units in it, plus we’re surrounded by three other apartment buildings, so with everyone working from home and being stuck inside all day every day, it’s clogging up the signals. I even connected my laptop directly to my router, and it still hasn’t helped.

      My manager is aware of the issue, and he’s telling me to just do the best I can. I’m taking a lot of the meetings from my work phone with the wifi turned off, so if the usage on that thing goes up this month, I hope my company doesn’t give me grief about the bill. They just need to pay it because there’s nothing I can do until people can go back to work.

      1. AVP*

        I’ve been remote for about a year and can concur! My internet is usually fine but having gone from a mostly-residential city neighborhood that’s quiet during the day to everyone-working-from-home is doing a number on my usual bandwidth, I could barely get my uberconference to work this morning.

  19. Ranon*

    We’re a 6 person office- my boss took my questions about how we would get the office set up for remote seriously right away, bought the extra VPN licenses we needed immediately, and we’ve all been work from home for nearly two weeks now, even though we’re in a state that got a slower start than others.

    We’re in a gray area industry as far as stay at home orders go (woo, construction!) and he’s encouraging us to err on the side of caution right now until we get more clarification on where we stand with those orders.

    He’s also been very accommodating of my need to drop my hours to manage my new childcare needs.

    For someone who just a few years ago had a strict 8:30-5:30 in the office time for all employees so that the phones would always get answered he’s been remarkably adaptable!

  20. Librarian but Legal*

    My employer has been great. Everyone possible working from home with a skeleton crew processing mail and paperwork in offices (legal so needs done).

    My local office even acknowledged that our social interaction and community is very important, so we have a private Facebook group. SO MANY FURRY CO-WORKERS!

    My department had a lot of work from home people and contractors as well as people working across offices, so the change is less in how we work and more in requests and meeting others’ needs as they transition on top of the normal work.

    I’m very happy and proud of my employer, boss, office, and co-workers. I feel indescribably thankful to have this job and a largely painless transition.

    1. Asperger Hare*

      I now realise, on re-reading it, that you mean coworkers who are pets, and not coworkers who are furries.

  21. Drew*

    My company had been fantastic. They’re offering 10 extra days leave for anyone impacted directly by Coronavirus and for parents who cannot work from home while children are out of school. They also are paying a stipend for internet and are reimbursing up to $250 for any equipment we need to better work from home. Granted we’re quite large and essential, so that makes a big difference.

    Yesterday my team had an optional virtual lunch date where we just chatted about anything during our typical lunch time. It was really pleasant and made me feel more connected to them.

  22. HazelEyes*

    I do marketing for a small non-profit hospital and my boss has been amazing. Our regional team is now working from home, we’re having daily calls to discuss COVID-19 communications, and my boss has stressed that she is always just a text away if we need anything. My company overall is also giving us 14 days of PTO is we need to quarantine, not taken from our personal PTO banks. In a time like this, I’ve never felt so cared for by a company before.

    1. shhhh... don't tell*

      I’m so jealous. My hospital is taking the opposite approach.

      Like, since days and discharges are down and we are canceling elective outpatient everything, you can either work on site or go home. But if you’re home and you don’t have time in your bank, you better file for unemployment because you ain’t getting paid by the hospital.

      It’s really demoralizing and demotivating.

      1. Diahann Carroll*

        That is awful. I hope that when this has slowed down and people can start going back to work you start looking for a new job (if it’s possible for your situation).

  23. Gball*

    Mostly, by trusting us to manage our own time and get work done while we are all working from home. We have a quick daily phone call to check in. We aren’t expected to work 24/7, boundaries are encouraged. Also, giving us the opportunities to access our own health and risk tolerances.

    1. MarfisaTheLibrarian*

      This! In a zoom all-library meeting, the idea was floated by some of the manager-level staff of having staff keep activity logs to track what they’re doing throughout the day, and my boss (who sometimes I’ve struggled working with since she can be prickly and moody) absolutely shut that idea down, and said outright that all her staff are adults, she trusts us to manage our time, she didn’t need to look over our shoulders when we were in the office, and she’s not going to start now

  24. Blaise*

    I’m a K-8 Spanish teacher in a private school. My school started planning for this a week or so before everything shut down, which in hindsight is pretty amazing and not something I think a lot of schools did. We had already been sharing ideas for online learning and were told to come up with a general plan if the worst case scenario happened. They also sent out a survey to our families to see what technology everyone had access to at home. We even canceled school on what ended up being the last day schools were allowed to be open in Michigan. So when this all happened, we were honestly as ready as we could have been given the circumstances. We used that last day (that we gave off to students) to have staff meetings and allow teachers to work in their classrooms. We put together paper packets for the elementary schoolers to last two weeks, and got things ready for online teaching for middle school. Parents were able to come to the school the following Monday to pick up packets and check out Chromebooks if their family didn’t have 1:1 devices (the survey told us that 100% of our families have internet access). Our spring break was moved to the following week to give teachers a week to figure out the online stuff. We just started online teaching on Monday and it’s not going quite as smoothly as I thought it would, but we’re getting there!

    Overall, I can’t really think of any way this could have been handled better by my school!

    1. Betsy*

      As someone managing three kids’ “homeschool” while working at home, this sounds about as good as it gets. I commend you all for being so pro-active.

    2. Diahann Carroll*

      I love that they let people check out laptops because not everyone has access to a working computer at home, so that’s wonderful that the kids who didn’t don’t get left behind.

  25. pope suburban*

    Being a huge buffer between me and administration, who has historically had a big us/them divide, and who is handling the whole thing exceedingly poorly. Administration doesn’t give any sign whatsoever of understanding how serious this is; we’re working fairly safe up here in a locked building where people normally work at least six feet apart in separate offices, so at first blush at least I could see how someone could feel untouchable. They’re relaxing in their PJs while turning out a lot of people who can’t afford it with zero plan to help them with two weeks paid leave, for example, or a leave pool from FT employees (Which many FT employees have expressed support for; they’re trying to help PT folks and admin is just dithering). Like, I’m still on this week and next at my normal schedule, which is good because UI would be a bandaid on a gunshot wound the way my state handles it. I don’t think anyone in my life, save my husband, has ever fought so hard on my behalf for anything. So I feel grateful for my supervisor and disgusted/furious with administration. They’re being too cavalier about this and not caring that some people are still on with zero support, having to be out in public areas- which they are actively being encouraged by administration to use as normal! So yeah…it’s a big old mess here.

  26. Olive*

    I work in a call center, about 50 people or so (just in my office, but it’s a huge multinational company), and my company has been amazing so far. They got us all set up to work from home in about a week, we’re loving it so far. Call volume has dropped dramatically, so they are keeping us busy by training us on new processes, so that they don’t have to cut anybody’s hours. They’re so pleased with how smoothly it’s going (and no callouts), they’re already considering letting some people stay at home permanently.

  27. Ghost of a Ghost*

    I’ve been working from home in another state for 9 months so nothing’s really changed for me (bookkeeper). It did have the advantage of already having everything we need for remote work for the rest of the office though (Boss was really anti-WFH until faced with the alternative of losing me completely). Otherwise, my boss is actually doing pretty good with the people who have to be in the office, staggering who’s in when, getting all of our clients to do appointments for drop off/pick up tax returns, following recommended safe practices etc. I still don’t get any sick time if I do catch it, but I do have some flexibility in when I work during the day, as long as I get everything done. Could certainly be worse.

  28. Amber Rose*

    I’d say my company is nailing this pretty well.

    The first thing we had was a meeting where everyone was told that if they needed to stay home, they should stay home, and that time would be fully paid no matter how long it was (we have one person who may be off for months). As part of that meeting they also discussed our company’s financial situation and laid out how things were actually looking pretty OK. Not great, but OK.

    One manager whipped us up an enormous batch of sanitizer when we couldn’t buy any (and boy did we try and fail.) It helps that we stock isopropyl for sale lol. And we’ve had someone going around spraying handles and flat surfaces every end of day. Extra soap dispensers were put in the bathrooms too.

    Then I drafted a big email laying out our three phase plan. We’re at phase 2 right now: everyone who can work from home is, and everyone who can’t is doing week shares, so 2.5 days on/off with whoever they work closest with as long as that person isn’t sick. I think we probably won’t get to phase three since we’ve just been confirmed to be essential services so we don’t have to close.

    I send out weekly update emails on behalf of management so everyone knows what’s going on.

    And yesterday it was confirmed that we ARE getting our bonuses next month. It was a 50/50 split from management on whether they should, but the conclusion was that if we don’t reward people for their hard work, they won’t stick it out with us through the hard times. Which is true, and it also really makes us feel like we are a priority.

    Basically, we’re trying our best to accommodate everyone while creating the illusion for our customers that it’s business as usual.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      That’s amazing that you guys are still getting your bonuses. We’re supposed to get our quarterly bonus at the end of May, but no one has said whether or not that’s still going to happen. Honestly, since they already told us they’re postponing salary reviews, it’s not looking likely. *sigh*

      1. Amber Rose*

        I had basically assumed we weren’t getting them, but I’m happy we are. In the long run, the amount they would save by not giving us our bonuses probably isn’t enough to make such a huge difference anyway.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      That’s a really smart decision about the bonuses. One time we didn’t get ours at OldExjob for a legitimate reason, but it still seriously dampened morale.

  29. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    We have been fully remote for a while.
    Last week my boss (the director) said “do what you can, these are weird times, stay safe”.

    Today I emailed him to say I’m under the weather, but he hadn’t received it by the time he rang, so the call basically went “hey how’s things OH YIKES I JUST READ YOUR EMAIL get off the phone, stop working, get well, everything can wait”. I did, and once I mustered the energy to go upstairs I slept for three hours.

    Y’all, I am *done*. Please stay home. Protect yourselves, your families and your communities.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Thanks, both.

      I live with spouse, who Zoomed with his boss when I went to bed – she immediately gave him PTO for the rest of the week, and sent her best wishes. Another example of great practice!

  30. Squeeble*

    The majority of my workplace, myself included, can work from home and we are being well supported in doing so. For a few people who can’t really perform their functions, like receptionists, the management has acknowledged this and just asked them to be on call but with the understanding that they don’t have a lot they can really do. It was great of them to say this and put a few minds at ease.

  31. Leah K.*

    My country is currently under “shelter in place” order, so we must work from home. But even weeks before the order went in effect, we received company wide email encouraging us to work from home, and all of our managers took it very seriously. So, there was zero pressure to remain in the office, and in fact people who chose to do so for personal convenience reasons were strongly discouraged from doing so. The company also announced 2 weeks of paid leave for those who is unable to work from home either because the nature of their job doesn’t allow it or because of childcare issues due to COVID-19. You can work with your manager to decide how this time is going to be used. They also communicated that everyone needs to be flexible, so there is no set expectation for how many hours everyone works per day or when people are able to work (obviously, we are all exempt). We are to prioritize critical tasks and manage the rest of our workload based on our personal circumstance. Unfortunately, I am currently involved in some very high priority projects, so I can’t really let too much stuff slide, but I feel like both my direct supervisor and the grand boss have both behaved consistently with what has been communicated to us.

  32. LunaMei*

    It sounds kind of silly, but I appreciate that we have a dedicated work channel for fun conversations for my division (IT at a state university). The director who started it will ask fun questions each morning, and we’ll have themes (like post pictures of your pets, or plants, etc). I was never really into these sorts of things, but it’s been nice to just share and connect with all my coworkers this way.

    Also, everyone in my division, including our CIO, has been really understanding that we’re not going to be able to work at our same productivity levels as normal, because of kids, dependents, anxiety, etc. I think a lot of people have been going above and beyond in providing IT services for various things, but it’s nice that people are understanding when I have to reschedule a conference call because my children are having a meltdown in my face.

  33. Charlotte*

    Our management send an email saying that we can be flexible with working hours. They specifically mentioned that they didn’t expect people with children to work the full eight hours, because that we would be unrealistic. (They don’t expect it from childless personnel either)

  34. Amy Farrah Fowler*

    Pretty early on, they had everyone fill out a survey of what kind of support you’d need depending on different situations (if you get sick, if a family member is sick, if schools close, etc). My manager has been checking in with us at least twice a week about how we’re doing and if there’s any additional support we need. The vast majority of our full time staff work remotely, so really the change for me has been having my family around. My husband and I don’t have kids, so we haven’t had to worry about that.

    We’ve also been working on initiatives to try to help with online learning and converted all of our out in the field positions to remote positions in a matter of days. It’s been pretty impressive so far.

  35. CynicallySweet7*

    I honestly think the most helpful thing my manager / company is doing is being very understanding of the fact that people can’t be 100% engaged /happy right now. We’ve have people whose child care is gone, people trying to get their kids home from college, and people w/o appropriate set ups to work from home.

    My company has been very understanding about all this, worked with people where they can and made sure we all know our paychecks are still coming and we’ll have a job at the end of this.

    Some examples: I have a CO worker who is working 7-9 and then 3-8 bc of her husband’s work/childcare needs. They gave a woman a full day’s pay after she had to drive to Connecticut to get her daughter who lives in off campus housing bc the daughter was afraid to go on a plane (asmathic).

    Acnoewedge that this isn’t normal and help people the best you can (and be upfront if jobs will be lost, my bfs Co has been hinting that layoffs may be necessary which is very confusing/anxiety producing for him, either way he says he’d rather just know)

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      “the most helpful thing my manager / company is doing is being very understanding of the fact that people can’t be 100% engaged /happy right now.”

      Lordy, yes! I can just imagine the horror of having a boss in happy clappy mode through this.

  36. Points for Anonymity*

    My not-for-profit UK employer has guaranteed full pay, indefinitely, for anyone who gets sick.

  37. Constance Lloyd*

    A lot of people at my downtown nonprofit rely on public or other transportation services to get to work. Before going wfh, they updated their policy to include lack of access to safe transportation as something that would qualify you for the extra covid-19 specific paid leave. We serve folks with disabilities and a lot of our employees also have various disabilities that mean driving themself to work simply isn’t an option. These days we’re all wfh (we had to increase server size for this to be an option, something else I appreciate!) but it was so nice to see they recognized this additional safety concern their employees could be facing.

    1. Diahann Carroll*

      As somebody who doesn’t drive and who would have been relying on public transportation if I worked in my city, this is great when employers recognize that not everyone can and would give their employees alternatives so they can stay safe.

  38. Richard Hershberger*

    I work in a small law office. I am the only one here, holding down the fort as long as possible. When that is no longer possible I will work from home. I would rather be here. There are some things that need physical files, and the physical layout is much more conducive than anything at home would be.

    My wife is a high school teacher. They are ramping up to making at least some effort at continuing to teach. Not all parts of the district have decent internet, so they have to accommodate offline learning. It seems that this will involve mailing packets out. I’m not sure how that will work. But we do know that starting Monday all teachers will have virtual “office hours” every afternoon, when they are available to students via whatever form of communication the student has.

    The good news is that I have no financial concerns. Both our jobs are secure. Indeed, between lower expenses (gas is below $2/gallon and we aren’t eating out) and those checks we supposedly will be getting, we will come out ahead on the deal.

  39. LuckyAndThankful*

    I work for a large pharma company who is still open and manufacturing medications globally.
    For those that are non-essential, like myself, we are working from home for a few more weeks,. They have essentially banned all non-essential personnel from the site. We were granted a window to go in and collect some things to make WFH easier. If needed, extra monitors were ordered. Limited expensing is allowed for those without proper equipment at home. We are able to do our jobs 100% remotely and some of us do a few days a week anyway.

    My company has also stepped up our health plan. Removing co-pays and out of pocket for anything related to COVID-19. We are extremely lucky in that we are are still being paid.

    We have weekly check in calls, at least, and we are being fully supported to help our children with their school work if needed. Managers and staff are being encouraged to cut the number of phone calls and meetings per day so we can engage with our families as needed. We are also being encouraged to volunteer in the community, on company time, if we have a skill set that is needed.

    So many online resources have been provided by my company to help with working in this new way, burnout, ergonomics and adjusting to the new normal. We have a department text chain to communicate only in the event of an emergency.

    I really lucked out, and for me, everything has been seamless and has allowed me to continue to do my job and support my family during this different time.

  40. Proud of my leadership*

    I work for an institute at NIH so our response is probably more than most could do. Everyone in my office was sent home to telework almost two weeks ago. They were very flexible for people whose work normally doesn’t allow for telework and we were able to either find new work for them to do from home or to put them on administrative leave. We also found ways for contractors to telework so they could continue to be paid. Since then our leadership has had regular video meetings to provide us with information, sent regular emails with updates, established an intranet page with detailed information about COVID-19 for staff, established protocols for reporting any possible COVID-19 infection, set up a drive through test center for staff, and set up protocols to trace any contacts an infected staff member may have had so any staff who may have had contact can be alerted to self quarantine and be tested.

    1. Proud of my leadership*

      One note, not everyone at NIH is teleworking, though most are. Researchers working on COVID-19 are working at NIH as needed but practicing safety protocols.

      1. Proud of my leadership*

        We use Skype and WebEx. Teams is coming momentarily and I’ve heard that they may add Zoom. NIH has over 35k employees and contractors so there are a lot of people to support for virtual meetings. It has been working well so far. NIH also has an in house videocast service for large meetings and presentation.

    2. Tabby Baltimore*

      Another fed worker here. What application is your agency using to support its employees’ video meetings? Thanks.

  41. Kwelt*

    My 900 person company has weekly Virtual City Halls, where the CEO gives us a quick update on what’s happening with the company, and opens up for questions for about 15 minutes. The company has been reevaluating 2020 goals and being vocal about where that process is at, even though it’s not complete yet. All employees have been promised pay through the end of May, even if their jobs aren’t able to be done. My team of 30 has weekly meetings to review priorities and how they’re changing, and my team of 8 has daily meetings to do the same (and to just check in on each other!). So, overall, my company has been a real breath of fresh air in this crazy time.

    1. Kwelt*

      Oh, and all office employees are working from home. We’re in food manufacturing which is officially essential business, so some employees do have to go into work.

    2. lulu*

      same, daily video check ups for my team of 8 have been very useful, also reduced expectations for core hours, and overall flexibility

  42. Anonon doo doo doo doo doo*

    I’m a high school content area teacher and we switched to remote learning, which is a pretty drastic change for us in every possible way! Our admin have been checking in with us via email and I just had a Zoom meeting with my AP. They have been lavish with praise and responsive to issues. Mainly their concern is for the kids who have not been able to access remote learning because of various issues, such as not having internet, or one laptop for an adult working at home and three kids that need school work. We can’t wait to get back to school!

    1. Person from the Resume*

      My friends has kids at two different schools. The younger one’s school started teaching remotely right away and she says it’s been chaotic. Lessons arrive at all hours of the day, and it’s really unclear what her child has to do. The older one’s high school took the first week off of teaching as the kids early spring break but when they started teaching remotely it was organized and this child must complete the work by 3pm everyday.

      The ages of the kids makes a difference, but I bet allowing the school a week to plan and teachers a week to figure how to best distance teach versus giving the teachers a weekend to figure it out is probably a big factor in success.

  43. Brian*

    I work in fundraising for a health system of six hospitals. We went remote two weeks ago, and my boss has generally been awesome. My favorite thing she has done: we’ve gotten lots of donations of PPE and lots of people inquiring about donations or sewing masks. My boss has divvied up the emails that come in so we all get to spend about an hour each day thanking people for giving to us and telling them how much we appreciate their concern about our doctors and nurses. Seeing the flood of generosity from random strangers from the community and thanking people for their compassion has been incredibly comforting, and I look forward to that part of my day because it helps relieve my anxiety.

    1. Toads, Beetles, Bats*

      I love your supervisor for thinking to divvy up this task so everyone gets to share in the mitzvah.

    2. Elly*

      That’s just such an incredible idea – and one I never would have thought of! Just the fact of having an hour or so of positivity must make such a difference when everything is so hard!

  44. Fishships*

    We are all working from home. Check ins via Skype once a week. We send each other cute animal photos.

  45. On a pale mouse*

    I work for a very large grocery chain, so WFH isn’t an option for most of us. I won’t say they’ve done everything right, and they were a week later than a lot of businesses to put in a decent sick leave policy for people who have COVID-19 or are quarantined, but at least they did do it. (Now if they’d just put in a better one for normal times…) We are all getting bonuses, and they’re being more relaxed about attendance in general and trying to make sure people who need to stay home can do so without losing their job (though I don’t think they’re solving the income issue for high risk people who will be out longer than two weeks).

  46. Tuckerman*

    Before everyone started working remotely, my company nudged me to stay home because I’m at a higher risk for complications. They didn’t require any documentation from my healthcare provider. They made it easy for me to do the right thing for my health.

  47. Miss Muffet*

    I feel extra grateful for my company, reading the comments and posts on this blog the last couple of weeks. Both my own company and my client (I’m a consultant) have allocated a separate 14-day or 80-hour sick bank to use if you are impacted by the virus (for self-quarantine, caring for a sick family member, or even because you need to provide your own child care), extra flexibility around working from home, and even extra cash in paychecks to help managers and below make ends meet for the next few weeks (and the ability to decline it if you don’t, to help others out). It’s everything you could really ask for. I’ve been enjoying more video chats, including a virtual happy hour, to keep our personal connections as close as possible. Since my partner and I both have been able to keep/continue our jobs with no interruption, we’re making an extra effort to support our local small businesses financially during this time.
    I sure wish we saw this level of good faith from all employers (at least the large corporate ones who could really manage it…obvs small family businesses can’t necc do all of this!)

  48. Heidi*

    I just got an email that one of our psychiatry faculty is going to lead mindfulness meditation sessions on zoom. For the most part, we’re being mission-minded and business-like, but I do think the prolonged disruption to our routine is taking its toll. Our department heads are also holding weekly zoom check-ins to make sure we stay connected and can work out any issues as we transition our practice to telemedicine. We never did this on a department-wide basis before, so I’m actually getting to interact with people I wouldn’t normally see on campus. I’m also really proud of how the students have stepped up. Since classes are suspended, they’ve been taking shifts to construct face shields, staffing the phones at occupational health, and offering childcare for essential employees.

    1. Elle*

      One of our academics is doing a daily mindfulness session on teams, and it’s great! I give her some credit for me not having gone back to biting my nails!

  49. A.Manager*

    Starting at the top…
    WFH was mandated except for those that physically have to be in the office (a handful) about 2 weeks ago
    Update page specific to the situation on our intranet home page
    Weekly updates by email from our CEO
    Support and clear policies for management to operate under
    WFH employees told to take whatever equipment they needed
    Clear travel policies including restrictions in the early days
    Swift action/site closure and announcement when a positive case turned up in one of our facilities
    ISO business continuity certification long before this situation, so clear plans in place
    Global and regional task force teams spun up
    Clear directives about additional cleaning and supplies before office shut downs

    Team Specific…
    Encouragement to chat via phone/meeting/IM/Teams about non-work stuff
    My boss created a conference call/meeting bingo sheet (I’m one square away from winning)
    I’ve started a 2-3 time weekly opt in virtual lunch with my team
    General flexibility when it comes to kids and family at home with the employees

    Employee Observations…
    Offers for help and support (one employee wasn’t sure if she would be able to set up her computer equipment to wfh- another employee offered to come to her house to help)
    Offers to ‘ship TP’ and other things people may not have
    non work related questions, answers, and support going on
    More than the usual amount of check ins with coworkers (“Hey how’s it going” type check ins)

    1. GeorgiaB*

      I don’t know if we work for the same company or not, but that pretty much looks like what my company has done, with the addition of town hall calls with the CEO and other leadership whenever anything changes.

      1. A.Manager*

        Glad I name changed from my usual name on here :) I was a little afraid that some of this would be recognizable.

      2. BookishMiss*

        Yep, I’ve had lots of leadership check in meetings, emails, and town halls lately. I have a special COVID folder in my email just to keep it all easy to locate.

    2. periwinkle*

      Our Fortune 50 corporate response has been the same. My functional and divisional leadership has communicated frequently, with our VP setting up a series of open-topic discussions over the next few weeks.

      My previous and current teams operate virtually anyway due to geographic distribution; my current team is scattered across three time zones, or is it four now? Using Skype and WebEx is SOP, and now we’ve added Mattermost for both work and off-topic discussions. Alas, due to network capacity we’ve been asked to stop using our webcams so no on-camera visits from furry co-workers anymore.

      It’s quite a contrast to my spouse’s employer, another Fortune 50 company, where the culture is anti-WFH and the response has been disjointed, slow, and not very communicative. My employer is far from perfect but my opinion of them has definitely improved recently.

    3. Djuna*

      Maaaybe not the same company, but almost exactly the same. Plus a decent WFH allowance for all employees (chairs, desks, whatever folks need). Our IT team worked miracles, sourcing computers for folks and/or letting them bring their work set-up home. How they did that for the 400-ish people at our site astounds me.

      We’ve all been told to take it easy on ourselves and reassured that annual reviews etc. are still happening (had mine today). We’re also having random Zoom meetings and chatting a lot more than usual on Slack.

    4. BookishMiss*

      This is really similar to what my company did. Everything flipped to WFH on a dime because the plans were already laid and tested, and the C-suite is being extra-communicative and transparent. Our teams themselves are in constant contact with each other now more than when we were in the office, because we really really miss the social aspect – even though our jobs are talking to people all day, 8hrs on Skype meetings is very different from 8 hrs in person. Overall I’m really glad I work for a company that’s behaving appropriately.

  50. Wing Leader*

    Not me, but my mom is off of her job for three weeks with full pay and no leave time used.

  51. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

    My team is really social and chatty – the nightmare team it seems of some AAM commenters! We share a lot of our personal lives with each other. So we’ve all been struggling with the quarantine and not seeing each other. We have been doing four things to help everyone feel connected – making a point to individually reach out to others to talk about “stuff” and not work; making all our calls video calls; doing virtual lunches and happy hours – we tend to eat lunch as a team, so this is a way for us to fake it a little; and finally we’re using our project management software to create a fake slack with chat topics and a daily photo prompt. It’s really helped us all feel connected. It’s not perfect, but it’s something.

    1. Respectfully, Pumat Sol*

      Above is the team-specific stuff. Company-wide, we’ve shut down a lot of stores and shifted staff to fewer locations to support people who need to stay at home for their own health/caring of others. (We’re a retail business that is considered essential.) Our corporate office and call center are all WFH and have been for three weeks now. We have created an external web page to communicate to Customers plus an email. We created a separate COVID section of our internal blog page dedicated to information related to COVID – news and internal communications. All travel has been canceled. We’ve suspended some of our attendance policies, expanded coverage and made some things more flexible for people in the stores.

  52. another anonymous analyst*

    I work for a large outdoor retailer. We’ve all been WFH, but the office isn’t closed as some people (esp people who work with the apparel itself, designers, patternmakers, media folk) may still need to access machines and large image files that they can’t access via VPN. so to give them the space they need, everyone who can *must* WFH. my team is IT and we are ALL working from home. one of my direct reports and my direct manager are both in quarantine (we’re in canada and they both were in the states briefly).

    our senior leadership (that is our VPs and president) have announced they are taking a large paycut until the end of the year. that made me feel a lot better, like they actually have a stake in our companys success and are trying to avoid massive lay-offs–which have already started somewhat :(

    i also have a LOT of work to do, which is helping keep my mind off things. my manager has been super supportive. everyone is encouraged to take regular breaks during the day, use video for calls (i’ve gotten so many house tours!) and we’re somehow closer as a team. whatever happens (ie if i lose my job) it has been a really great experience at my company.

    1. another anonymous analyst*

      right and to add–we’ve gotten access to free headspace accounts, zoom yoga classes (to replace the in-office ones), some people have started remote friday beers. everyone is really concerned about employee morale.

  53. Gwen Soul*

    They started transitioning people to WAH before they had to and the CEO and our personal leaders have all sent out messages that they understand we may not be as productive now and they understand kids and pets being around (and they mean it!) several people are doing modified or reduced schedules to work with kids with the same pay.

    Our company over all is also building models and doing analytics to help the nation and other insurers as well

    1. Wing Leader*

      That’s great! Honestly, I’m personally more motivated and more productive when my boss recognizes that it’s not going to be perfect all the time.

  54. Maro*

    My boss told us two and a half weeks ago to start working from home whenever we felt it was best to do so for us. Then few days later she started encouraging us to work from home. Usually we can work from home a couple of days each week, provided we don’t have work that needs us to be on-site, but she said to not bother coming in unless we really needed to. We’ve mostly been communicating through emails and the occasional conference call, and she called each person individually to make sure we were all doing alright during this time. She’s also been very understanding that productivity will likely be lower during all of this and told us not to worry as long as we’re doing our best to get our hours in.

  55. Person from the Resume*

    My boss is great always. Last week she told me to fill out and send her a comp time form for overtime worked. I did but saw today that she added the hours I worked late this week (we were in meetings together) without me doing it myself.

    * Comp time for overtime is legal within the federal government.

  56. AJ*

    I work in biotech/diagnostics so we are staying open as an essential business. We’ve sent home about a third of our staff to work at home (this is a BIG deal since we have never never had a work from home policy). For those of us left who work in the lab we spread out our desks as far away from each other as possible, have cancelled meetings or moved them to the biggest conference room we can find. Our boss gave us a letter explaining why we are traveling to go to work and he went around to talk to everyone about how we are feeling. All in all, about as good as could be given the circumstances.

    1. AJ*

      Also, we already have a great PTO/sick leave accrual so I don’t think most people will have problems with that. I think they are trying to issue sick leave a couple of contractors too.

    2. DW*

      My company is in telecom so our tower site inspectors also have a letter to get through shut-down areas, airports, etc. The only employees who have to be in office are IT and the geotech folks (they analyze soils for foundation work so they have their own lab) but I’m betting they’re rotating WFH. Almost all our documents and deliverables have been digital for years (it makes documentation so much easier) so it was easy to transition to WFH, which we did *technically* allow but it was up to manager discretion and most didn’t allow it since our work is pretty collaborative.

      For my team, probably the best thing our supervisor has done happened yesterday. He heard through emergency services friends that our county was going to announce a stay-in-place order, and gave us a heads up so we had more time to get our last errands done. We were let go from his requirement to be online/available during business hours that morning.

  57. pretzelgirl*

    My company and management have been doing really great during this time. We are essential service that will not close, even during a lockdown time. I need to be at work. They have offered ample sick leave time if you get CO-VID or a family member gets it. Those that have more admin roles can work from home. They are constantly thanking us and asking us how we are doing. I feel pretty supported.

  58. Daria*

    Everyone in my company is working remotely right now. My entire department has a morning check-in where we talk about work things and casual things which helps us feel less lonely during these difficult times. We’ve also been using Slack a lot more than usual and we have lots of fun conversations going at all times so I still manage to laugh while doing my work. Overall we try to acknowledge that we’re doing the best that we can with the resources that we have and we’re trying to support each other as best as possible. It’s not easy but we’re trying!

  59. Data Lady*

    My daughter works for a large clothing retailer. Their stores are closed but they are continuing to pay their staff whatever the average number of hours they worked each week. That was huge to me!

    1. hermit crab*

      The public library where I work some weekend shifts is doing the same thing! Those of us who just pick up shifts and don’t have a regular schedule are getting paid based on the average of our last four pay periods. That’s way more than I expected!!!

  60. MissGirl*

    We already had a robust WFH set up including a $1000 to set up our home offices. This made the transition when our offices closed very easy. They’re offering to cover any telehealth appointment costs. They said they understand some people are watching kids and working. They told us to prioritize our physical and mental health. We’re having weekly company meetings when anyone can ask questions.

    We’re in healthcare consulting so they’re active working on virus related solutions for our clients.

  61. SometimesALurker*

    My employer has been mixed in their response (a lot of doing the right thing but a week or two later than I’d like), but one thing I appreciate is that while most of us are working from home and everything has been upended, my boss sent out a list of our new project priorities, letting us know which ones are now on the back burner and which ones to focus on. This may seem like a little thing, but my boss isn’t always clear on priorities generally, and it has been a huge help to know which deadlines still matter.

  62. Andri Byrne*

    Most of my company is working from home, except for essential employees or if they’re needed in the office for critical projects. All of our meetings are video now. We have daily email communication from the CEO and upper leadership that communicate the new policies. My manager has me sending EOD emails detailing what I did during the day while WFH, and we have weekly half-hour meetings.

    The junior members on the team (including me) have evening meetings and virtual chats to keep up socialization.

  63. Camellia*

    Mandatory work from home for the foreseeable future, and allowed us to take our docking stations and monitors (but not chairs) home with us. No requirements to have alternative child care. Supportive emails on how to handle working from home – stay in touch with colleagues just as you would if you were able to stop by someone’s desk and chat for a while, remember to take breaks and move around, and so forth. Daily team check-in meetings, so our managers can pass on the latest information and see how everyone is doing.

  64. Anon just in case*

    Great things my company is doing:
    – Keeping us all super informed about what’s going on (lots of emails, and we’ve had Q&A’s with the chief risk officer which are open to everyone in my part of the business and where anyone can ask questions)
    – Making a commitment to have as many people working from home as possible, and expanding server capacity to do so
    – Enacting policies so people who can’t work from home are kept far enough away from each other
    – Closing some branches so that others can be more thoroughly sanitized
    – Paying people bonus money each day where they have to come in for anyone making less than a certain amount per year (not naming actual amounts because anonymity, but the cutoff amount is somewhere around middle class in my country although I live in a high-COL area)

    Basically my only issue is that WFH is still only recommended and not mandatory for people who can do it (we’re considered an essential business), although I can see why they might prefer to not force people to do things, I suppose.

    1. Anon just in case*

      For the record, I didn’t mention sick days up there because we don’t have a limited amount of sick days in the first place – is that a US-only thing?

  65. Your friendly Claims adjuster*

    My employer started encouraging WFH a week or two before the governor started encouraging it. Since we’ve all converted to full time WFH, my supervisor has started doing daily chit chat Skype calls with our team. He’s also called individually a couple times to chat and see how we’re doing, which has been thoughtful of him.
    The most fun support is that our department has started a daily funny caption contest for a new photo every day. There aren’t any prizes, but it’s good for a couple laughs a day.

  66. CentsofTime*

    Since we are WFH for the foreseeable future, my manager has an open Zoom room for me and my other coworker to join and chat with her about work or anything in general if we’re feeling lonely :)
    It’s nice because we normally sit very close to each other and are able to chat throughout the day, so it’s great to mimic that and also have someone to talk to other than my family haha.

  67. Smeralda*

    My team (10 people) has video calls 3x a week and we start each one with a show-and-tell and ice breaker question. I think it would be annoying if we were all at the office, but the socialization is much appreciated right now.

  68. OwlEditor*

    My job has reacted wonderfully. We have a mix of employees in office across the country, but the majority work from home. The day the governor in my state announced a state of emergency, we were sent home. Even in the other state locations. We were allowed to take anything we needed, monitors, docks, a mouse, etc. (it looked a bit like everyone was stealing with people coming out of the building with computer equipment and plants). They just extended our WFH until next weekend.
    Our president has addressed us every week with the head of HR and answered questions from us and updated us on what we’re doing for our students (some of who have lost jobs, are in quarantine, etc).
    My manager set up a “Water cooler” meeting every other day for us to get together and chat in a group meeting on Teams. We choose the topic (trivia, movie quotes), and the only rule is we cannot talk about “it.” Which I love since every other meeting has devolved into a discussion about “it.”
    I love my job.

  69. Lucette Kensack*

    Large local nonprofit (~$50 mil budget, 450 employees)

    1) Sent everyone to work from home two weeks before it was ordered by our governor.

    2) Made adjustments to paid leave benefits to enable folks to take extended paid medical and caregiving leave without the usual paperwork requirements. (We have a paid leave benefit that aligns with FMLA, separate from our PTO.)

    3) Explicitly stated that it is understood that we won’t be as productive as usual, with kids at home, worries about loved ones, and our own anxieties about our health and finances.

    4) Quickly made Zoom and Slack available to our team. (We’re a verrrrry old fashioned organization; these kinds of tools were absolutely not on the radar before two weeks ago.)

  70. Chai Latte*

    Our principal has been super-supportive and we are doing distance learning. He let us come in (in small trickles) on Monday to get whatever we needed and we’re using conferencing to figure out how to serve our kids AND ensure that they still get food (we are Title 1 and most of our kids are on free or reduced lunch, so that is a huge issue.) He keeps saying “Health first, family second, students a close third.” I am so happy that he is taking this seriously, and taking us seriously.
    Unlike the four hurricanes in 2004 when we were shut down for weeks, we now have technology on our side and can make this work temporarily. So I can’t complain and I’m really grateful.

  71. Shalla*

    I work for a tech based company of about 400-ish people. Everyone is working from home and we’re having weekly townhall zoom meetings to keep us up-to-date. I was so impressed with the first meeting – emphasis on taking PTO if you need it, making sure to not over work because WFH can muddle the lines (CEO: WFH does not mean being available 24/7, set yourself some boundaries and hours and keep to it), acknowledgement that people with kids might have fewer hours or time shifted hours and to just let the team/project manager know so they can plan. We’re also having little zoom meeting activities here and there. My office has a zoom coffee break once a week, for example. I’m so happy with their response and how much they care about us employees.

  72. Dust Bunny*

    My supervisors bent over backwards to find work we could do remotely–thank goodness they switched from desktops computers to tablets last year so we have all our stuff already set up!–even for positions like mine that mostly need to be hands-on. I have a lot of PTO (also, my job has generous PTO) and I would use it if I had to, but I don’t have to as long as they have work for me to do. Plus, I like having a “work day” at home–I feel better, I’m distracted from the news, and my housemates leave me alone because *I’m working*. We get regular check-ins from our own department heads and from the executive director.

    I used to work for a veterinarian. I have no idea what my former employers are doing but the veterinarian I use for my own pets is doing curbside food delivery–you call ahead to reserve and pay for your stuff, then call when you get there and tell them which car you are and a masked employee brings it out–and I think they’re maybe doing drop-off appointments only or something to reduce traffic through the hospital itself. My grows-horns-and-breathes-fire-at-the-vet’s cat needs her shots soon so I guess I’ll find out how they want to handle that. Some of my friends’ vets are postponing all but emergency work. Both of my cats are indoor-only so they’re unlikely to get anything, anyway, if I have to put off their shots for a few months.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      (I currently work in an academic library, but I’m in the archives and almost everything is paper-based research. Of course we got a slew of requests right before we closed for two, no three, weeks, but nobody pushed back when we explained why we couldn’t handle them right now and would get back to them when we reopened.)

      1. Ada Doom*

        Archivist problems: My other half is an archivist, and we had a funny conversation about work from home where I said, “Well, if you really need something to do, we could go there once, load up with a bunch of boxes in the back of the car, and take them home and you can process them there.” He said, “You can’t take archival materials home!” and I laughed, “Because… the rules about protecting materials were made with months-long stay at home orders in mind? Plus your materials are boring and not fragile.” He thought about it for a moment and said, “Yea, but actually, most of it is so dusty and gross I don’t want it in the house.”

    2. ThatGirl*

      I had to take my dog to the vet last weekend (he threw up 3 times in a fairly short span of time) and they picked him up from my car, the vet called me while he examined my pup, and then the desk clerk took my card over the phone and they delivered him back to the car with meds and food. I also saw they were putting pick-up meds between the two doors for anyone who just needed to pick things up – they are champs.

  73. anxiousandisolated*

    My workplace went entirely online, and unfortunately due to the nature of my role as well as the heavily scaled-back operations I am unable to work. Thankfully they are continuing to pay me based on past schedules, which I am incredibly grateful for. My grand-grand boss doesn’t have the best history of being accommodating or generous, but despite some initial missteps in the beginning is proving to be quite supportive. (For context, I am immunocompromised and in the high at-risk group, so working in person wouldn’t have been an option for me no matter what).

    1. Ada Doom*

      That’s really good to hear: I think that there are some places that are surprising us in their adaptiveness to balance out those that surprise with their crappiness. I’m sorry to see you say “anxiousandisolated”, though. If there are any meetings, can you still participate in them?

      1. anxiousandisolated*

        No meetings, I worked the night shift alone so I never participated in meetings even when I was working there in person!

        The “anxious and isolated” is a reference to my self-isolation and anxiety disorder, thankfully I’m not alone in my isolation! I have my s.o. with me, but the virus is doing a number on my OCD, anxiety, and depression (mainly due to immunocompromised fears). The steady paycheck has helped with some, but not all of it!

  74. University worker*

    The university where I work has:
    – closed all campuses
    – told us all to work from home and provided the tools that people need to do that
    – moved all classes to online modalities
    – committed to continuing to pay everyone – including adjuncts and work study students – even if they can’t put in their normal hours

    University administrators have been sending weekly updates to keep us all informed of what’s happening. Our IT and technology specialists have helped set up special zoom sessions/spaces, such as mindfulness sessions led by faculty, virtual campus services spaces that are open throughout the day so people can drop in with their requests, happy hour, and more.

    1. Ada Doom*

      Paying the students was a huge relief for supervisors! It takes a special kind of student worker to give them remote work, even assuming there is some for them to do (a lot of student jobs involve being a body in a place when needed). That created pressure to go in to work so you weren’t leaving hem in a financial lurch, and feeling bad about choosing between your attendance/health and their pay.

      1. Res Admin*

        They are doing the same at my university. They are calculating how much the students would have worked and paying a lump sum on an upcoming paycheck.

        Also, we have been given opportunities for helping replenish a fund for helping students in crisis–the goal being to help all of the students get back to the place they were before all of this mess, whether it be help with tuition, living expenses, travel, whatever.

        It is good to see universities remaining focused on their mission to help the students.

  75. Kyubey*

    My company has been great. Nearly everyone can work from home and has been for 2 weeks- we are employee owned and their main concern is cash flow, and want to avoid layoffs. If salary cuts become necessary, the higher-ups- presidents & C-levels will take pay reductions first before lower level employees (hopefully this will not become necessary though) I gained a lot of respect for them when they announced this plan the other day.

  76. Emma*

    Our CEO and upper management are doing a decent job of keeping us informed. We went voluntary wfh on 3/16 and mandatory for nearly everyone on 3/23. For those of us who don’t regularly work from home, they got us up and running really quickly and smoothly.

    I’m an unofficial team lead so I’m trying to remember to check in with the people who count on me and see how they’re doing. But honestly it’s gone really well. Now I’m just waiting on an update on how much longer we will wfh because our governor (OK) announced a shelter in place order for three weeks earlier this week.

  77. Ada Doom*

    Public University System:
    * Saying people must work from home if they can, not just “if you like/your supervisor says so”
    * creating a new category of time off just for “covid” so we don’t have to burn through vacation or sick time (husband and I both work there) can use that when we have to watch the toddler instead of work (university daycare closed (plus, we would have him home at the point, since my 60 yr old mom helps us watch) (as if I have any sick time built back up after maternity and toddler).
    My Office in particular:
    * being flexible about what times people are able to work, and whether or how promptly we respond, and what is or isn’t urgent
    * MWF morning checkin via zoom. Initially helped us all keep track of where we were in emergency shut down stuff (library IT systems). Now it’s half katch up half chat and comparing notes about which store has what and where/when to shop when nobody else does and also which local ISP isn’t completely grinding to a halt under the strain.
    * We already had a shared ticketing system, google drive, zoom usage, so that helps a lot.

  78. academic librarian too*

    My supervisor is insisting that I take “down time” breaks I. The day to be offline. Whole vacation days. I struggle with working all the time, especially now that I am home. Today during the work day, I called a friend, I exercised on a stationary bike, I ate a leisurely breakfast. Scheduled an offline break if twenty minutes and sat in front of a SAD light and did a guided meditation. Now I am ready for our group check in at 10:3o. I will take a real lunch with the husband and stay off line until 2:00. I have blocking my schedule for these times so that no one puts another meeting on my schedule . I made a list of things that were on my plate and we agreed that most of them will not be done during the duration.
    She has encouraged me to say no.

    .

  79. Claire*

    My school management have been great about setting parental expectations and reassuring staff that we should take our time and rest and not rush to start setting work just because. They’ve emailed pupils, parents and staff daily with updates and expected timelines for decisions/information to come out, which has helped avoid teachers being swamped with questions. There has been clear communication about what’s expected of staff and pupils, and new policies have been drawn up to support this work. And we’ve got a whole-staff (opt-in) WhatsApp chat for people to chat and keep up socially – it does tend to devolve into memes over the course of the day, but that’s good too.

  80. Niktike*

    My company was 80% remote 20% in office before the coronavirus hit, but since March 3, we’ve been 100% remote and have completely shut down the in-person office.

    It wasn’t that big a difference, since most people were remote already, but it still was comforting to see how we were prioritizing employee safety.

    We also switched to flexible working hours to help the people who no longer have childcare.

  81. beepboppin*

    We are all working from home at the moment (university research setting). We’re a pretty social bunch in the office (not necessarily outside the office) but we work on individual projects so there’s not much need for collaboration between different project leads on the regular. We started a Microsoft Teams group to stay engaged with each other and bounce ideas about how to manage work arounds. And using Zoom for all meetings and encouraging Video feature just so we can see each other. But at the same time, we’ve moved several meetings offline and via email communication to allow everyone to respond in a time that works for them. Literally EVERYONE in my office has small children (like toddler age) and/or they are primary caregiver at the moment because their partner is considered an essential employee. So kids, cats and dogs are perfectly acceptable during work calls. Also our university has extended an additional 10 days of leave related to any COVID-19 issues whether sick ourselves, caring for sick ones or childcare. This is on top of an already generous leave policies that they have.

  82. WegMeck*

    My company is a software company not facing layoffs (currently) which was able to pivot to remote work early and easily (our solutions were already all cloud based, etc) – so we are lucky to be in a REALLY great position. That being said – I think they’re doing a great job of making the most of our advantages to try to provide as much support to employees as they can, while also pushing to keep the business afloat during this uncertain time. I’ve listed a lot of what they’re doing below – and while I don’t know that it’s anything extraordinary, it has contributed to an overall feeling of compassion and support that’s been really helpful for me, personally. Here’s a summary of what the company is doing, that I (a person not working at the senior leadership level) am privy to at least:

    1. Our CEO now addresses the company 2x every week for 15 minutes. He talks about a few things – company liquidity, being extremely candid about our performance as a business, and REALLY emphasizing that the company’s priority is the health and safety of its employees (both mentally and physically), while also pushing us to be doing our part to keep the business afloat. As part of his address, the CEO always reminds us to be exercising extra kindness and compassion towards one another, reminds folks that many of our team now find ourselves at home with kids or older relatives for whom we’re providing care while continuing to try to work full time, and emphasizes our need for flexibility towards one another at this time. On Wednesday’s address, he was very candid about the fact that some of our team have experienced the death of friends and loved ones as a result of this outbreak – and that number is likely to grow – so to make sure we’re TRULY being compassionate and kind with one another. We’re a company of ~500 – so still relatively small – but these messages also include heartfelt requests to reach out to management and the executive team if you’re not getting the support you need.

    2. Our company has already made the announcement that our physical offices will remain closed through May 1, at the earliest (and we’ll re-assess as we get closer to May 1, whether or not the office should remain closed). This removes a small kernel of ambiguity, which is helpful for my psychological health at least!

    3. Our company has made an announcement that, if the physical offices DO re-open on May 1, any parents who have kids who are unexpectedly out of school (due to closures) will still be provided all the flexibility the need to care for their children.

    4. The executive and operations team have a “Coronavirus Taskforce” that meets daily (15-30 minute stand-ups) and are being as transparent as they can about what they’re discussing (we’re an education and community engagement software company – so this is everything from operational decisions like the ones I mentioned above about office closures to more strategic decisions about whether we need product teams to be pivoting to meet the current needs of the market and the community). They have a running community page where they post updates.

    5. In addition to the twice-weekly CEO meetings, most teams have set up a weekly all-team check-in (again, just for 15-30 minutes) – to keep folks engaged with the whole team, ask questions, etc. It also means you’re getting face time each week with senior leadership – who are being open about how they’re struggling with kids at home, etc as well.

    6. Our already established weekly newsletter now includes relevant updates from the Coronavirus Taskforce as well.

    7. Folks are encouraged to use their video cameras and videochat, whenever possible. We already had this policy in place (our workforce is fairly distributed) – but it’s been even more relevant now, as we try to stay connected to each other – and it does make a BIG difference in feeling connected.

    8. Our HR/Talent team has been including lots of reminders about our health insurance’s mental health coverage, as well as EAP access. In addition, they’ve also set up “sharing” sessions – where employees can lead little informal “workshops” to help us stay connected, socially. There are folks leading at-home workout sessions, folks leading sessions on how to bake bread, folks talking about setting up virtual book clubs and movie nights, etc. We have a LOT of employees for whom work is a major, major piece of their social support network – I’m really impressed with how our company is trying to be creative about making sure that we combat the feelings of isolation this current quarantine is bringing up.

  83. hello*

    Our principal is new and has been great. Honestly knowing that our students are ok, because our district is taking awesome care of them, has been the biggest stress relief for me.

    In terms of ways he’s helped the staff, he’s been clear that he knows productivity at home with kids will be different, and he also started the meeting emphasizing that we all have jobs. We don’t have jobs that easily translate into WFH, so this was been a learning experience for everyone, and everyone has been very gracious and caring about it

  84. cactus lady*

    Some managers in my dept are setting up Zoom “happy hours” for their teams so people can have some social time with their coworkers, and folks really seem to like it! I have a standing 15 min video call with my cube mate to talk about non-work related things, like we would if we were in the office.

  85. JustMyImagination*

    Our whole department is working from home now. We are allowed to purchase office equipment like second monitors through purchasing and have it delivered to our homes.

    To stay engaged we’ve had contests for most creative Zoom backgrounds (bonus points for dressing in theme), virtual happy hours and coffee breaks. We’ve started a Teams site where people can share tips and tools they’ve found for efficiency and fitness, share recipes, and share funny pictures of our new “coworkers and interns”.

  86. Cori*

    We are in cyber-security and considered essential since hackers don’t stop creating their own viruses! Most of us were already set up to work remotely, and a month ago my boss, who is the CTO, instructed our MIS team to ensure that everyone, from receptionist to CEO, was set up to work remotely. When the quarantine was officially announced we already had everything in place. Our CEO has been sending out emails to remind us all that we are valued and have jobs. Each Department Head is holding daily GoToMeetings with their teams to catch up on work and to see that everyone is ok. We are all encouraged to take this time to relax as well; take the time we want/need with family; sick days have been extended (and we already had a generous sick policy). All in all, I have been so impressed with our company. I liked them a lot before this time, but even more now!

  87. CupcakeCounter*

    My manager has been great since the very beginning. One member of our team has an immunocompromised husband and he told her she had 100% decision power over whether or not to come into the office starting a couple of weeks before everyone else. Our company has been full time WFH for the last couple of weeks (our governor declared it mandatory on Monday and I’m now on my 3rd week home). The second he found out schools were closed, he messaged me and said that my WFH was extended until schools were back in session (I’m the only one on the team with school-aged kid that can’t be left alone). Obviously since the governor shut everything down that is now moot but 2 weeks ago it was a really nice thing to be told.
    We have a standing weekly 30 minute team chat where he passes on everything he knows from the C-suite meetings earlier that day as well as some one-on-one sessions to work through individual projects and challenges. The one thing he didn’t do was let me take my amazing chair home.

    1. CupcakeCounter*

      Oh, he has also sent some funny videos and memes for morale including one of him and his wife delivering pizza to her elderly parents wearing a scuba mask and snorkel and a blow up dino costume.

  88. PhillyRedhead*

    I’m a graphic designer in the marketing department of a financial services company. We’ve been on mandated remote work since 3/13, except for a very few (mailroom employees, people who need to process the physical checks we receive, etc.). We were allowed to bring home monitors, keyboards, mice, etc., to use at home.

    We’ve gotten reminders that our benefits include an EAP, a telemedicine app, and access to a financial wellness program. We also have access to LinkedIn Learning, which has expanded its courses to include tips on working remotely for those who don’t do it regularly.

    Overall, I’m happy with their response.
    We just finished our annual reviews, and have been told that our annual merit and cost-of-living raises will not be affected by the pandemic. We are even actively hiring.

    We’re being permitted to either stop or scale back on our Dependant Care FSA contributions.

    The leadership team meets every morning, and we’re getting regular communications from them with updates, reminders about our benefits, and reassurance that this is a weird time, they know employees are juggling work and caring for family members (not just children), and to make sure we take time for ourselves. My team has already had a couple of virtual happy hours at the end of the day.

    We already had a pretty generous PTO program by U.S. standards (new associates get 1.5 days per month from date of hire).

  89. Lizy*

    My company is essential (and really – we’re essential. We deliver fuel for farmers and no fuel = no tractors running = no food, so…) so we’re still up and running, but offices are closed to the public, and they’re busing butt to provide gloves, hand sanitizer, and so on.

    My direct manager has been very supportive – encouraging social distancing and flat-out saying if drivers don’t feel comfortable in a situation, don’t go there.

  90. Sabrina*

    When we all moved to online work, people were sending out so many resources and tips it was just overwhelming, especially as one of few people with a young kid. Then someone senior in our group replied all and said that because she does have to balance things with kids, she’s going to be prioritizing just getting the important things and she won’t have time to try all of these complicated ideas people were suggesting. It was so helpful for me to see her say that to everyone! Just seeing her admit how hard it is and how there just isn’t time for some of the extra stuff helped erase my guilt and made feel better about triaging my work.

  91. Count Boochie Flagrante*

    My company has been providing a breakfast and lunch allowance for all onsite employees at our cafeteria. While a lot of us are working from home, not everyone can, and having our meals taken care of eases a lot of stress when it comes to our picked-over and purchase-rationed grocery stores.

    1. KKB*

      Our office is providing take out meals for our remaining in office employees and is ordering from all types of restaurants, so I also feel like we are really trying to help the places that can only offer take-out at this time.

  92. Bex*

    My boss has been fantastic. Open communications through and through. He also led the push for everyone possible to start doing WFH, and has made it clear that things are different now. He has daily checkins with our team, and he has directly stated “things are different. We are facing personal challenges. I do not expect 100% from any of you. There’s too much. Do what you can and we will adjust.”

    We are the IT team, by the way – so being explicitly told that it was okay for us not to be going nonstop was so nice. He’s advocated for our team and for support from other departments as needed. He’s pared down our expected workload and communicated his expectations clearly.

    He also makes sure everyone is in the group chat each morning where we share silly pictures and conversations we’ve had with our “coworkers” (pets and/or children). He messages us throughout the day reminding us to stand up and stretch for 5 minutes, to move around, to take lunch breaks away from our work spaces as we work at home.

    He’s genuinely doing what a lot of companies only pay lip service to – treating the heath and wellbeing of his employees as a priority. And, from what I can see, the company on a whole is practicing this behavior.

    It’s weird. And nice. I came from a real crappy work situation to this so it’s weird to see how a good company runs.

  93. TomorrowTheWorld*

    Government health agency. We’re being fairly well-supported by both our management team and our Board of Supervisors. Most of the staff are able to do a lot of work from home, since they can’t meet with clients as they used to, and the rest of us are told to take time off if we need to, ill or not.

  94. TC*

    I work for a mid-sized tech company (well 15-20K employees, not sure if that qualifies as large or medium), with offices around the globe. They’ve been on top of the game the entire time and keeping us informed and closing offices quickly (first China, then Italy, etc) and moving people to work from home as things have developed, proactively cancelling events and other things like that. About a week ago we went full remote, all offices closed, and they requested anyone who wasn’t already setup to WFH to contact IT about getting a laptop. Already a large portion of my company was remote (myself included), so that’s helped the transition. They’ve also been having weekly all-hands calls to update us.

    The head of our department has been supportive in understanding there might be kids or other relatives at home and people may need to work odd hours sometimes, and just in general if we need any help if we or someone in our families get sick. They also had a video conference call this week (we never use video) just to check in with us all, show off pets, etc. It was very informal. Even though a lot of the folks I don’t actually know since our jobs don’t overlap, it was really nice. Kind of a comfort in all of us around the globe talking about things. And they’re doing a couple for people who couldn’t make it. I’m really grateful for how they’ve been handling it.

    While I already work from home and this isn’t different, that in and of itself is kind of weird, if that makes any sense?! Like this is totally normal day-to-day for me (well other than my spouse being home too), yet in a time when everything else is so different, so there’s this odd undercurrent of “this particular part of my life is so normal yet it’s so different to so many and everything else is crazy right now”, which feels a bit odd. But I guess all feelings are odd right now.

  95. UtOh!*

    I was not able to get my office computer (with two monitors) because I was on vacation during the time they mandated people work from home. My home set up which is fine and my manager told me to feel free to purchase anything I needed (within reason). I have ordered an external video card to connect a second monitor since I can’t do it through the VGA port on my (cheap) desktop. We have a team check in call daily, and had a one-on-one with my manager today where I was also told we got our bonuses today, which was a nice plus.

    Hope everyone is doing well all things considered.

  96. LunaLena*

    I work at a university, and besides remote work and classes, the school has announced that they will be paying all student employees the same as if they were working. Our university has a high percentage of older students (lots of military vets, people returning to school, first-gen students, etc), and they know a lot of them rely on their school jobs to help make ends meet, so they want to keep them as financially stable as possible. They are also continuing to operate the student food pantry by appointment.

    My direct boss is extremely supportive and has scheduled multiple video meetings for our department as a team and as individuals, to make sure we’re doing okay during self-isolation.

  97. Lore*

    My company, our IT department in particular, has done amazing work in ramping up all remote capacities, which were designed for occasional/one-day-a-week type of remote working (with a handful of fully remote employees across the country). 80 percent of the tools we use regularly now have either versions for web access or the ability to use your corporate user license on a home machine, and that’s on top of VPN/remote log-in capabilities. They’ve given us all access to corporate office supply and shipping accounts, supplied portable scanners to all who need them, and promised full reimbursement if for whatever reason you need to use a non-preferred service (for example, we have a corporate account with Staples for printing large documents, but the closest Staples is not a distance I could walk back from carrying three sets of page proofs, so I can print at my local shop).

    And on top of that, despite the extra expenses and downturn in sales environments, they are keeping to the profit-sharing agreement and announced a bonus that will pay out April 1, based on last year’s final financial results.

  98. KP*

    We are essential services who are in the middle of being purchased by a larger organization. We’ve been on the verge of closing for months, so it’s already been really stressful here – this uncertainty is just another layer.
    I don’t know that my company has done anything particularly helpful that they don’t always do – but I have noticed that my co-workers are being kinder and usual aggravations are let go with a lot less stress. It’s like we all took a moment to realize that we’re all at the edge now and random acts of kindness have become the norm. And Chocolate – almost everyone has access to chocolate now, which is sort of unusual for us.

  99. The Other Dawn*

    I work at a small community bank, which is considered an essential business in my state.

    I’m currently on medical leave, but I’m keeping in touch with my team. I’m told they’ve managed to enable everyone to work from home with the exception of people working in the branches. Although the lobbies aren’t open, the drive-ups are, as well as the ATMs and ITMs (interactive teller machines), so they have a very minimal onsite staff. A few employees are in the call center since they are the ones that staff the ITMs. I’m really impressed they managed to get WFH going for everyone in such a short time–we’re pretty small (18 branches and about 280 employees) and don’t have all the back office tech that bigger banks have (most of our tech is focused on the customer-facing aspects of the business).

    I haven’t heard anything about how they were or are handling those that wanted to WFH due to being high risk, or having to care for someone, etc., but they’re a good company so I’m pretty sure whatever they’re doing is reasonable.

  100. DataQueen*

    We are WFH across the board, and communication from our CEO is excellent, so the company itself is doing a great job. However, my staff is still anxious, so as a manager here are some things i’m trying to do:

    – More frequent check-in with each staff member – not to micromanage, just to let them know i’m here for any questions. Our official 1-1s are still once a week, but if we were in the office we’d see each other more than that. So 3x/week Zoom calls, even a few minutes long, help keep us connected.
    – Letting my staff with children know frequently that I know they aren’t going to be able to work 40 hours and I’m okay with that, and that they’re doing a great job and I appreciate the work they are able to do. I’ve probably said it and wrote it too much, but i want to make it super clear to them that I will never dock sick or vacation time during this period, that I understand how hard it is, and that I’m here to help them. I know I shouldn’t treat anyone differently because they have kids or not. But I don’t have children, and I can pick up the slack right now for my team. I won’t make anyone else without kids do that, but I can if I want to.
    – Also giving everyone permission to say no to work, meetings, etc. just like if we were still in the world. I think there’s a bit of a mentality of “Well, she knows i have nothing better to do, so i better accept this meeting request.” or “I can’t get this done by Friday unless i work til 2 am tonight but what can i say? It’s not like i have plans tonight!” but i want people to know that’s not true. Push it off! That’s fine! We need lives still, even if that life is just binging Tiger King.
    – Organizing “group” work activities – mostly webinars, and then setting up a live-chat so we can discuss what we’re hearing.
    – Organizing “fun” activities that are still 100% voluntary – like team lunch or happy hour on Zoom, sharing funny (appropriate) memes about working from home, a recipe-sharing yammer thread, etc.
    – Being really honest about my own struggles working from home. I’m not a mythical creature that loves work so much that this isn’t hard. I’ll tell them that I’m signing off at 2 to go for a run because I can’t stand being in this house anymore. And then also being honest that i haven’t set great boundaries and separating home and work, and telling them how i’m fixing that.
    – staying as transparent as possible, even when it means saying “The C-Suite is all talking about issue X. I can’t tell you what we’ve decided yet, and I’m sorry about that, but we are talking about it and I’ll continue to keep you in the loop as much as I can.”
    – Monitoring other companies bad press and taking steps to do the opposite or make sure they know we ARE the opposite. I don’t want someone on my staff hearing on the news “company hid that they don’t have soap” and then my team wonder “well, do we have soap?” so I see that and send an email saying “reminder, we have plenty of soap” (Not a great example because we are WFH, but you get the drill).
    – Picking up the phone instead of sending emails. In the office, i’d turn around and say “Hey, i just saw the TPS report. I thought we were going to make it blue. What happened?” but over email that could sound really abrasive if i’m not careful. So i pick up the phone so the emails can’t be misinterpreted.

    Honestly i hope this stuff helps. It’s not huge but i think it’s helpful and makes people feel and little more connected.

  101. londonedit*

    The main thing is that we’ve all been working from home for the last two weeks. I feel like my company was pretty proactive in deciding to implement home working across the board – being in London people were increasingly worried about commuting in by tube/train/bus, so I’m glad my employer took those concerns to heart.

    We’re mainly using Teams to communicate and it’s going pretty well – the bosses have set up channels for chat about pets, gardening, exercise, cookery etc and people are contributing to those. Plus I have a few rolling chat groups going with different sets of colleagues, so there’s plenty of chat and quick questions and ‘how’s it going’ check-ins happening.

    On a practical note, very early on the company set out its policy for sick pay etc – if anyone is diagnosed with or has good reason to believe they have coronavirus, they’ll get full pay for the duration of their illness. Anyone who needs time off to care for someone who falls ill will be on full pay for up to two weeks. They’re talking about allowing people to choose to be paid for unused holiday this year, seeing as no one can actually go anywhere for the next few weeks/months and we’re usually only allowed to roll over five days to the next year. Basically, they’re making us feel supported and no one is having to worry that they might not get paid if they do fall ill.

  102. NJAnonymous*

    My Big4 firm has created a separate bucket of PTO dedicated to COVID-19 issues. It includes time off needed if you get sick, if you have to care for someone who is sick, or if you’re dealing with kids being home if schools/daycare close. They’ve also put a moratorium on all travel (which is critical… most of us travel 50+% of the time).

    They’re working on getting some virtual tools up and running but getting anything like that through risk and infosec is a pain

  103. Surrogate Tongue Pop*

    We are a large critical/essential company (global). Our company has determined levels of operation for essential personnel (i.e. call centers), which is good and for those that must go in, are physically spreading them out as well as instituting massive disinfecting/cleaning. Boss(es) in my department has been quite supportive, and only ask that we start to use video for our calls amongst the team and our department (pioneers!). It really does help to stay connected, even if some days I resort to putting on a baseball hat to cover the unwashed hair.

    One thing I *wish* they had let us do is take some equipment home (besides our laptop). Like…a monitor. Wish they’d loosened the policy on that for non-essential personnel who did go remote. My laptop is tiny and working on detailed documents is taking much longer than I’d like.

    Other than that, we have tons of communications daily both from corporate and our individual site office (especially good when the “level” for various offices changes), support from all areas of leadership, lots of understanding, and flexibility.

  104. Snow globe*

    I work for a large bank, and their response has been fantastic:
    – all employees given additional 10 days off to deal with school closings
    – reimburse of up to $100 per day for employees earning <$50k for childcare services for school age children (including if family members are caring for the kids)
    – availability of 20 (additional) days of emergency child care or elder care (through a specific outside provider)
    -waiver of copays through company’s telehealth service (includes mental health)
    – anyone who can work from home is working from home. Company has had to increase network capacity
    -for clients, in most cases a 90 day deferral on loan payments is available

  105. rageismycaffeine*

    SO MUCH communication and transparency. Lots of understanding and flexibility as people navigate working from home. It’s made the whole situation much more bearable.

  106. OperaArt*

    Our IT help desk people have been going above and beyond even as they now have to work remotely.
    And a shoutout to our amazing IT department that managed to get several thousand people (instead of several hundred) onto VPN in less than a week, and have been able to keep the system going.

  107. MsMaryMary*

    We are all working from home. Leadership has been very vocal about taking care of our physical health as well as mental and encourages little breaks, flexibility, checking in on each other, use of our EAP, etc.

    We’re encouraged to call each other and not just rely on email or chat. There are several ongoing group texts where people commiserate with each other. Our area VP scheduled virtual happy hours or coffee breaks with each team over Zoom (one of the sales guys has apparently continued going into the office and he got busted during yesterday’s Zoom happy hour). We’ve restarted our seldom-used Slack. So far, it’s mostly pictures of people’s furry coworkers and hurriedly constructed home workspaces.

    In my industry it’s common for vendors to come in and do “lunch and learns” for us. Today one of them held a virtual lunch and learn and is sending all attendees a $15 Grubhub gift card. Not only do we get free food, but we can support a local restaurant. I love this idea.

    1. MsMaryMary*

      I should add that we also have an extremely generous sick time policy (basically unlimited), company-paid short and long term disability, and we’ve always been flexible around taking time to care for children or other family members.

  108. Vi Davis*

    My company of about 40 employees is handling the quarantine with a lot of skill. I’m really proud of us. The president of our company brings a high degree of personal maturity to his role, and is navigating uncertainty with grace.

    Successful expressions of leadership:
    – Communication. We’re bringing the entire company together for frequent updates, talking through changes in policy, asking for feedback, listening to feedback from all staffers.
    – Positive tone. On one call with leadership, our president said, “We’re going to spend the next five minutes talking about what’s not wrong right now.” He asked everyone to offer a reflection. Some people talked about the new closeness they feel to family members or roommates. Focusing deliberately on the bright side gave everyone a lift.
    – Re-focus on the essentials. Our leadership has pointed us back to the company mission/vision/values. Being reminded of the bigger picture has helped staffers remember that life will go on after the pandemic is over.
    – Participation in remedies. We are working hard to keep the team intact and avoid layoffs. To that end, the entire company is taking unpaid time off, amount to a 10% pay cut, for the foreseeable future. This is helping with cash flow. It’s also meaningful that no staff member is immune from the pay cut.
    – Frequent check-ins. Managers are communicating frequently with staff members through group calls and individual calls…. monitoring their wellness and simply listening.
    – Goal-setting. We are asking leaders to continue to work on long- and short-term goals for their teams. They are being held accountable for forward movement, despite managing a distributed team in a time of pandemic.

    Cream rises to the top at times like this. I hope everyone can take heart and pay close attention to good leaders around us right now. Oh, and keep washing your hands!

  109. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    Even before IT (and eventually my entire org) was told to WFH (minus very limited essential folks who cannot do their job remotely, and those have to be approved by a Dean or VP), my director told me I could do whatever I felt was best because I’m pregnant. Director then sent a great message to our area saying things like “do not be embarrassed if your child pops up in a meeting” and “no one is expecting this to be business as usual, just do your best”. We’re doing weekly team (~15 people) casual Teams check-ins, our bi-weekly team meetings, and my 3-person group is doing a daily voice-only call (which today featured a 3-year-old on his dad’s lap). In general people are being very kind to each other and themselves, which makes a huge difference (along with like, not having to come in and continuing to get paid, obviously).

  110. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I’m in management for one of several medical coding teams at a large hospital system. With all our optional services being severely curtailed, a lot of our areas are having severely reduced volume of work. The different teams’ management groups had a brainstorming meeting yesterday about what else can we do to keep as many people working as long as possible, without having to ask (or require) people to work fewer hours simply for lack of anything to keep them doing.

    Sounds like we’re going to be doing a lot of job shadowing and cross-training, which is not something we usually have the capacity to do a lot of properly. As a result, at the end of this tunnel, a lot of people will have gained additional training and on-the-job education that will open advancement opportunities to them to move to more advanced teams. In the process of doing that, we’re also going to be doing a serious and extended review and revamp on our process documentation, standards of work/job aids, and policy libraries to make sure that’s all up to snuff.

    Not gonna lie, I’m personally less than stoked about the part where if this works out the way we want it to, this will probably result in a lot of openings for completely new inexperienced coders on my team (mine is the team that handles the least complex cases, so they’re the most likely to advance somewhere else) that I will then need to train, because I really hate training and I’m not very good at it, but needs must.

  111. Res Admin*

    All non-essential personnel are required to work from home right now. So Boss has instituted a morning Zoom video meeting every morning. Part of the meeting is to share work info and make certain everyone is on the same page (we were in the middle of several HUGE projects when all this happened), however most of it is to check in and see how everyone is doing (hence, video meetings), share ways to make work from home and life in general go more smoothly, and collaborate on ways to work as a team to help our in our community.

    It really does seem to help. In some ways, I think we are more productive and more collaborative right now. It will be interesting to see what new practices carry on once we are back in the office.

  112. Mel_05*

    My company has been doing a great job.

    Many of us work from home once or twice a week, but the company wasn’t set up to have us all remote it in all the time.

    They were really quick to act once it was clear how bad this was going to be. They immediately let anyone who had extra cause for concern work from home. Then they were really quick to get it set up so almost everyone else could work from home.

    I was amazed at how *much* can be done remotely as well. I thought there were some areas that would just get shut down (with a huge loss in revenue), but they’ve actually got contingency plans for everything!

    They keep us updated on any developments that affect us, but so far it seems that it is running smoothly, albeit a little slower, since demand is lagging in some areas.

  113. CoffeeforLife*

    I have a cottage business and I’ve been making a concerted effort to be kind to myself. Allowing space for my emotions (they are swirling) and not to putting so much pressure on being productive and creative right now.

    Today I’m cleaning my space and allowing my thoughts to meander. Hopefully inspiration will strike, but if it doesn’t, I’ll have a disinfected work bench and a clear mind.

    I’m a perfectionist and a harsh self-critic so this is the best thing I can do for my employee (me).

    It also helps that my partner is WFH right now and available to give hugs when I feel overwhelmed.

    1. Sam I Am*

      Good on you. I have a patchwork of mostly self-employed work and I’ve been all over the map. Like the house is super clean but laws of adulting say I should shower more.
      Take care!

  114. AyBeeCee*

    Late Friday we did a team call so we could chit chat, talk about our plans for the weekend, where we had been able to find various supplies, etc. The team lead made sure everyone got a chance to talk at least a little. It was a nice way to catch up at the virtual water cooler.

    Someone had also organized a chat channel people could opt into that does random one minute work outs. This existed since the beginning of the year as a sort of exercise/movement resolution thing, everyone does their own thing for one minute (planks, wall sits, bring in hand weights to do something arm related, etc.) and then we get back to work. We’re all doing it at home now so we say in the chat what exercise we’re doing since we’re not all in the same room like we used to be (cube farm).

  115. Llama Wrangler*

    -We’re fully remote (as required by local policy, but they made the move before it was required)
    -Ensuring pay for part-time staff
    -Being transparent and having weekly calls with the CEO where people can ask questions
    -Being flexible with working hours
    -Exploring reducing working hours, while keeping full pay

  116. Jay*

    For once I think I lucked out because it’s surprisingly not horrible for me.
    I work in printing and we’re “essential” because we do business with banking even though it’s a tiny percentage of our clients. I have to physically go to work because it’s not a job that can be done remotely but there’s not that many of us to begin with and we’re all spread out from each other.
    A couple people including myself are thankfully salaried but everyone else is contracted so even though we’re getting next to no business my boss doesn’t want to close unless we absolutely have to because the company won’t pay them at all. My coworker is still on a temp to hire contract so I took last Friday off as a mental health day so we could pick up a few extra hours.
    I was really annoyed with my boss initially because he seemed pretty apathetic to the situation, but once the stay at home order went into effect he was more open about us knowing that he was doing everything possible to make sure people don’t get screwed and since I’m salaried with PTO I can be flexible about stuff if my anxiety gets too bad which I appreciated a lot.

  117. Coder von Frankenstein*

    My team was told to work from home, and our boss trusts us to do that and doesn’t try to micromanage us.
    We get regular updates from our department leadership on how the university is dealing with the situation and what the expected impact is. (Obviously, we would all like more certainty, but they can’t very well give us certainty when they’re in the dark themselves, and anything is better than nothing.)
    Accepting that the usual expectations for WFH have to be relaxed a bit; for example, screaming kids in the background on conference calls is something one now takes in stride.

  118. AnonToday*

    I work in security for a state university (no dorms) Our director has sworn he will keep us working because obviously security is needed, but with so few people on campus we weren’t sure if we would be fully staffed. We’ve not only been sort of busy keeping the wrong people out, but the school said they don’t want to lose any of us to other jobs. It was very reassuring because I don’t have the luxury of working from home like so many, and I couldn’t go more than a couple weeks without working.

  119. ZuZu*

    My company has been doing well! I work for a large financial services firm, so we fortunately have a lot of resources. I think about 90% of the company is working from home, and they are still figuring out how to get more people remote where possible.

    They rolled out new benefits this week, including “relief” days separate from our usual PTO, and additional paid sick time if you are diagnosed. Employees get access to an online health system that can refer you for testing if needed. There’s almost daily updates from our senior leadership, and a website dedicated to how our company is handling the pandemic. Overall, the messaging has been really positive and supportive of employees, which I appreciate. On a smaller scale, my group is having Friday afternoon “happy hours” where we video chat with a drink and just catch up on work. Everyone is also just really understanding that we’re going to get interrupted by kids, pets, spouses, etc. and that we can try to be productive, but it’s not “business as usual”.

    With the market being what it is, I don’t feel totally secure in my job, but I’m happy with how my company has been handling everything.

  120. Grace*

    UK, one larger office (London) and one smaller (other city), fewer than one hundred employees overall:

    Everyone is working from home – it happened to coincide with the government’s crackdown on WHF but we would have done it anyway. For people who usually have three screens (laptop and two monitors) the office manager has ordered an extra monitor and associated cables for us to make things easier.

    The standard weekly all-company meetings and departmental meetings are more frequent – two all-company meetings per week and daily departmental ones. For our department, we conclude each meeting with HoD taking a screenshot of Zoom gallery view and everyone in the same row or column has a smaller 3-4 person water-cooler chat. Other departments have similar things – I think everyone’s done a show-and-tell by now (mostly houseplants) or they’re doing 15-minute pictionary games or the like. The all-company meetings are also including reminders that the standard subsidised therapist access is still available, albeit online, and completely confidential.

    People with kids – including the CEO and my HoD – are being incredibly open about their childcare responsibilities and the times that they’re on-duty, which I think really reassures everyone else that it’s okay to have your kids affecting your productivity! We were all pretty active on Slack to begin with (at least, my department was) but now we’ve also got a channel for nothing but happy virus-related news (community banding together sort of thing) and pet photos.

  121. My company is a unicorn*

    So, so many things.

    We’re all remote right now. Everyone got $100 to spend to help make working remote easier, and we are allowed to spend it on pretty much anything. Chair? Sure. But also things like plants to make your space nicer, or toys to keep your kids occupied.

    We were all told that if we are taking care of kids/relatives, and the company returns to the office before their care does, those people can remain remote until the care situation resolves.

    30 minute paid break each day where people are leading a virtual 15 minutes of stretching, and 15 minutes of meditation.

    Unlimited sick time (this was in place before, but you know, helps now too).

    Daily emails and videos from execs thanking everyone and cheering us all on.

    Remote sessions by coaches on how to balance working from home for managers, and also on working from home when you have kids underfoot.

    Actually anonymous twice-weekly surveys checking in on how we’re doing, asking if there’s anything they can do to help, and then acting to do so if possible.

    I could go on, and on. This, by the way, is how you earn loyalty from your employees.

  122. Justin*

    We’re in NYC. They sent us home as of last Monday (basically once the schools closed, they couldn’t justify it).

    We are still working, remotely. We can’t do some of our work because we are employee trainers for a gov’t agency. We are consultants, so we’re just twiddling our thumbs (editing old courses, transforming old courses into online versions) waiting for said agency to request some training. The agency itself is still open but operating from home like the rest of us. My boss seems a bit nervous the agency will not see us as necessary, but frankly we have a longterm agreement from the (surely to be broke) city so, we are very lucky our project should be fine longterm. (The project started right before the last recession and could easily have been canceled back then.) We’ve been having zoom calls and trying out various web platforms to see what would be best for training once that eventually happens. I… have issues with my job but it’s actually a lot more pleasant from home. I have been impressed with the kindness of my colleagues and have been enjoying collaboration. Could be a lot worse.

    Not work, but school is usually included in the Friday posts, so: school has been a mess (I’m a doctoral student), absurd mixed messaging about shifting information. I mostly ignore what they say and just keep doing my work (to stay sane and fight anxiety) and got an acceptance for a chapter publication (that I submitted long ago). My professors have been supportive, and I told them I will always keep writing and reading so help the others.

    I feel bad that… I’m doing okay during this. I was doing very poorly before it was confirmed we could stay home. I have forged what I believe is a sustainable routine to manage my mental health and physical health. I am worried about my dad (who is old) and my baby (who is not), but everyone seems fine thus far.

    I can see Elmhurst hospital from my window, but from 3 miles away it’s just a building – it’s not like it’s in flames. And things look fairly normal. I walk with my dog/baby/wife and don’t touch anything or come near people (aside from groceries). It’s very, very strange – I live above a subway and it’s running (rarely but still), cars are driving (not that many, but still), it mostly looks like a perpetual Sunday morning in my area, even though it’s anything but. Mostly it’s all just sad. I expect I and my closest folks will be okay (both in body and in spirit), but I sure did think one “nearby mass casaulty experience” was plenty, thanks. I swear the collective trauma of anyone who has lived here for more than 19 years is pretty immense, even without direct impact. (I participated in a large study of collective trauma from 9/11 a while ago. I suspect there will be plenty of those after this.)

    Okay that’s enough.

  123. Lora*

    We are an essential business (really – pharmaceuticals manufacturing), so we are still open with some people on site. But.

    1) Anyone not directly in the manufacturing area and support labs and warehouses, or constructing new manufacturing capacity, is working from home. Like, they padlocked the doors to buildings that are offices-only, and told everyone that they WOULD be working from home. Technically direct managers are supposed to have some say over whether they want you to come in, but…not really. Senior management went home first and stayed home, both due to exposure risk (they travel a lot) and to set an example.

    2) Hand sanitizer is being produced at many sites where it is unavailable in stores and given to employees. Cleaning staff which would normally be in the office areas have been kept on and are now working to clean the manufacturing buildings more frequently. Many posters about handwashing and the latest statistics.

    3) Nurse taking temperatures daily. Anyone with a fever, routed to doctor and sent for 14 day quarantine. All quarantine times are fully paid for and not taken out of regular PTO banks.

    4) Contact tracing same day to inform anyone in contact with someone diagnosed. Employees are required to keep a daily spreadsheet of everyone they were in contact with for this purpose. People in contact with someone diagnosed are also quarantined, paid. They do actually notify the whole site when someone is diagnosed and which department they are in, but not the personal details obviously.

    5) Daily newsletter updates of whether anyone else on site has been diagnosed, what is going on, what safety measures to take, has anything changed.

    6) Additional gloves and disinfectant wipes provided at staircases (for holding a stair rail so you don’t fall down the stairs OR get corona) and restrooms (for opening the bathroom door). Where possible, doors are propped open so you don’t have to touch them. There are new complicated procedures in the manufacturing locker rooms to ensure nobody’s street clothing can ever touch anyone else’s locker or shoes in the shoe rack.

    7) IT added more VPN capacity and another server to help working from home. We are not being particularly closely monitored – in fact, they were careful to tell us not to over-use the VPN, just get our email and whatever files we need for the day on our desktops and upload them again at night, spend the day logged off as much as you can.

    8) Daily guided meditation sessions via Zoom. I am not kidding. 15 minutes of free happy thoughts. Also, soda and dessert are free in the cafeteria if we prefer to stress-eat. Also not kidding. And two well-being seminars which have a sort of vague description – not sure what they are about exactly, other than to make you feel grounded.

    9) Cafeteria tables and chairs re-arranged to ensure everyone is 6 feet apart, and cashless transactions only. Break rooms have been closed and people are asked to eat at their desks wherever possible.

    10) Frequent reminders and reassurances that we should assert our new 6′ personal space requirements as needed.

    11) Conference rooms are closed and all meetings must be Zoom or email.

    12) A complicated procedure for moving equipment from one part of a building to another, so that the people moving the stuff don’t come in contact with each other.

    13) Frequent-ish all hands meetings via Zoom to give people updates and allow people to ask questions. They do take a lot of questions, which you can email or post during the meeting, so you can email and they won’t say who asked if you don’t feel comfortable with everyone knowing it was you who asked.

  124. PurplePartridge*

    I started a new job about a month before we switched to WFH due to COVID19, and was the first in a planned hiring spree due to anticipated growth. As things have progressed and some clients putting work on hold I’ve been nervous that we’re heading towards layoffs and I’d be on the short list as the last one hired. My boss has actually been proactive in reaching out and reassuring me that they believe they have enough work for the duration, and aren’t discussing layoffs. He’s done a good job of making sure that anything that could read as concerning to my job security is explained to me and that I should reach out I have any questions.

  125. EEB*

    My boss set up a half-hour Zoom meeting for our team (nine people) every morning. He’ll share work-related updates if he has them, but the meeting is more just to check in, see how people are doing, make some jokes, and start the work day with some face-to-face interaction. It’s been a really helpful way of staying engaged, and it also helps mark the start of the workday, which can be hard to do when working from home.

  126. GS*

    The top levels of our organization told us to work from home; the middle levels said to do so only after approvals and after we’d all physically signed some agreements that had our signature, our manager’s signature, and the higher up’s signature.

    My normally letter-of-the-law supervisor collected the required information on a spreadsheet, told us to go home and scan the signed documents when we could, and that she would take care of the rest. In normal circumstances I’d have expected her to tell us to wait till the higher ups had time to sign and return and properly file the contracts. She also specifically inquired about layoffs at several levels. Further, on the first day as this was blowing up, she said, “I probably won’t work from home but I completely support anyone who wants to and we’ll make it work for you” which helped with the optics of her being in the office a couple days longer than I was (I think we have a max of 3 people at the office at once now, normally 50+ employees).

    I send in an email to her every morning: what I plan to do, what I got done, what I need from her. She’s very appreciative of that contact.

    1. GS*

      I’m also feeling ultra stressed and when I said I’d be taking some half days for “a health issue” next week she just said to tell her when I was unavailable without probing.

  127. QCI*

    My manufacturing plant has implemented as much social distancing within the plant as possible, while working us overtime. They also said if you get sick they wont count it against you (no points) and to use your (limited) vacation days for it.

    They did cater some very average sandwiches for lunch last week, so there’s that.

  128. Anon for this*

    My direct manager has been amazing. We typically work from home two days/week, but manager started allowing us to work fully remotely two weeks ago. Manager is still allowing this even though senior management is making manager work on-site. We do work for an essential provider, but our particular roles could be done remotely 100% of the time. Very thankful for manager’s support during this time, and in general- my manager is wonderful.

  129. Ada Doom*

    Libraries across our state are closed and many of them need staff to track hours and show they are “working”. One idea that we have been pushing strongly to people who don’t have work that can be done remotely is “professional development.” i.e. learn stuff online. Are there any free courses or videos about your area of work? Could you take some tutorials on using Office/Excel or start to learn something like javascript online? Even general things like project management or time management count as professional development in some way and are part of your work!

    1. Anon for this*

      I have some issues with this. I have faculty status. I have as much if not more to do while WFH and this notion that I need to track every single thing I do and now have to take extra professional development courses is something I am pushing back on. Hard. I barely have time to take a lunch and now I’m supposed to use that to learn javascript?

  130. Erinwithans*

    My work has a couple of entirely remote workers (including me), but is weirdly stingy on letting people who are in the area work remotely, and we have an entire important department that has always been told they couldn’t work from home. My company bought ~200 new laptops and got everything setup and moved everyone to WFH full time in about a week of prep time. We’re all WFH for the next 3 weeks at least.

    The C-level execs are still obviously uncomfortable with some of it – lots of “We have to be PRODUCTIVE and PROVE that you can work from home!!!!” style communications, but they’re trying, which counts for a lot. We’ve been reassured our jobs are safe at all levels. It’s been a bit of an adventure – people are slllooooowly learning how to mute in company-wide meetings, the VPN crashed on and off the first two days – but honestly I think now that we’ve had to do it, it’ll be hard to say why we can’t keep doing it.

    My boss took time out of our regular team meeting to just really check in with each of us and have us all talk a bit about how we’re doing, which was nice. Some people keep starting meme-sharing threads of “Song of the day” emails, which I personally find distracting and annoying, but is clearly a comfort to some of our more extroverted coworkers who like that kind of office talk, so I’m glad they’re getting it. My boss, at least, has stressed that if we need to take some time out to get outside and go for a walk, or go grocery shopping during a less-peak time, we’re welcome to, as long as we let people know we’ll be away from our desk.

  131. nnn*

    The most useful thing my manager did was tell us “do what you have to do”. If you need to flex your hours, flex your hours. If you need to take a break, take a break. If you’re not able to work for whatever reason, simply communicate that fact.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      Agreed! We normally have some flex time, which I appreciate, but they’re definitely going above and beyond with being considerate during this time. Which I so appreciate (I definitely know my production is not where it normally is right now, and it’s really nice to be able to talk candidly about that with my boss – and the reply is to discuss ways to improve productivity versus getting “in trouble”).

  132. Closed UK Theatre*

    I have been so so impressed by my employee: a nonprofit theatre. This is obviously an industry that is really really suffering, and we are expecting to lose a huge amount of our income. Yet they have handled this situation so well.

    A sample of things:
    – A huge Staff Wellbeing email from the executive which included a reminder about our EAP, mental health tips, working from home tips, and a stern warning not to work any extra hours. It also said that no one is expecting things to be normal given how insane everything is.
    -Another email from the head of my department basically saying “we mean it… do not work extra hours and separate work from free time as best you can”
    -Our teams have been encouraged to chat once a day, but this is very much about reducing isolation and not about being checked in on. I don’t feel monitored at all at the moment.
    -A lot of our office socialisation activities (pub quizzes, book clubs, staff lunches, etc) have become virtual, which I think is such a nice gesture. Again, these are very optional.
    -At my team meetings, we have a designated moment to share good news/something joyful.
    -Some people are choosing to (completely optionally) have a video chat client open in the background while they work with colleagues. It really is optional, and for those of us who are really struggling with the loneliness and isolation, I find it comforting every so often.

    I’m just so impressed and grateful, especially given everything I have seen from Ask a Manager and heard from lots of other sources.

  133. Third or Nothing!*

    When our metroplex began announcing school and daycare closures left and right, management said anyone who doesn’t have childcare can work from home while caring for their children.

    Now that we are under a shelter in place order, EVERYONE is working from home except for the few people who can’t because of the requirements of their jobs.

    Normally on Fridays we share breakfast together and have a chit chat meeting for the first 30 or so minutes of the morning. Upper management just set up a video conference where we can do that tomorrow from our homes. I guess they’ll finally get to see my 2.5 year old daughter like they’ve been asking for every year during the annual family night.

  134. Wendy*

    My boss allowed me to rearrange the furniture in our reception area where my desk is so I’m barricaded on 3 sides to keep people away from me. I joke that I just need a blanket and my fort will be complete!

    I’m considered higher risk because I’m a diabetic and we work in homecare so we’re an essential service, but a lot of our therapists aren’t respecting the 2m rule or the don’t come into the office unless it’s very very important rule. Since my position can’t work from home, he basically gave me free rein to reorganise everything so I could free safer and protected.

  135. Super Duper Anon*

    My company has been fantastic. They are a global company but headquartered in the US (I am in Canada). We are a software/engineering company so we all have the ability to work from home (almost everyone has a laptop) and we already had VPN and Microsoft Teams in place and almost all of our meetings are already done through teams. The senior management team had a COVID committee in place as soon as the situation started happening in China, since we have a Chinese office and they have been great about communicating plans as soon as they made a decision. Over and over again they have emphasized how our health and safety is the number one priority, and actually mean it. They immediately closed offices and sent everyone to work from home as soon as it was mandated by the local area governments.

    At first we were only allowed to bring home our laptops and small things like headsets, but as they realized the closures were going to be longer than a few weeks, were were allowed to schedule a trip into the office to pick up larger stuff like monitors and desk chairs. Our CEO sent out a nice reassuring video, including acknowledging the fact that it is OK if a kid or pet wanders into frame during a video meeting, that is life. Other than IT having to beef up our VPN connections, it has been pretty much work as usual. Our payroll staff will have to run into the office briefly to process it, but nobody else will be around so they will be able to social distance during that time.

    My manager checks in on me every so often to see how I am doing and we have sent cat pictures around to lighten the mood. I feel very supported and now that I have an OK setup at home, am getting more comfortable about staying home for the long haul.

  136. Ms.Vader*

    I’m from British Columbia. My company is amazing – they have allowed my entire departo work from home and even allowed some people to take things like monitors home to make working from home easier. Usually we can’t do that. They are also enacting a plan to allow up to 75% of the workforce to work from home (we have about 4000 employees) – we are customer facing and essential service so we still need some people in office. But working with the government they’ve made it possible to do a lot of transactions online or over the phone that couldn’t be done before. The CEO does a daily communication to the employees discussing the situation and what further measures are taking place. My managers do weekly pulse checks to make sure we are all okay. I’m really proud how our company has responded and how my entire country has.

  137. Anonymous for This*

    Our employer (state government) has gone farther than I ever thought they would.

    If you’re sent home because you’re considered non-essential and can’t work from home, you’re getting admin leave with pay.

    If you can work from home remotely, they will have you do that, unless your position *requires* you to be on-site. Because something like this hasn’t been anticipated, ITSD is slammed getting thousands of people set up for remote access, so that will take a couple of weeks, but that means we can still serve the public with a slight delay.

    If you have pending tests, you test positive, or have an impacted household member, you can’t report to work, you have to take sick leave or annual leave, but if you don’t have that leave, you can “borrow” leave (meaning you still get paid) and when you come back to work, you “repay” the leave at the regular accrual rate.

    If you have to be home because your daycare or adult care facility for someone you care for is closed, and you have to stay home and can’t remote work, you can use annual leave, sick leave, comp time, or borrowed leave. You can also try to do flexible schedules (for instance, if you normally work during the day, you might be able to work at night instead so you can remain with the kids during the day and another adult can remain with the kids at night) or job splitting with other team members (one does 4 hours in the morning, the other does 4 hours in the afternoon, so you don’t have to take as much leave).

    I didn’t expect all of this, to be honest, and although I am fortunate not to have to exercise any of these options, I’m glad they are available.

  138. Grace*

    I work at a nonprofit organization with about 50 employees. We are all working from home, and have been WFH for the past almost two weeks now.

    My department has two video conference calls a week. We were originally using GoToMeeting which has been awful – luckily we are making the switch to Zoom so this should make those calls go much more smoothly!

    The CEO sent out an e-mail assuring everyone that their jobs are secure. Depending on how the situation unfolds, this may not always be the case… however I’m aware we have enough liquidity to last several months, so that is something!

    We are also utilizing technology that we have never used before. I used to work for a tech company and have missed things like Slack and having the ability to access the server through VPN! We are using these things again and it makes me really happy. :)

  139. Former Retail Lifer*

    I work in property management. Since we deal with people’s homes, we are considered essential and still have to come into work. However, our corporate office has put in place policies to stop all face-to-face contact. Our office is locked and there’s a sign up to call or email. We’re no longer showing apartments and we’re only doing “virtual” tours (via Skype or FaceTime). My company set up a group page for sharing tips, tricks, advice, and for the group to help with any challenges or questions people have with these types of tours. Only emergency work orders are being done, and a whole protocol has been rolled out (including not allowing the resident to be in the same room as the technician). Managers have a DAILY call with updates on new policies, the latest regulations rolled out in our state, and we’re allowed to ask questions and talk about challenges. We expect many people to be unable to pay rent, so there’s a whole new procedure that’s been introduced that, with owner approval, will eliminate late fees and allow us to apply your security deposit to your rent if your job was directly affected by this. They’ve also sent us email templates to help us communicate these changes in the best way possible to residents. I feel incredibly supported.

    1. Former Retail Lifer*

      Also, if we get diagnosed with coronavirus, we will receive PTO that does not count against our normal vacation/sick days,

  140. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

    We’re 99% remote, the 1% remaining are the infrastructure people who are taking turns to supervise the servers. Since our government tightened controls, they sent an email detailing what to do should we need to be outside for critical business reasons. We also get a weekly email from the Communications team with status updates (server conditions, WFH, how to act if someone falls ill, etc).

  141. Kate*

    Professor now (suddenly) teaching online here. The first week of our transition, our chair sent each of us a personal email asking how we were doing and encouraging us to check in with her if we needed anything. It was so moving and I’m planning to do the same next week for my students. I’ve also gotten personal emails from support services, such as the spiritual counseling at our university. This is a great idea–there may be mass emails going out about support available but that will be the first thing people don’t read when they’re pressed for time.

  142. Candid Candidate*

    I was offered a full-time job that requires me to relocate a little over a week before the virus became a serious problem. I’d already been laid off for about three months at that point, so I’m very grateful, but I’ve still felt very vulnerable–worried that the company will have to rescind the offer and lay off existing workers, or that I wouldn’t be able to start until the quarantine is lifted. To my relief, the HR person immediately reached out and reassured me that I will be able to start on time remotely. They are going to ship my equipment (laptop, etc), and have worked very quickly to get all new hires set up for remote on-boarding. I also received a very kind email from my new boss yesterday asking how I was doing and if my plans are still in place to move. I just feel so cared for in this moment, and I won’t forget it.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      That is wonderful! I can’t imagine how much that helped with everything!! Moving is already stressful without adding… all this!

  143. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    Working from home for the Dept of Labor. Helping folks try to get claims through…

    Amazed at how complete my remote access to stuff is, when there were previously lots of concerns about whether we could do it at all.
    Staff meeting via video conference every afternoon.
    Happily at full pay. Spending generously locally for my neighborhood businesses.

  144. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

    My company has as many people working from home as possible (we’re a lab, so it’s not everybody), and while we’re under a shelter-in-place order, they’ve arranged workstations so everybody is at least 6ft apart.

    The other thing they’re doing that is objectively good for a lot of folks, but still hard to deal with anyway, is reduce all full-time staff to part-time, but nobody is losing any benefits at all. We’re working 30/wk instead of 40.
    This means they don’t have to lay anyone off (we’re a small, private lab). Also, the bigwigs have all taken pay cuts (the biggest wig always takes a financial hit before the employees, as a rule set by him).

    1. Tongue Cluckin' Grammarian*

      Clarification:
      We aren’t getting much business since only life-saving/critical surgeries are happening. All routine or elective stuff is being put off.
      Without the business (but still having to pay building rent, IT services, etc etc) we’re not bringing in enough money to support all personnel with full-time paychecks. Putting us at part-time will keep the business going without laying off anyone.

  145. LSP*

    My company has always had a policy requiring when people are going out on, say, maternity leave, that they use all their own PTO before they take FMLA. In response to COVID-19, they are re-evaluating that policy to make it easier for people to take the FMLA now offered by the government. (This might be the ONLY right thing my firm is doing aside from having people work at home, but I’m happy to see it happen).

  146. caps22*

    I work for a small biotech company that is largely lab-based, which means working from home for most employees isn’t really possible. Despite the cost and delays in core projects, our company was incredibly proactive in planning ahead as soon as possible as news of the coronavirus pandemic increased, so that already last week we were prepared for a full shut down, which was a week ahead of government guidance. At full pay for all employees, might I add. It’s true that we have better cash reserves than many similarly sized companies, but instead of being difficult about the deadlines they’ve been harping on for months, our board has just been very reassuring and trying to keep up morale. It’s not perfect, but my company is trying to be decent.

  147. Abogado Avocado*

    I’m designated as essential at a government office in a state with a rising number of infections. All our non-exempt employees are working from home and only a small number of exempt are required to be in-office to staff various sites for “continuity of government operations.” For those of us providing that continuity, our boss has demanded that we schedule two half-days off a week because she fears we will get sick if we continue to work the long days we have been. (Of course, we all acknowledge that we’ve been working these long days because we have had to, not because we want to put ourselves in harm’s way.) Anyway, to make two half-days off a week possible, the boss held a one-hour staff meeting in which each of us designated who would step into our role on those half-days off. It’s been enormously helpful for my mental health to think I might have a half-day off soon and to know who’ll be taking over for those hours!

  148. Christy*

    I’m on the management team so this one is cheating, a little, but we’re the technology team for our 1600-person organization, and we’re having an open dial-in line where you can call if you have issues connecting to our VPN. We’ve troubleshooted home wifi, we’ve helped people set up VoIP, we’ve researched internet options in rural Mississippi. It’s made the transition easier for people who have never worked from home before.

    On a larger scale, we’re all 100% working from home even though a sizeable portion of people can’t do their jobs at home–they’re fundamentally changing the job so they can avoid going in to the office.

  149. Anonymous Possum*

    While there are plenty of “wrongs” I could mention, the good news is that I finally decided to put in a Work From Home Request and it was approved! I’m glad because even though it will be trickier to do most of my regular job duties from home, I’ve taken on additional projects that will help members of our community get through this crisis.

    It’s great to be able to keep working while self-isolating and helping people in the process.

  150. Anne*

    I work for a very small fitness company (less than 20 employees), and we’re contracted out to run a local hospital’s gym. Our state has recently ordered that all gyms be closed, and the hospital ended up putting everyone’s membership dues on hold which has always been how they paid my boss’ management fee who in turn used that to pay us.

    Well, our boss decided to still pay us through our posted schedule at half our rate while we all do a few tasks for her at home. She had NO obligation to do that, but I’m so thankful for her generosity as she herself is not getting paid for the next month.

  151. Feline*

    My manager is being incredibly understanding about the Murphy’s Law week I have had. I am working remote, and my home internet connection was out an entire day. Then my phone died, taking my VPN token app with it. I’m afraid to say “what else could go wrong?” because it will. As I fall further and further behind, my manager must be shielding me from blowback, because I have heard no complaints from any stakeholders.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Home internet is going to be stressed during this time given the extra traffic! I’m glad everyone is being understanding but keep that in mind when things are going down and jamming up :)

      1. fposte*

        Yes, I’m hearing that from professors doing lectures from home, which take a bunch of bandwidth, while there’s also a spouse working from home and kids doing on-line school. I’m thinking it might be time to get a new router myself.

  152. Bopper*

    We did this ourselves but twice a week our usual lunch group at work has lunch together via Zoom. We also had a Zoom cocktail party as well. We shared our pets on camera.
    Work let us take our monitors and docking stations home.

  153. Save and grateful*

    I work for a major coffee company that has closed most stores. (I posted last week)
    I am at home with 30 days pay and am now allowed a free food item and drink a day.
    I am not using that benefit because my home food supply is ok, but for those who may be food insecure it is really important.
    I do want to acknowledge that corporations that are paying employees are being good corporate citizens, as it must be relieving the load on unemployment claims.

    1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      I’m so relieved to hear they’re also giving employees shift drink/eats too! That’s one thing I’ve been worried about with the food industry, people don’t realize sometimes the only time someone who works at a restaurant eats is at work with their shift meal :(

  154. Sheffy4*

    My management is supporting me/us by having us work from home, and purchasing us new laptops to help make it all easier. She has been notoriously wary of remote work in the past, so I was pleasantly surprised when it all shifted quickly and we were directed to work from home if we could. I’m also pleasantly surprised at the lack of micro-managing and asking what we are doing – I have been able to do my work without having to make many reports on what I’ve actually been up to, which is a nice feeling to be trusted and not have to prove that I’m making good use of my time. I’m hoping this bodes well for a long term adoption of remote work as an option on a more regular basis.

  155. Nicki Name*

    When we were told to WFH, everyone was allowed to take their docking stations and extra monitors home. That’s made a huge difference in the WFH experience.

    The biggest thing is just the understanding attitude that all the corporate communications have had. It’s been acknowledged that this is weird and stressful for everyone, and many people are stuck at home with young children, equally trapped housemates, etc. and productivity is just going to be down for a while, and it’s okay, and upper management will assume we’re all doing our best.

  156. AnonJ*

    I was on an office supply web site at just the right time apparently, and scored a large supply of tp and tissues. I set aside a 2 month supply for the office and have been giving the rest out to employees who can’t find any locally (empty shelves for over 2 weeks now). The person in I put in charge of it said he felt like Santa, and the staff have been crazy appreciative. We’re now shut down/work from home as a non-essential business but will have couple people in once a week to take care of what can’t be done at home. So we’re still able to have people come in to pick up supplies once a week and have offered to deliver to those who can’t get in.

  157. SC in NC*

    I work for a large multi-national that has been supportive and aggressively addressing the situation.
    – anyone who can work remotely is required to
    – facilities or positions that can not be done remotely are still working but heightened cleaning, social distancing, reduced hours, etc are all in place
    – no visitors to any of our locations and even company employees are treated as visitors if they try to go to another company location
    -some buildings on complete lockdown with no admittance, others have limited access by select personnel only and require a 48 hour approval process for employees not on the approved list
    – regular webex/video team meetings. check-ins, etc
    – regular corporate communication and updates
    – travel to customers must be mission critical and is severely scrutinized prior to approval. If approved, employee must have and make use of mask, gloves, sanitizer and temperature monitoring device
    – mandatory 14 day isolation if any symptoms or travel to area of concern

  158. Jessie*

    Such a great thread!

    I work for a global financial services company. We have blanket work from home now (apart from a very small number of critical roles), and for the past few weeks as the situation has ramped up have been getting regular emails, updates, encouragement to work from home, and reassurance we can cancel travel if not comfortable. It’s obviously now no travel and all work from home.

    We’re being encouraged to talk openly about how we’re feeling, to have daily checkins and talk about non-work stuff, to share pictures of our kids, pets, working spaces, days, and they’ve said they understand we’ll need to be flexible with schools off etc too. Top management, c-suite down have been posting about their challenges with homeschooling and taking part in discussions about tips, and talking about how they’re finding everything too. Plus people have been able to expense work from home setups. I was saying to a friend the other day that their response really has been incredible – acknowledging the human impact has been especially useful.

  159. Master Bean Counter*

    We went to remote work if possible before we were ever required. I thought it was an over reaction at first, but now I’m glad as local cases are starting to pop us.
    I check in with my team at least once a day by Skype. I’ve been working and responding when they need me, whether it’s 6 am or 8 pm.
    My bosses are making sure that everybody has good internet connections. One employee is getting point to point into the servers because their local internet sucks. Also they live south of the border so there may come a time when she can’t cross over for a couple of weeks.

  160. Gazebo Slayer*

    The CEO of my company is driving over some physical goods I need for my job to my apartment on Monday! Also, we had a company Zoom happy hour.

  161. athiker10*

    It took my organization longer than I would have preferred to direct non-essential staff to work from home as much as possible, but fortunately we’re now at the point of working from home unless we’re essential. Our programs head is working from our essential staffing building I think in solidarity with lower waged workers who have to come in to work. We have some essential staff that are currently at higher risk with COVID and they have been directed to stay at home and our staff are working on finding non-traditional projects & responsibilities to keep them working so that we can pay them (nonprofit). We’re also giving immediate access to our long term illness benefit instead of having to use a week of PTO before accessing the long term illness benefit for either everyone who is sick or those who have suspected COVID-19. I’d have to go back and look to know for sure.

  162. Miss Bee*

    The CEO of our company is sending weekly emails to update everyone on the company’s plans as far as timelines go. So far it’s been mostly “we are continuing to do as the CDC advises”, but with time starting to blur together I’ve found them grounding.

    Also boss has considerably lightened up on water cooler chat in slack, while we still keep the main chat very focused there is now a place for off-topic chatter/tv show recs/commiserating

  163. NGL*

    My direct manager asked me and the other teammate who report to her to do a quick check-in in the mornings via email. What we’re working on (or not, as technology fails us), what meetings we have, and then we throw in a little chit-chat about how we’re holding up, pictures of our pets, etc. She’s being really great about encouraging us to take time for ourselves during the day, to NOT work 24/7, and helping us triage what projects/meetings can be moved. Considering her boss is sending the entire team lots of half-baked ideas of what we can be doing to market teapots at this time, it’s nice to have my boss helping manage expectations and workloads for what of those ideas are actually priorities.

  164. EddieSherbert*

    We’re totally working from home now, but our building has a fitness center where we can take free fitness classes – the company is continuing to pay the instructor to lead daily virtual classes over a web-conference meeting. It’s really helped me stay motivated to work out (and working out helps with the anxious energy).

    They’ve also organized a virtual happy hour over web-conference and we have a virtual “grill-out” coming up (set for a day the weather is supposed to be nice – so encouraging us to take the laptop outside for it if we can do so safely).

  165. Britta Perry*

    The head of our group actually spent last week considering laying off half of the team (the ‘bottom’ half) because he was convinced we couldn’t work efficiently from home. Thankfully, the 3 people right under him (right above me) spent the week arguing for keeping us. On their end, it was personal as well as professional–they care about us as people. But, they were smart enough to know what the big boss would respond to–numbers and a clear, practical plan, not emotions or morality.

    Their dedication to supporting us was really inspiring. They were dealing with their own issues–one is married to a surgeon, and one has 2 kids under 5 who are home right now, and was having to juggle caring for them. But, they put all that aside to support the rest of the team, and I know that they’re the reason we still have jobs.

  166. Cordoba*

    My employer has service technicians that travel all over the world working on our products. Due to how quickly travel restrictions were put in place, some of these techs are stuck wherever they are and cannot get to back their home country until things change.

    We’ve communicated to all of them (both direct employees and third-party contractors) that since they got stuck as a result of traveling for us we will continue to pay their hotel, per-diem, and base daily rate for the duration even if they run out of work to do or cannot get on-site due to local restrictions.

    I almost wound up in this same situation, and made it home from far away about 1 day before that became impossible. When I was contemplating the prospect of being stuck it was very nice to not have to worry about losing out financially as a result.

  167. Alex*

    My company is paying all hourly workers who must go into work as “essential employees” 25% more than their regular pay.

    They are also paying all hourly employees who can’t work from home and aren’t essential their usual pay, without taking anything from PTO, even though they are just at home not working.

    I don’t fall into either of these categories though. Those are things that are being done at the highest levels of management (I work for a HUGE organization). I’m very glad, because it is usually the lowest paid people who fall into those categories, and I’m glad my company is protecting them. Now, what my more immediate management is doing falls outside the scope of this question…..

  168. KAnneE*

    My employer went from a pretty toxic culture about WFH & attendance in general (like, our executive director literally stands at his window to watch the parking garage and will pick up the phone and call your manager if you are coming in at 8:02) & not allowing work from home at all, ever, no matter what. And salaried employees being required to use PTO if they do not get 8 hrs in from 8-5–no making up time on weekends or coming in early/staying late. Generally super inflexible on this stuff.

    To everyone working 100% remotely. Due to the nature of some of our employees being very rural (like off the road system rural, no high speed internet rural, etc) & their community offices being closed, some people are unable to WFH. This included being allowed to take home external monitors and other equipment as needed in order to be as productive as possible. They are requiring a time-stamped log of work to track productivity, which is annoying, but honestly a really good start from a company that hasn’t allowed WFH.

    The last 2 weeks have been WFH optional, but paid at normal wages “executive discretion”. So those that are mission critical (AP, Payroll, some other teams) are working pretty much a normal week, while others are working pretty minimally. Basically working at all the last two weeks has been optional for most people. There have been some taking advantage of this, but so far as I can tell, most people are, y’know, working and being productive.

    As the situation unfolds in the areas we operate in we are getting pretty much daily updates. It’s unclear right now what next week will look like (we should get an update Friday), and whether we will continue to be WFH/getting paid at all (we are looking at some worst case scenarios on our revenue streams being pretty likely), they have been doing an uncharacteristically good job of being transparent, open to suggestions, and FLEXIBLE.

  169. Lauren*

    1) We have weekly office meetings that a high level person attends (our company president or an EVP from our HQ). This makes us feel heard as our office EVP downplays everything (everyone is dealing with this so no big deal) and we feel like children when he talks vs. adults who are being informed on company issues on clients cutting budgets / cash flow / freezes / etc.

    2) We have virtual trivia and pictionary over Zoom. This is amazing! We are more engaged now than we were in our office.

    3) We have an office chat on Teams that allows us to just chat as a team.

    4) Have a work purpose to the micromanaging meetings where you want to confirm everyone is working. Another team I am a part of does a 3x weekly chat in which a EVP starts off discuss our health assuming everyone is fine so I told him about someone I know who died. Don’t ask about health please. We don’t want to talk about our health on work calls this often especially as more people are getting sick.

  170. coffeeandpearls*

    My university will continue to pay student workers through the end of the semester, and they do not need to report to work.

  171. Ruth (UK)*

    I work administratively at a UK university.

    They began getting people to work from home a few weeks ago and had everyone either working from home or not coming in almost a week before the government enforced the lockdown, except for very few and specific jobs (eg. security checks).

    Before a UK-wide lockdown was enforced, they assisted with things like moving desk-chairs and other equipment to people’s homes to set them up better for homeworking, and provided all home-workers with a laptop at minimum.

    They are continuing to pay the full salary of all employees and not doing any layoffs (though they have frozen hiring), including those who are not able to work from home in the meantime.

    For home-workers, they remind us that we are not required or expected to be able to do our normal workload, and we frequently receive updates from the central communications teams about the situation. We have often received thank you emails and updates from the heads of our various departments/etc.

    People who become sick or unable to work will continue to receive their full pay.

    My workplace has been in the local news because in the labs they now have a production line going and a team of people are making sanitizer for the local hospital – this particular team is an exception to the ‘work from home’ system in place, but I know some people on the team and they’re maintaining social distancing and hygiene etc.

  172. Deliliah*

    My company scrambled to get everyone laptops and let us start working from home earlier than the state went on lockdown. Our IT guy can remote in to our laptops to fix things, so that’s been helpful. We’re also doing a “virtual happy hour” once a week where anyone can Skype in and shoot the shirt for a while to help us stay connected with humanity.

  173. Theymightbegiants*

    My company is allowing medically trained employees 14 weeks of paid leave to provide treatment/diagnosing/public health support for COVID-19. It is also matching employees charitable contributions to local charities 2-1 (so the charity gets 3x).
    Not a day goes by when they don’t reach out in some way. Reminding us of the EAP program, providing free Teledoc services, starting a list of songs that make people happy, holding an “ask a medical expert” session and posting the video, posting a directory of local food pantries, etc. They are getting it right.

  174. KareBear*

    My company has been amazing. We are a large company (1000+) but they were able phased everyone that could possibly work from home within the first week. HR has been sending out regular updates on policy/guideline changes and well as various resources we can use (like places offering online workouts, mediations, and mental health resources). For those that have to stay at work they have increased cleaning, and made policies to reduce contact with others as much as possible. They have also offered free food onsite so those working don’t have to go out to buy lunch at all.
    For leave we have always had basically unlimited sick time (5 sick days, but if you need more you can go on short time disability with full pay for up to 3 months), so that isn’t an issue. Now they are just requiring everyone to record and notify management if you have COVID19 (none so far!!).
    My manager is doing twice a week check-ins with out team, we do a video conference call just to chat and catch up. They have been really fun so far. He is also checking in with us throughout the week to make sure we have everything we need and offering support for things not just work related.
    Our company uses Teams (Microsoft) for all our meeting now, and that is also working really well as you can just do audio if you want but can do video and share screens really easily as well.

  175. Jeff*

    I work as a temp (through a staffing agency) at a big tech company, and it’s been really incredible in terms of the support I’ve been getting. We were one of the first companies to start working from home (first week of March) before things had started to get really bad. The company has said that anyone who is a temp, contractor, or vendor that has their work temporarily reduced or eliminated will still be compensated for the time they would have been working. We’ve all also had our sick time increased if we develop symptoms or get a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, up to 14 days (and my guess is that it would actually be longer if needed). My staffing agency has been regularly sending updates on how to stay safe and work from home effectively. They’ve also provided information about where to get help if you start developing symptoms or start suffering from mental stress or depression.

    But here’s the best thing (to me) in all of this. I support internal teams in my work globally, some of whom are on stricter lockdowns than the U.S. is right now (I’m based in the Los Angeles area). Many of those people have kids and no longer have access to daycare. The company has basically shifted all of their business strategy around my area to help support those internal team members right now rather than just trying to pursue its normal business objectives. Once things calm down, we’ll readjust, but basically the message from the higher-ups has been that we’re human beings all dealing with unprecedented problems, and trying to push normal business objectives in the midst of this doesn’t make sense and isn’t fair to those who are suffering. This is a massive company where it can be really easy to feel like just a cog in the machine. This has been an example where even as someone who’s not a full time employee still feels cared for and treated like a human being rather than just a number. My on-site supervisors have told me to reach out if I ever start feeling depressed or lonely or like I can’t continue my work. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. They’ve also reassured me that my work won’t be reduced, but even with that, I feel really cared for and protected in case something does happen. And my supervisors have also encouraged me to take regular breaks, work on other projects, and generally just try to stay sane in a pretty insane time.

    So there are companies doing this the right way. It’s still hard – my wife and I have two kids, one 3 years old, the other 2 months old – and there is a lot of stress in my life. I’m really thankful and fortunate that my work isn’t causing any more stress.

  176. Krabby*

    Our IT department had to work around the clock under extremely stressful conditions to ensure that the 450 employees in our office could work from home. Where I am, our company does not have to legally pay IT workers overtime or give them time in lieu, but my company is giving them all a pretty sizable bonus and two extra days of vacation as a thank you.

    Our Admin team does not have enough work for us to fully staff them up working from home, so they’re all on part-time right now. However, our management team is working out a project for them that will fill the gap (basically documentation in some really key areas). Starting next week they’ll be moving back to full time, and the project will be a huge time-saver for the entire company once we’re back in the office.

  177. EH*

    I work for a global, massive, software company so I know some of our measures are out of reach for many.
    We’ve all been working from home for weeks – I’m in London and was working from home at least a week before the “lockdown” went in place. Because we’re all suddenly working from home rather than the office, and a lot of our work is computer based, we all have permission to spend and EXPENSE $250 on setting up a home office. I bought a monitor.
    We’re having regular (weekly) company All Hands during which our company founder (a big cheese and public figure) speaks, as do a lot of our leadership. They’ve also put on a schedule of well-being sessions. Some are guided meditation, some are from ‘experts’ in living well. We’re very encouraged to “do what we need to do” to look after ourselves and our families.
    On a more local level, teams have been putting on virtual get-togethers. One of my Area VPs lead a virtual aerobics class for her team! Lots are having team drinks via the internet. I organise a weekly video cal for my whole global team, with people in US, Europe, Asia and South America – last week we did trivia!

  178. Lulu*

    We’re a large company all working from home. For anyone who wants to, my boss is paying for a daily streaming workout class. We’re also doing a weekly virtual happy hour, which is nice to see everyone’s face!

  179. writerbecc*

    I work in Seattle so things got started early here. My company followed in the footsteps of the big tech employers and sent us all home. We had a few people who couldn’t work from home due to technical issues and I have to say, I appreciate what my company did in pushing to make it possible for them. Now everyone in our office is working from home. The shelter in place order ends 4/6 but we don’t think we’re going back to the office until maybe May.

    We use Microsoft Teams during the day so my team can chat with each other, which definitely helps. Also Skype. And my boss has been really good about telling us to put our health first. He’s aware none of us are working at top productivity right now and things are going to be scaled back to essentials for a while throughout the company. We do a weekly phone check-in, as well.

  180. Bostonian*

    The basic needs:
    -everyone who can is working from home
    -those who have to go in are able to drive and have parking paid for even if they normally use public transit
    -any sick time needed due to the pandemic (confirmed, suspected, family cases) will be paid and it will not have to come from the regular PTO bank
    -up-to-date information about the virus and guidance is provided on a network page that is regularly updated

    I appreciate that the company proactively addressed all possible concerns from a business perspective:
    -how/if the pandemic affects our business and our supply chain
    -what we’re doing to help with the pandemic (donations to specific non-profits)

    I also really appreciate that they emphasize it’s OK to not be at 100% now. Even though some people in the company telecommute regularly (or full time), it’s different when the normal resources aren’t available (school for young kids, childcare, other family and domestic responsibilities that are increased at this time).

    I’m a total introvert, and usually very task-focused, but I’ve really liked the virtual happy hours/coffee breaks that my team has done to stay connected. In fact, it’s probably because I’m so selective when it comes to whom I socialize with that I like the virtual component: You’re deliberately choosing whom you engage with, instead of having to talk to whatever rando you run into in the kitchen. I’ve started to really like video capabilities whereas before I wasn’t too hot on it.

  181. Ginger*

    My company is getting it right and here are few items:

    1. Webinars each week with a focus on mental health – meditation, a leading child psychologist, etc. to bring a focus on staying well.

    2. Weekly calls with senior leadership to share what our company is doing to give back to our communities

    2.5 Company is donating extensively to charities.

    3. Shared docs with lists of free streaming workouts, great movies, tv shows, etc. Also lists of local restaurants, small businesses to support.

    4. Complete flexibility to take care of children, family members, etc.

    5. Amazing IT team – the company was ready for us all to be remote. Excellent disaster planning in action.

    6. One daily email with a list of updates, resources, etc. One place for all the important info.

  182. Frideag Dachaigh*

    I work on a small, close knit team and we’ve moved from 1 team check-in a week to daily, with a theme everyday- funny hat, superhero, pet, show and tell, etc. Thematic Zoom backgrounds and costumes *strongly* encouraged. Our calls are way longer than strictly necessary from a work check-in standpoint, but we’re laughing, getting our families in on the daily themes, learning a lot about each other, etc. It’s been my highlight of every morning.

  183. DebbieH*

    As a group, we are using SLACK to stay connected during this isolation period. It’s a great outlet for all of us stuck at home to relieve some stress. It’s private to just our group so we can have a little fun with each other. Sharing lots of pictures of pets, kids, temporary workspaces, lunches, everything! My immediate supervisor has Zoom meetings, on MWF mornings, with our administrative staff. It’s a great way for us to stay abreast of what we’re each doing and any issues we may be experiencing. I am the Sr. Administrative Assistant to the Dean of Libraries at a state university.

  184. IT Marie*

    From the very beginning, the CIO’s direction was work from home until you feel comfortable coming into the office. Then when WFH became mandatory, we were allowed to come in and get any equipment that would let us be more productive (monitors, keyboard, laptop dock). We also get daily emails from the CIO encouraging us and spotlighting teams that have been working like crazy to keep everything running.

  185. AnonymousAspie*

    I work for a large UK-based company. They issued a directive (quite suddenly) that EVERYONE should work from home, right away, which was very disruptive, but it’s clear they were (and are) prioritising employee health and safety. For this period they are:
    – Making it clear they don’t expect 100% productivity, from anyone
    – Making it clear that no-one will be penalised for lower productivity and everyone will continue to receive their full pay
    – Providing ways of clocking the hours we can’t practically work (for physical setup, technological, mental health or childcare reasons), so that they can quantify the impacts and reassess our annual priorities (important as we work for the government so we have to report on certain deliverables). And TELLING us about this! Trusting that we care enough about the work and the organisation, and assuming that we will be worried about delivering, they are telling us they are actively re-prioritising – which really helps.
    – Managers at a variety of levels (including the CEO) are sending regular updates to their teams / directorates with any new information, and including reminders to everyone to prioritise their own wellbeing, and that there are more important things than work right now. Managers in my area are also sharing small parts of their own stories, eg if they took a longer morning break today to walk the dog, so that they are leading by example on self care.
    – Managers (and all of us, actually) are being encouraged to check in pro-actively with colleagues who live alone or who might be struggling. Being one of these (on both counts), it has been great to know I am supported and that I don’t need to feel alone or guilty for having a hard time.

    Also in my local team (well actually 3-4 teams that work very closely together) we usually have an optional morning coffee, which we have made into a Skype meeting so that everyone can dial in and chat about whatever is on their mind and get some human contact.

  186. Senor Montoya*

    This is very small, but one of our supervisors started a google slide show we can add to, showing our at-home “assistants” (pets, kids, stuffed animals, blender and cocktail shaker lol, etc). It was a nice break to work on this for about 10-15 minutes — looking for pictures, writing captions, running the slide show. And it was a way to feel a bit more connected with my colleagues.

  187. seldomsham*

    My company is essential food manufacturing, but that means we are competing with healthcare facilities for masks, sanitation, etc. That is tense, because obviously hospitals are more important, but our product is also a pantry staple for lower income/homeless populations. If we run out, the plant shuts down until we can start receiving masks again.

    To help our employees, we are making sure everyone is getting open communication about cases in our county, reassurances that there are no cases at our plant, and tripling sanitation efforts across all levels.
    Anyone who is able to work from home is encouraged to do so.

    We are also giving our product away in the droves to any employee each week. We had to cancel our spring festival, so we are putting those allotted funds into a care package/CSA basket including fresh veggies, fruit, butter, eggs, etc. Anyone who doesn’t need/want their weekly gift is allowed to give it to another family, or we will donate it to the homeless shelter on their behalf.

    It’s been fun being the HR fairy and making sure everyone feels supported!

  188. Lemonader*

    My company has had a great response overall, with 100 percent of the company working remotely, and as much flexibility as we need for childcare, mental health breaks, going to the store at non-peak hours, etc. They’ve also made a huge effort to equip staff with the tools they need to work remotely (probably about a 1/3 of the company worked remotely to some degree before). While going full remote may not be an option for every company/job, I think the key element is that our leadership and HR have really maximized every opportunity available to help us continue to succeed in our roles despite the circumstances, and the message is loud and clear from the CEO down. A lot of this is in keeping with our overall company culture to begin with, but it’s great to know when the chips are down that it’s not all just talk. We’ve also found a lot of ways within our team to still have fun with each other – video happy hours on Fridays, photo contests, etc. which helps capture some of the informal benefits of being together as a team, even when we’re not able to do so.

  189. Anon Accountant*

    As a utility provider all staff that can work from home is. Staff are scheduled to be present (cant work from home) on a work 1 week and off 2 weeks with full pay (don’t have to use vacation time).

    For those reporting to work there is hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and plenty of soap in restrooms. We are being realistic about work that can get down with kids off from school and sticking with essential work first with flexible hours. Just being as helpful to each other as we can right now.

  190. Nelalvai*

    To deal with the business-as-UNusual problem, my company announced they’re expecting only 50% from us this week. If we’re stuck dealing with technology issues (we are) or if our projects are waylaid by cancelled surveys (they are) we don’t have to stress about hitting our 40 hours or finishing our work on time. We’re not using leave and we’re not being paid less (we’re exempt). It’s really helping with the stress.

  191. Elly*

    My workplace (at all levels!) has been absolutely phenomenal.

    I work for a British university, and we (in a matter of days) went from business as normal, to on campus teaching suspended, to staff should consider working from home, to mandatory working from home.

    The communications from our senior management team have been superb. They have really focused on kindness to yourself and others, emphasised that they know people can’t work as hard or as fast from home under these circumstances, and encouraged doing what you can without overstretching yourself. They emailed us last night to tell us all to take the next two Mondays as ‘rest days’, and this will not be taken from our annual leave. Also, everyone is continuing to be paid in full, even if they can’t work. Thankfully, my job is (a) possible and (b) necessary in this situation – because I couldn’t cope with twiddling my thumbs for weeks!

    I have also just received an email putting out a massive thanks to all the staff who are having to continue to work on campus, and those who are supporting the roll out of home working, and emphasising how much their work is appreciated – even when it’s not you being thanked, things like this make a difference!

    My immediate team is having an afternoon social tea break on teams, which is nice – a few folk live alone and were suffering a bit! Our wider team has a team meeting every morning, and that normally has a bit of social chat. We’re also having a ‘pub’ quiz on Friday.

    Additionally, someone has arranged for a daily mindfulness session run by one of the academics, which has saved my fingernails from being chewed to a stub!

    Overall, I am so, so glad I’m working here. I moved into HE Admin after being made redundant twice in quick succession – and I’m happy I’m not getting a third go at that!

  192. NerdyKris*

    My employer, a food production company, has been fantastic. They started WFH two weeks ago. I’ve been busting my butt getting equipment out to our users, they’ve basically given me a blank check to acquire what people need. They’re giving anyone who needs to quarantine (and can’t work from home) due to contact a free week of PTO, two weeks if they have symptoms. I’ve been on site all week and so have most of the VP’s and the CEO. As long as anyone is on site, the CEO, the VP of HR, and the Production VP’s are there.

    I already talk about how great they are to work for given some of the awful places I’ve worked, but seeing them keep that attitude even in a crisis was unexpected.

  193. Sheepie*

    I’m joining just to say that my employer is amazing. Everyone is working from home with full access to everything they’d have in the office, and we already had the infrastructure to do that, though maybe it’s been reinforced a bit to ensure that the system remains robust. So far, so good, not bad for a company of almost 1000 people. So it’s pretty much business as usual, we’re just in our own homes. We’re getting daily update emails from leadership and I filled in a company-wide questionnaire only today about how I’m doing under lockdown both professionally and personally. I’m well aware that I’m very lucky.

  194. Iluvtv*

    We’ve been encouraged to work from home and be flexible as needed in terms of work hours, breaks throughout the day, etc. For my direct team, we are doing more frequent meetings including video calls and everyone has become very accustomed to background noises and casual wear. We’re also doing Friday team lunches on video just for people to connect and chat. And keeping in mind that regular work may soon dry up due to covid, we are compiling a list of other things that people can work on in the meantime. It’s great because it’s all stuff we have always wanted to do but have never had the time. I consider myself very very fortunate in this situation.

  195. Taylor Klein*

    Our company sent all of us to a Work at Home till further notice starting Monday morning of the 16th. My manager of our team (only 3 of us then her) do a morning check in and celebrate our accomplishments from yesterday. We also now have a group chat on Teams where we share any positive things that have happened to us to keep the mood up. We are in sales so its tough but its great to have a supportive manager and coworkers rooting for you during this crazy time.

  196. Arctic*

    It would be hard to overstate how tech adverse my managers typically are. Even though much can be done from home they’ve always resisted the idea strongly. That never bothered me much because I hate working from home in normal times.

    But they really stepped up here well before it was becoming mandatory state-wide. Everyone is WFH unless they really have to go in for some reason. We’ve been doing regular group check-ins once a week, which I think is the right amount. Too much and it would just be disruptive with nothing to report. Too little and I’d feel too separated from the group. Tried zoom a few times with varying success.

    They managed to arrange parking for people in my department if they have to go in to pick stuff up or mail things out so no one has to take public transit. Which is amazing in the city.

  197. girlinthemoon*

    Baseline – We have always had a very flexible attitude toward working from home; we were encouraged to work from home for the last several weeks before many states/countries put SIP in place. The company also beefed up its VPN months before this, which was happily coincidental as we now have tens of thousands of employees using it successfully. Feeling like there’s no judgment working remotely and having the appropriate tools to do so were tablestakes to anything else the company or its leaders could do.

    Company-wide, we also get regular videos and emails from our CEO and other leaders. While they don’t know anything about the future we don’t, it’s great to hear from them, see them in their homes, and hear their messages. The company has made some difficult decisions to ensure financial stability without having to make more drastic decisions like layoffs. (None of which has been said, but you can read between the lines.)

    Within our global department of 1,000 employees, we have bi-weekly meetings with our leaders to discuss what’s going on, share stories of what’s working well for us, etc. This includes leaders in Italy and countries that have been impacted for longer, and the stories are not limited to work. We’ve been encouraged to take time for ourselves, share photos of our workspaces, how we are balancing work life commitments, and things like that. Everyone has been gracious and understanding that there are spouses on calls in the background, children making children noises, people are working nontraditional hours to manage the realities of our current situation.

    My manager has also been fantastic through everything. She checks in regularly and asks how I’m doing on a personal level, shares her own situation and how she’s managing it, and giving a ton of grace around what’s truly critical.

    We have a smaller team who also schedules video calls often and have extended these to after-hour chit chat sessions, where we can just talk about what we normally would as we pass each other throughout the day or at the watercooler.

    While this hasn’t been “easy”, I am grateful that my company/team has made work the least of my worries through all of these unknowns. I am grateful of the very fortunate position I am in.

  198. KR*

    My company gave every employee who makes under ~60k annually a one time stipend to help with the economic impact of the pandemic. They also gave us a separate PTO bank (in addition to the sick time we already have) for caregiving sick relatives or kids. Everyone who can work from home is encouraged to do so (at least our business unit is fully set up to be remote already) and the essential employees that are in statess that have stay at home orders have been issued official letters stating that they are essential and why to provide authorities. Our management is being extremely flexible. I feel extremely fortunate to work for such a great company.

  199. LilPinkSock*

    My company went fully remote two weeks ago. The best things we’ve done for each other are frequent check-ins and extending so much grace and kindness. Processes may happen a little slower, background noise may be a little louder, but we’re all doing our best to check in and cheer each other up every day. Our employee engagement team has transitioned a lot of the activities they had planned to online versions–which have turned out to be a lot of fun for employees to share with their families!

  200. LG*

    This was such a nice idea for a post, I’m really enjoying reading about all of the great things companies and organizations are doing! (I’m self employed and am trying to take extra good care of myself, so there’s that.)

  201. LQ*

    We are incredibly stressed. I’m part of the leadership team for our area. We are all working 80 to over 100 hours a week. I have seen every single other member of the team cry at least once in the last couple of weeks, and every single person has been understanding and kind and compassionate. I’ve snipped at people. People have snipped at me. Everyone has been kind. Everyone understands that hard decisions are being made that no one likes and people are being really professional about it.

    My boss didn’t bat an eye when I had a kind of yelly fight with him yesterday about a horrible decision and broke down in tears about it. I hate every option and every option will hurt people and we have to do something and we are being put in a horrible position. But it’s because we are all trying and we are all doing the work as a public service.

    It sounds weird to say that my boss and my leadership team is supporting by crying and behaving unprofessionally. But right now we are here because we care and it’s an expression of that and knowing that everyone else is here because they are about public service is a huge support.

    It’s also that having that space and set of people to do that with lets us provide better support to staff. (Basically all of them have turned to me crying or upset because of this too.) I think of it like the grief model of providing the support inward. The people we serve are the center of that circle. Staff second tier…etc.

  202. vampire physicist*

    I work in a technical healthcare role such that we can’t work from home, are often performing essential services, and are going into healthcare facilities.

    My company has all administrative staff working from home (my role can’t do so, but HR, accounting, etc. is all working remotely). Our staff meeting, which is usually in person for most of us (we’re located across the region, but people within an hour or so of the main office usually drive in) was moved to remote as well, and items that we’d normally pick up have been mailed to us.

    I think the most helpful thing for me, especially since I can’t work from home, is that management has been extremely forthcoming with information about everything – finances (which are thankfully in a good place all things considered), how to take sick leave (we do have pretty good sick leave already), reminders to confirm appointments with clients so we don’t drive out for nothing, and just a general acknowledgement that this is very stressful.

  203. Heffalump*

    My employer’s parent company is giving everyone 80 hours of coronavirus-related leave on top of whatever vacation time we’ve accrued. Vacation and sick leave have been in a single bucket for some time. Coronavirus-related leave is a separate bucket. Many of us are teleworking, but they’re bringing in lunch for those who are on-site.

  204. SDSmith82*

    I work for a large international company, and they have been nothing but great since this exploded. My boss in particular has been SUPER. I don’t mind working from home full time, and hope to permanently in the future, but it’s nice that she checks in on all of us and is genuinely concerned about all of us on her team. I already loved my job, but this solidifies that.

  205. Eponymous*

    Oddly enough I think the best thing my supervisor is doing is mostly leaving me be. I work three-quarter-time and am taking a class for professional development at the local university. The class schedule makes my work schedule rather unusual, so I have my class times blocked off in my company calendar and log into Skype when I’m at my desk. This is my second semester and my supervisor knows I work when I can, I make my hourly goals, and I meet deadlines without having to be reminded. I’ll generally send a status update email in the morning or afternoon so he knows what I’m working on, and he’ll email me with specific tasks and requests, but other than that he just lets me work.

    It’s quite nice. If I want to take a longer lunch, I can. Or if I want to work through lunch and get my day’s hours in by 2pm so I have the rest of the afternoon to do homework or run errands or continue with a hobby, I can do that, too. I keep my work phone and email next to me so if something urgent does come up I can respond quickly.

  206. Lcsa99*

    My company has been amazing. Starting last week they were working double time to get everyone set up remotely. Anyone who was uncomfortable coming in could work at home immediately while everyone else helped gear up for remote work, and they offered to cover the cost of uber for anyone uncomfortable commuting by public transport. They’ve supplied laptops for people who didn’t have and cell phone for those who would be making calls and have covered the cost of things like laptop stands and screens to make sure everyone is comfortable and can do their work. We’re totally remote now and it’s been amazing seeing how hard my company has worked to make sure we’re all safe.

  207. HB*

    I work for a nonprofit that performs essential services. We are lucky to have most of the staff be unionized, so they were able to express their concerns in a united way. Now most everyone is working from home and our organization allotted everyone 35 hours of paid administrative leave to use to fill in gaps in our timesheets if we are unable to meet our normal hours.

  208. Rookie*

    I am pleasantly surprised by my company’s incredibly supportive response. Our organization is spread across the US with three main HQs, and they sent everyone to WFH weeks before many states required it. (About 80% of us already work remotely, so we were ready).

    They are giving us a bonus this week to help offset the stress and challenges of the virus. We are a non-profit. And, our company president has sent repeated supportive e-mails, as well twice-weekly Town Hall virtual conferences to go over our response.

    It’s been the polar opposite with my husband’s small employer. One of the company’s officers sent an e-mail to all staff indicating that the coronavirus is ‘just the flu’ and that the media is ‘cramming’ doom and gloom down our throats (??). They refused to let anyone work from home initially, even though their jobs could very easily be converted. Luckily, my husband was able to get an exception due to pre-existing health conditions, and is now WFH. Unfortunately, his company is also still continuing to pursue debt collection, even though they have the option not to. Terrible.

  209. Liane*

    Fast-casual restaurant – We are drive-thru, online/phone pick-up, or takeout only, per city & state rules. I have lost a lot of hours (was scheduled each week for 4-5 shifts of 5-6 hours pre-COVID-19; this week it’s 3 five our shifts), but not totally out of work as I feared when I posted last week. I overheard Co-manager say she is trying to give people who want/need to work what hours she can justify, which she does. She is fine with me calling mornings I am not scheduled to see if they need me. Management has also been doing little things for morale, like doing a meal at their 100% discount rather than our 50%. Corporate has issued additional sanitizing/hygiene guidelines and so far we don’t lack for cleaners, soap etc.
    I did go ahead & file for unemployment, just in case. I also felt kind of bad doing so–which I know I shouldn’t. But that also speaks to how good this company has been to me even before this.
    **************
    Grocery chain (my adult kids’ employer) – Company has approved any/all overtime for 3 weeks–this is the second. Company gave all employees a one-time $25 store credit when this all started & will be adding a few hundred to an upcoming pay check for fulltimers and a smaller amount for parttimers. Kids say Union is pushing for some other things but my kids (being wise) won’t speak about them, since those are still being negotiated.
    Also, Son goes to work very early in the morning, well before our city’s 9pm – 5am COVID-19 curfew ends. So Company gave him a letter to keep in the car in case he is stopped.

  210. Beboots*

    I work for a national park (not in the US) and so far I’ve been very pleased with my employer’s response. We got the direction to work remotely pretty early. There are still folks on “critical services” (ploughing snow off roads, visitor safety officers, an electrician and plumber, things like that) that report to duty in person but with loads of mitigations so they don’t have to share work vehicles or commute using communal vans. They shut down the visitor centre early on, and any public-facing people were directed to work remotely (mostly on planning / documentation / special projects that are related to their department). As soon as concerns were shared about a surge of visitors on the weekend (20+ kids at once on the playground, for example, full parking lots, people congregating in big groups), shortly after the parks were closed to non-residents / essential workers as a precaution. The management team and executive have been super responsive to feedback and concerns from staff for suggestions on how to make sure that remote working, well, works. We’ve got some limitations in terms of the number of people who can access the documents on our groups drive through a remote secure server but I’m one of the ones who yanked the documents I was working on onto a USB and can work “offline”.

    On my team we get daily updates (by phone) and check-ins from my boss, who is amazing. She’s told us she’s proud of us for how well we’ve been doing with the adjustment. As per usual, our work is very deliverable-based (producing documents, managing projects, designing products, attending such and such meeting and contributing ideas, managing hiring processes) and she’s repeatedly said she trusts us to be accountable for our work plans but to keep her informed of things that may change in terms of priorities or timelines. We’re to loop her in when we need but otherwise she trusts us to get on with our work – we don’t have to account for all of our time in like 15 minute increments or work while on video conferencing or anything ridiculous. She’s very reassuring and says that even if the parks remain closed all summer, any work we do planning as if we’ll be open for the regular busy season won’t be wasted because it just means we have a head start on 2021. We feel valued and cared for.

    We’ve also got a commitment from the executive team to honour the contracts of seasonal staff – if they have a signed letter of offer, they’re still on board and are to report for duty remotely from their primary residence to do some remote work or learning on their regular start date. If they can’t work because of COVID-19 – if they’re sick, if their job isn’t one that can be done remotely and we have no special projects for them to work on, if they have to take care of family members – we have a paid sick leave code we can use without restriction for now.

    I’m super grateful I followed a good boss to this stable government job.

  211. Brunch with Sylvia*

    US Federal health care agency:
    Put a leadership team in place weeks and weeks ago. We are adequately supplied. Unbelievable pivoting of our typical day-to-day functions and such a quick response in a typically sluggish org.
    Early screening and facility safety measures like restricting visitors (before any other large agency in our city and before gov’t mandates).
    Exceptional communication. Like really exceptional: daily emails with situation update memos in the am and pm, mid-day skype townhall meetings for all staff and afternoon skype townhalls for clinical staff. No matter how inane, snarky or repetitious the questions are, the leadership answers them with patience and appropriate transparency. I almost can’t believe they are human with the level of patience they exhibit.
    Acknowledgment of how DIFFICULT this is–personally and professionally. Reminders to check our anxiety levels, self care and links to EAP. In house psychology and pastoral program to support us.

  212. BP*

    My state has now gone to mandatory work from home, but before that happened my manager was very encouraging of my working from home since my boyfriend is high risk, even though our jobs are kinda hard to do remotely. The company (small 30 person design firm) had enacted several measures like paying for ubers and parking that ultimately went mostly unused since we all have to work from home. They are also being very forgiving with hours, especially for those working from home with kids. We are all salaried and exempt but track all our time because most of it is billable to clients. They added a new category to the timesheet system for “untracked time” which is just “not PTO but I wasn’t working”.

  213. Another PhD student*

    As a newly minted PhD (who defended just before everything shut down at my university and is hoping my job offer doesn’t evaporate during the next couple of months), I think the best thing my boss has done was to treat things as though they’re fairly normal. Before the shutdown, we met once a week at a regular time in person (with a lot of ad hoc meetings in between) and had weekly-to-biweekly group meetings. Now, we also meet once a week at a regular time on zoom and have weekly group meetings. He tends toward being a bit of a micromanager in person, so I’ve been surprised by how chill he’s been with us all working remotely. He’s also being fairly flexible about how long I’ll be working for – I was supposed to stop working at the end of April and take some time off to travel before starting my new job in June, but if the lockdown extends for a while, I’d rather keep working and getting paid (because what else will I do all day – I can only knit so many hats).

    I’m fairly lucky as a very-late-stage PhD student, as the shutdown has mostly afforded me more time to write papers and get them submitted before I officially graduate, which I think my boss is also happy about (although I do have a growing list of experiments that are probably necessary for some of the papers to be published, but hopefully one of my colleagues will be able to do them). I know some of the earlier-stage students in my group have a lot less work to occupy themselves with, which I think would drive me up the wall.

    I also want to note how much I appreciate this thread – I’ve gotten a bit overwhelmed by all the awful stuff that is happening and it’s nice to see some positivity to make things appear a little less bleak (although I recognize that a lot of people have had absolutely no positive experiences out of this whole ordeal). I enjoyed reflecting on the good things my manager has done, and am going to try to incorporate that (reflecting on the good stuff) into my day-to-day routine.

  214. Can't Sit Still*

    My company guaranteed everyone a paycheck for a minimum of two pay periods, including contract and temporary staff, regardless of the ability to WFH. They’ve added extra money to the employee assistance fund and keep reminding people that it’s there if they need it. They have a COVID19 specific leave policy that doesn’t have to go through the usual leave process and does not use up regular sick leave.

    Our sites have been locked down to essential personnel required to keep the plants running, with restricted entry and daily temperature checks, and other security measures.

    We’ve been directed to avoid scheduling calls during the lunch hour and to block family time on our calendar as out of office, to ensure that people have some balance.

    The really amusing thing is that we are not only meeting our goals, we’re exceeding them, because meetings have been pared down to the essentials, and people are able to work without interruption. I am really hoping that management learns something from this, since about 70% of all of our meetings could be emails and this proves it.

  215. L*

    While my office building was shut down last week due to the county’s stay in place mandate, the union I work for (not as a member but the union staff itself to support the union members) assured us that as long as we were ready, willing, and able to work from home we would be paid to do so. I have work to do at my home computer for now and am doing it, but I am grieving the loss of structure in my life at the moment, and as there’s no reason for conference calls or Slack (we don’t use it) messages, it’s lonely over here. The department I work in is getting daily updates on the coronavirus situation as it applies to our union members (as their job is 24/7 absolutely essential work) and I read those even though none of it applies to my position or work to keep in the loop and also to feel like I’m doing more with my work than staring at the documents I’m working on.

  216. Quinalla*

    There have been a lot they have done to support us:
    1. Everyone but 3 essential people are working from home.
    2. Our IT person has been doing great keeping things running, helping folks with issues and informing us of how to use Microsoft Teams better, how to put less strain on the VPN, etc.
    3. They have put out various emails updating us on travel policies, social distancing, etc.
    4. We had an all-hands happy hour over Teams (about 110 were on which is nearly all of us) where we got an update from leadership on the business financial situation (great so far with a few clients pausing projects) and what we need to do to keep it strong, that we have to make sure we don’t breach contracts, but they understand if there will be delays, we just have to let our clients know in the contractual proper way, they updated on how we are comparing to others in our field (doing great, almost seamless transition to WFH). They then opened it up to questions and said to feel free to send further questions to them. Then they asked some fun questions like “What strange/odd things are you doing right now?” and “Weirdest conference call moment?” and then folks just kind of chimed in with various things. It helped everyone to feel connected and part of the team and I very much appreciated getting the financial update, we are very transparent about that at my company anyway, but this was above and beyond that even which I think was necessary.
    5. We have a fund that we donate to companies employees volunteer for and we had a group we volunteer and work with reach out to us looking for assistance to provide daycare for healthcare employees. We were able to use the fund to help them which was great and made everyone feel that we were helping even more than just social distancing. We’ve also reached out to offer our expertise to various groups and government agencies and our assisting in that way as well.

    Anyway, I’ve been pretty impressed with my leadership, they have taken this seriously and had us all working from home prior to the state’s we are in mandating it (Ohio & Kentucky). We are engineers, so while we don’t understand all the science of the virus, we understand math well and how scary exponential growth is.

  217. Dame Judi Brunch*

    We’re an essential business, but all employees that can work from home are at home now.
    The employees that must be at the offices are getting a bonus, and steps have been taken to ensure their safety.
    Our sick time is fairly generous already, but more sick time has been added.
    Upper Management has sent out tips on how to manage working from home, i.e. take lunch away from your desk, turn off your computer, don’t work 24/7, etc.
    Our employer has been so supportive and communicative throughout all of this, I’m very grateful!

  218. Nethwen*

    This isn’t spectacular, but being a non-profit, I guess it’s better than it could be. At least everyone is still getting paid. Our state has not required people to go home, so we are still coming in to work because little of what we do can be done remotely. Our public-facing work isn’t possible, but those staff are pulled into other projects. The way our building is, we can stay 6-feet or more apart and there are only 7 of us, so it seems like cross-contamination would be limited. We have enough work to keep us going for 2-3 months, even if we remain closed to the public. In the event of a government-ordered shelter-in-place, our intention is to pay staff, including part-time, their full salaries without them first having to use their leave. We don’t have complete control over our budget, but speaking to the higher-ups has indicated that they would support this decision, but they wouldn’t give a firm “yes.”

  219. LimeRoos*

    I’m sure this thread is huge by now, but I just want to add to the chorus of companies doing things right. We’ve been wfh since 03/16, and I believe they got everyone who wasn’t in a wfh position set up for home by 03/18. I’m not sure if the offices are completely closed, but we went from about 600 wfh to 1800+ and our network is handling it relatively well. Our managers are pretty flexible, we still have to be on for core hours, but they understand this is a weird time and people have more distractions than normal. All of our trainings and meetings have also moved to Webex with minimal issues.

    It was also just announced that as a company we’re donating $1 million to local charities and non profits, focusing on ones that provide things like food, housing, mental health care, etc since that’s what a lot of people are needing right now. Overall it’s been a fantastic and quick response by leadership.

  220. A Tired Queer*

    My manager has been awesome through all this nonsense. I’m in healthcare but not patient facing, so she pushed for my unit and others like me to be allowed to work from home. She set up regular check-ins so that our tight knit office could stay in touch, but she also pushed back against the rest of the department’s desire to have us use a micromanagement task tracker system, on the grounds that we’re proactive and independent enough not to need it. She trusts us and she gets us, and I just really appreciate that!

  221. BAF*

    My part time job went from in the office to wfh as of Monday afternoon. I’m not essential but my work is not easy to do from home, I’d say I can do about 30% from home, the rest is office based.

    My boss said to clock in (via the online platform) and do whatever I want, just to remember to clock out at the end of the day. I plan on texting him tomorrow to thank him for paying me to mop my house.

  222. BWooster*

    My company probably started us on WFH a week later than it should have done but it’s messaging and actions have been pretty great otherwise. Every update it is stressed that our well-being and our family responsibilities come first. That line managers must be supportive and that our work matters.
    Plus, and this really surprised me, our bosses were scheduled to hold a pay review for raises and bonuses this week and they still held it. We got notified of our results yesterday. They had every excuse to defer and didn’t. Aside from the money which is nice it still felt good.

  223. Heat's Kitchen*

    Company background: ~3,000 employees, half of them were fully remote before all this started.
    – They were able to ship ~500 extra monitors in just a few days when it became clear our offices were closing
    – Proactively being given 3 emergency sick days, which can be used for child care
    – Regularly (multiple times/week) videos from the CEO talking about what’s going on. He’s being transparent that they don’t see the need for layoffs, but some people may be reassigned to other duties. Some hiring is going to pause, while others will continue.
    – Leadership making clear that priorities are in this order: Family, Team, Customer
    – Leadership being very transparent that everyone is going to be stressed, so let’s give some grace. Communicate about unusual working hours to deal with kids at home. Ask to reschedule meetings. Knowing potentially velocity on some work may be down.
    – In a weekly scheduled touch base, leadership started the meeting with all their kids on camera. This was actually really wonderful seeing how excited the kids were. And really just brought home the point that everyone is in the same boat.
    – My boss is having daily leadership team check ins to make sure everyone is doing okay.
    – We’re also being a leading resource for our customers on the legislation (we’re in the HCM field)
    – Moved the on-site weekly yoga classes available remotely
    – Created weekly “Chat & Chew” zoom sessions to meet with coworkers
    – Setting up mini groups where people can meet to do something fun via zoom

  224. Pam*

    My university went to online instruction for all classes. Anyone in Tier 1- 65 or older, or certain health issues must work from home, all others are encouraged to do so. There is paid administrative leave for anyone whose job can’t be done from home. We are getting lots of support for work from home, and regular (sometimes too regular!) online meetings to keep us together.

  225. Nita*

    My company developed a great remote work system years ago, and it’s been tested out with most of the staff working remotely a few times (mostly due to really bad weather). So now most of us are working from home, except when we have field work. Unfortunately field work is a big part of our job and we’re essential, but management is making sure everyone has whatever PPE is available, sanitizer, water for hand washing etc., and that the field staff are able to drive to job sites as much as possible.

    We’ve moved from monthly to weekly (remote) department meetings. HR circulated the EAP phone number a couple of times for those who need it. Management is doing regular email blasts as the situation changes, and the top managers have cut their pay for the duration of this. I think they’re doing a pretty good job responding to the situation and trying to keep the company afloat. At least, that’s my feeling as someone who’s mostly remote – it’s easy for me to say this when I’m only out in the field once every two weeks or so…

  226. Just Like Bart*

    My company is closed for the time being. Those who can work from home are doing so. Those who can’t are still getting paid for their scheduled hours as well as receiving additional paid sick leave. I also just received word that sick pay will get paid out in one big check. My grandboss has been calling to check in on our department.

  227. Mimmy*

    State-run training center:

    Our center is closed and everyone is working from home. However, my specific employment category (more or less an indefinite-term temp) is not getting paid. My direct supervisor has been wonderful though, inviting me to text or call if I need anything. There’s nothing she can do about my pay since the policy comes from our parent agency but her support alone means a lot. Also, I check in on work email a couple times a day and she is seems to be very supportive of the other staff.

  228. Jae*

    I work in higher education, and our response has been pretty decent. At first, there was definitely an “accountability and approval mindset” seemingly being laid down by HR. There was all this paperwork for WFH plans, and the potential for these plans not to be approved, and even limited circumstances under which you were eligible anyway; it was rough. There was very much a culture against staff working at home, officially. It was one thing to do extra hours at home, but to do your normal hours at home was suspect. My department specifically wasn’t suspicious; my boss was very supportive and willing to take measures before the school even acted.

    However, this changed relatively quickly, and it became very supportive. Our classes all went online, and the staff followed soon after. We are now actually pretty much required to work at home, and they have done everything they could do reduce the number of essential personnel on campus. For those who absolutely must come, like those in charge of an animal lab or security, they have done what they can do to make sure they will interact with as few people as possible, as the campus is really only open to these specific people. They’ve given students who need it technology to access classes from home, as they do not want to even have students coming to use computers.

    To me, this has been the most important thing, focusing on getting us out of there. They’ve given us software resources and support, but the change from treating this like a vacation we were trying to scam to realizing we are serious and dedicated, and want to keep things running but want to be safe was important. I hope this attitude sticks around once things have improved. I am honestly probably working consistently harder at home than I would in the office because of the lack of distractions, and the additional burdens this situation has created.

  229. HR in the city*

    I work for a local county government agency and I am writing this as I sit at my kitchen table since my boss has set us all up to work remotely. Working in HR means that I need to keep working to some extent no matter what. My boss didn’t have much of a choice with me since I am also homeschooling my kids. The teachers get packets together for the week for my younger child who is 1st grade and my 8th grader works online. Anyway, with having to home school I will not be working my entire 40 hours. My organization will be offering paid leave to make me whole in my hours and so that I don’t lose any pay. My organization will also pay me if I have to stop working in order to do the home schooling full time. We are following the law pretty carefully to make sure employees don’t suffer while things are shut done.

  230. Tina Belcher's Less Cool Sister*

    I work for a private university (near the center of one of the US outbreaks) and I think they are handling this totally right. They sent the students home three weeks ago to complete the semester online, and are refunding students for the unused portion of room and board. They’ve been proactively communicating with staff/faculty, students, and parents about how operations are changing and also very transparent that we don’t yet know exactly what the coming weeks will look like.

    As for staff, they started encouraging remote work in early March and moved to require it two weeks ago. For staff who can’t work remotely but aren’t essential to current campus operations, they are guaranteeing full pay and benefits through at least May 15 (last day of the semester). No one is required to use sick leave if they get sick during this period; everyone is getting paid according to their normal schedule. Even students who work on-campus jobs will be paid for the hours they would have worked through the rest of the semester.

    I work in a travel-heavy role, and as of five or six weeks ago I was encouraged to make my own decision about traveling; three weeks ago we were encouraged to cancel travel; and two weeks ago all travel was cancelled. I’m also pregnant so I’ve felt really supported by my boss and his boss to put my health first and take care of myself.

  231. Academic admin*

    I’m a university academic dept admin so as of today, I’m classified as essential on-site personnel. There aren’t many of us so that’s fine with me.
    Things that have been very good: one of my profs and her post-doc we’re scheduled to go to a conference in Italy when this started to hit. The first time they postponed, there were 2 confirmed cases. 3 weeks later when they cancelled for good, there were over 12,000 and almost 800 deaths. The professor already had $7000 on her cc and NO ONE was refunding. The only thing she is getting back is the registration, $3000 so not insignificant but the president’s office is covering the rest.
    Another thing as of today is dropping all the actual paper and original signature requirements. Even our “electronic” forms have required printing, multiple signatures and turning in a hard copy! Today we can scan, electronically sign and even photograph if there’s no other choice. Seems like that should have been the case a long time ago but the inertia here is legend.

    1. LunaMei*

      “the inertia here is legend.” – SO TRUE. I work in IT at a state university, and I am hoping this will kick start our HR dept into high gear. I have already seen some requests come through to digitize certain HR processes that should have been digitized ages ago.

  232. Rich Holliday*

    I work for a train company in northern England. We’ve set up daily management calls with Q&As published afterwards, an informal What’s App support group, Personal Resilience webinars and a virtual Elevenses coffee every day at, we, 11am – this is for the new homeworkers. It’s unchartered territory but our directors and senior managers are being amazing during a worrying time.

  233. Lalalalala*

    I work for a ~200 person company, and we’re all able to do our jobs remotely. Our CEO hosted a company-wide Zoom call this week for us to ask him anything, and it was incredibly reassuring and nice. He joked around a bit, talked about our financial stability, and reassured us that there won’t be any lay-offs and the company is prepared for downturns. He’s also reassured us we can take as much time as we need if we get sick in any way, and that the company has a plan in place for if an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus. Employees with kids are being given a ton of flexibility, as well. I feel very relieved to work here during this time; I just started the job two months ago.

  234. VT*

    My big big boss is sending out nightly email updates on our situation and any updates that would impact us. My manager is being very accommodating for any WFH issues and both her and my supervisor are working with HR to figure out what to do with staff that aren’t deemed essential but can’t readily work from home. Like eligibility for the different leave acts that are brand brand new.

  235. Sunflower*

    I work for a consulting company that is owned by a larger publicly traded company. They own 4 other companies and employ about 65k people globally- we have probably over 100 offices worldwide. I will say I am so proud to work for the company I work for. They’ve really exceeded expectations.

    – We receive constant updates in forms of videos from both CEO of my company plus parent company that are super clear, informative. It’s very clear their priority is our safety and well being.
    – Expectations that this is tricky and we don’t expect the same productivity as a regular day in the office.
    – Global WFH indefinitely (this came on a little later than hoped but before any gov’t mandated action). I don’t believe we will go back to the office until it is 1000% safe and expect it to gradually happen. Can expense car service to physical office if you want to/must go in.
    – Have been assured through oral and written comms by CEO that our jobs are secure and safe
    – No PTO or sick time needed during this time whether it’s to care for yourself, sick relative or if you’re just unable to work. Reimbursed up to $500 in child care while you figure out a perm solution.
    – Ability to expense reasonable WFH equipment. Firm has laid out an expense policy specifically related to COVID.
    – Weekly Town Halls with Q&A to our regional heads.
    – Company has established a 5 mill fund to support employees experiencing financial hardships
    – We’ve always focused on community building and the firm is really trying their best to make sure we have virtual connection sessions
    – Many comms about mental health have been sent out (EAP info, etc.) Have virtual mediation and yoga sessions to help with this.

  236. Lady Rhyall*

    Our company of about 140 got an additional $100 on our paychecks this week, with the suggestion that we use it in some way to help our community or stimulate the economy. It’s a small, thoughtful gesture, and I’m sure a big help to our lowest paid employees.

    (The tiny bitter part of it was when the VP who emailed about it said he’d be using his $100 to get pizza and have movie night with his family. That’s very nice, but this guy is one of 5 VPs that make $250k plus bonuses every year… they do not each need $100 that we could’ve given to an hourly worker…)

  237. TL -*

    My department (academic, so pretty independent) is doing a lot. Building is locked to anyone who isn’t essential, which was determined by qualifications + commute (many people don’t have cars here); we’re working on reimbursing ride share/taxi commutes (we will; just don’t know which fund yet); lots of zoom, working on how to keep people connected virtually, getting slack up, have a committee to help decide which COVID research is urgent and which can wait, lending out our skills to urgent/essential research or clinical work. We’re also supporting people coming in just for benchwork and doing everything else at home. And our director told everyone in a virtual meeting, first thing, “first thing, everyone is getting paid, don’t worry.”

    Our internal communications is still a work in progress but that’s been an ongoing project. People are getting what they need, though.

  238. coffee cup*

    We’re all working from home and we have group messages keeping everyone updated. Our bosses have updated the intranet often to keep us in the loop. Management offered to be available if anyone got ill and couldn’t get supplies, or if anyone needs to chat even outside work hours because they’re feeling lonely (might not do that one, especially after I’ve had wine!). We also just got backup drives delivered to our homes so we can make sure all our work is saved, as we would in the office. They also offered a salary advance if anyone needed it. I’m pretty pleased with how they’re handling it so far, and it’s made me grateful that I work for a decent company, especially when I hear other stories.

  239. grad student in quarantine*

    I’m a scientist in grad school right now (PhD), and have been really impressed by my advisor. He sent out a message before our university had cancelled anything, saying essentially: “Our work is not more important than your health. Go home, take care of yourselves, your friends, and your families. We’ll figure it out.” We’ve had our weekly lab meeting as usual, but spent the entire first meeting just checking in and making sure that everyone was safe.

    The most useful things that I have found:
    1) He facilitated giving everyone remote access to their desktop computers in the lab (did all the back and forth with I.T. instead of each of us doing it individually),
    2) He reached out to each of us to make sure that we know how we would be funded for the next year (many of us had been anticipating teaching courses with major travel components), and made back up options for any funding we would need
    3) Shared guides that he had created on remotely accessing some of the software that we use, and created an online repository where we can all share guides/tips/workflows
    4) He checked in personally with each person to make sure that they have safe and comfortable lodging, food, and supplies for the quarantine, and that they had the technology access to do things well.

  240. GOG11*

    Our IT, learning management system, and professional skills (not quite the right term, but trying to be vague here) teams have all been fantastic about creating the infrastructure necessary to shift thousands of people to remote work and learning (employees and students as I work in education). And they had a steep hill to climb because my employer has always been very, very much against any remote work in the past, so they didn’t have much in place to start with. I’m one of the high risk folks (asthma and immune suppressed) and it was a huge weight off my shoulders to be able to go home and not worry about every single thing I touch while still being able to provide support to my colleagues (teachers, while I’m in a support role).

  241. the_scientist*

    My company has been very good. I mean, we’re in healthcare admin, so we SHOULD be good about this, but I’m still pleased with how the executive team has managed so far. The big things:
    – a blanket work from home order beginning March 12th for all staff who can work from home
    – flexibility around working hours to help people trying to balance work with kids and suspension of non-essential meetings to free up time
    – Zoom webinars for updates from the CEO for managers/directors every other day
    – great IT support so everyone has access to what they need to be productive
    – regular audio town halls for all staff to answer questions

  242. Solar Graphic Designer*

    I work for a solar company based in California – engineering, procurement, construction, operations, and maintenance. We are owned by an east coast utility giant. We went from “taking necessary precautions” and “if you or a family member or a friend might be sick, don’t come in” on the 4th, to all business travel suspended on the 10th, to “those able to work remotely should do so” on the 15th. On the 20th we closed our offices, leaving 2 in each to receive packages and minimal office upkeep. Field and service workers are doing the minimum to keep power on and generally voiding direct customer interaction.

    A higher-up I’m kind of afraid of has established that he isn’t expecting us to perform as usual, and we now have weekly calls to address anxieties and issues stemming from COVID-19. From HR, we’ve been told to “first comply with the relevant shelter-in-place orders and other instructions, second to take care of your selves and families, and third to continue the work… in that order”. HR has sent us updates about changes our insurance providers are making (to be more supportive), and reminding us of available resources through our EAP.

    We’re an “essential function” company, and our parent company has vast resources, so our employment is safe for the time being. We’re facing mounting technical difficulties which has ground my work to a halt, and my boss’s response has been “Shit happens, and this is beyond our control. Do what you can and take care of yourself.” I’m used to comparing my workplace to my friends in Silicon Valley and finding it lacking, but on this I’ve felt really proud of my employers. They’ve been ahead of the curve for other companies in our industry, and ahead of measures taken in our state.

  243. BeenThere*

    My employer shut its doors to the public a couple of weeks ago, long before our governor (finally) issued a stay-at-home order. So that’s a good thing.
    Most of us can work at home if we have a strong enough Internet connection. And the company is giving us a small one-time sum of money to help cover connectivity costs. Some of us, like me, are not set up at all to work at home, so they helped with an extra cable and a monitor to take home with me for the duration. Otherwise working on just my laptop would have been a nightmare.
    My boss has set up pretty frequent video meetings over IM with her team, so we get chances to see and talk to each other. That’s the worst part for me–not being around my people–so I love this solution.
    Not everything is perfect, but these steps have really helped me not lose my mind. I have never, ever wanted to work at home, so I appreciate what my company is doing to keep its collaborative culture alive while we’re all staying at home.

  244. JennyP*

    My husband didn’t put in his earbuds, so I was eavesdropping on his meetings. In one, one of the big bosses brought up how many of the younger employees were working from home with small children, and asked how he/they could better support those folks. I thought it was kind and understanding that everyone is just doing the best they can. We need that now.

  245. Environmental Scientist*

    I work for a major engineering firm and luckily my position was already very flexible with remote work and I’m accustomed to working with people across time zones and offices. My managers let me leave the mess that is New York City and live with my family pretty much indefinitely (don’t worry I’m self-quarantining for 14 days first). So far we haven’t gotten into issues of reduced workload but when that comes it seems so far that all my project managers are very aware that it needs to be maintained and willing to help us continue to keep busy. The one negative I will mention is that my office in NYC was slow to close its doors and actually order everyone to work from home when pretty much all of us have the ability to work remotely with ease.

  246. Massive Dynamic*

    My boss/owner of the company, who I feel I should note personally falls into the “this isn’t THAT serious, is it?” camp, implemented these things:

    1. Everyone can work from home immediately
    2. He’s going into the office but in no way, shape, or form does that mean that anyone else has to (we do have two people who feel it’s safe, if it’s just the three of them in total and our office is stocked up with sanitizer)
    3. We can take as much negative PTO as we want to
    4. He’s researching all new stimulus opportunities with his employment lawyer and keeps us updated on what he learns (we’re all paid above market rate and fall over the $1,200 threshold)
    5. He’s 100% supportive of us pushing back on clients wanting us face-to-face for any reason (we’re accountants, and I ran into this already with two different clients since the shutdown)
    6. He doesn’t expect full days’ worth of work at all, and there are no mandated hours. We’re all able to work whatever flexible schedule works for us. We’re trusted, as professionals, to raise a flag about deadlines that will be hard to meet and it will be worked out from there.
    7. Not specifically Covid but in general, he loves kids, has kids, and GETS why kids are the trickiest thing to manage right now outside of being sick/caring for someone who’s sick (which thankfully, are none of us yet).

    1. Massive Dynamic*

      I should also add, we all already have laptops and our work is all in dropbox. We really can work from anywhere, especially home. Although I do miss my nice quiet office with a door (as opposed to my kitchen, with my kids currently fighting in the living room).

  247. Clorinda*

    Public school teacher.
    The district had us create our own lesson plans for the first two weeks, but now they’re looking ahead to the whole year being online, so they have created some useful assignments, along with the freedom to go our own way as long as we check in with the principal. Instructional coaches, assistant principals, and other administrators are in constant contact. The district is providing two meals a day for students at assigned locations, and is also keeping the WiFi running in all the schools, so any student can come to a parking lot of any school and download/upload all the work. Finals will probably be canceled, with grades being calculated from online work in fourth quarter. They’re doing a very good job at supporting the teachers and students, I think.

  248. Anonitalian*

    We’re currently in week 5 of remote working. My company has generally handled things very well, given the situation I’m lucky to be with them. They’re usually a butts-in-seats-from-9-to-5 type of company but they’ve been very quick to go 100% remote, long before the country went into lockdown. At first they just strongly suggested that everyone who could work from home should do so, then this week they announced that the office is closed and everyone who can’t work from home is on paid leave. Luckily most of us can easily work from home and we’re an essential business so we can carry on — think software development for pharma companies. People who can’t work from home are being told to use the time to catch up on training, and so on. There was also an anonymous survey about remote working a couple of weeks ago asking us how things are going and which resources do we need, etc.

    Unfortunately, since the lockdown is likely to continue for a long while and business has slowed down considerably now that we can’t physically go out to client sites to do software installation, they did ask us to use our accrued PTO and vacation days so we’re working close to 50% of our hours. We had a video call with our team and HR today to go over the new schedule, the HR manager was apologetic to have to ask us to use vacation time now that we’re all shut indoors.

    I really appreciate him taking the time to talk with each team and answer questions personally, we’re by no means a small company. He laid out the plans for the next 2 weeks and reassured us that the company is doing okay financially and this is only a financial precaution. By using vacation time we still get paid in full and there won’t be layoffs or pay cuts.

    My direct manager also offered to work less than 50% hours so I could keep working more hours, because I’m a new hire and I don’t have much accrued PTO, which was very thoughtful of him. He’s also made a facebook group so we can all keep in touch, because he said we were doing good on the productivity front but there weren’t enough memes going around.

  249. AnonToday*

    They waited until last Sunday at 5:30 p.m. (3/15) to announce that we needed to work from home. No guidance before but luckily, most of my team took their laptops home.

    Then yesterday, announced that 90% of the company is going on “temporary leave of absence” starting next week, with one week of paid leave and 8 weeks benefits. This is a multibillion dollar company that could afford to pay more. In my state, we are eligible for unemployment, at least, but the system is hammered and getting through is impossible.

    I was already looking for another job and am redoubling my efforts. And telling everyone who asks exactly which company this is (hint: state name, compass direction).

  250. Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

    I work for an insurance carrier. I think they are doing a pretty good job of dealing with things. Everyone who is capable of and wants to work at home has been allowed to do so. Many have taken their phones and hardware with them, and we have onsite IT to help them through things. I have the option to work from home and there has been no pressure to not, but as I am also the backup to the backup (on quarantine because she went to the beach) receptionist (at home because she is high risk), I have chosen to work from the reception desk to handle phones (which can be done at home) and also to deal with deliveries. We have very, very few visitors other than deliveries, and most people are gone, so I consider the risk at the moment to be manageable. My city has 8 cases, all travel related.

  251. Jellyfish*

    My spouse has a nonessential public facing job, so he was laid off. However, his boss personally called everyone on staff to explain the situation, assure them they’d still have jobs waiting when this is all over, and gave them all the info they needed to file for unemployment. The situation still sucks, but I thought she handled it really well.

    I’m not delighted with how my whole organization is handling things, but my direct boss is doing a great job. She’s relaxed the usual WFH standards and builds time in to our virtual meetings for people to talk about their situations and share tips if they’re so inclined. She’s also attaching occasional pictures of her cats to email updates about regular business. It’s a small thing, but the photos make me smile every time. (I realize that wouldn’t go over well in every workplace culture, but she knew it’d be welcome here.)

  252. Brainstorming*

    My overall workplace and my direct leadership team/boss has responded incredibly well.
    -Everyone who can reasonably work from home, is working from home (and allowed flexibility to still work from home even if they have children who are now home due to school closures).
    -Those who cannot work from home are on paid administrative lead, and ways are being worked out to find roles that they can fill from home.
    -We are being offered paid administrative leave for time that we might need to take a day for mental health purposes.
    -We responded to this far in advance of our city/county/state restricting workplaces and even before there were confirmed cases in our specific county– I’ve been working from home for over two weeks already.

    Overall, I am very impressed with how things are being handled. I am thankful to be able to work still and hope that we will be able to continue to work if this goes on longer than expected.

  253. I edit everything*

    I’m a freelancer, and my main client is a single publishing company. Everyone there already works remotely, from top to bottom, so my work isn’t changing much. But they did send out a letter to everyone saying they understand if we need to extend deadlines because of kids being at home or having to care for family members, and they will pay us freelancers advances if we need them too, which is a comforting reassurance.

    I was joking with another client, an indie author who also operates a food truck three seasons of the year, that if she needs to, she can pay me in empanadas (one of their menu items). Kinda hoping that happens, a little bit, though I don’t think I have room in the freezer for $400-worth of empanadas.

  254. Human Sloth*

    I’m 3 months into this new job (thanks AAM for you help with that!!!). The job is actually located 5 hours away in another state. Since we haven’t sold our house yet, I have a cheap apartment that I use during the week and I come home on weekends. My new company has allowed us to wfh and I am in my home state with my family. I was explicitly told to go home to my family. Since I work for a hospital (IT dept), I do have to go back into town during my on-call week just in case I am needed on site. I have been pleasantly surprised how proactive my company is and how supportive!

  255. irene adler*

    We’re a small company -less than 15- and considered essential (IVD test kits).
    When CA governor issued the stay home order last Thursday, I wasn’t sure whether to go into work on Friday. I didn’t get details from the newscast-just everybody stay home. As I needed to get some work done, I chanced it and went to work.
    At work, I sent an email to the CEO and basically TOLD him: You WILL back me up if I should be cited for non-essential travel. Got it?
    His email response was a very explicit “You bet. And here’s why.” Followed by an explanation about why our products/employees are essential and why they are particularly needed now. I printed out the email and kept it.

    My boss (the VP) is checking in periodically to see if we need anything or if there’s anything preventing us from completing our tasks. And to remind us- if you feel sick- go home. Stay home. You’ll not lose any pay. We already have flexible hours should we need to deal with things at home (kids!)-as long as we apprise management as to how we will get our work done. We’ve needed some service vendors to come on-site; he’s told us what to do to make that happen.

    Now, there are others here who feel that CEO should be doing more. They want him to issue announcements and instructions on how to wash or social distance or disinfect surfaces and place hand sanitizer everywhere. We’re spread out enough in a huge building so social distancing is automatic. Basically, each person has their own room. Very little interaction. And there’s plenty of alcohol, paper towels, water, wash stations and soap to disinfect. We have loads of glycerol and alcohol and are allowed to make our own hand sanitizer (sans fragrance). No one has prepared any, thus far.

    We’re not really able to do our work remotely. But if one can find ways to do this, it’s okay by management as long as product gets out the door. I will point out that the VP does his conference calls from home now.

    Just today CEO sent me a link to a site that contains a calculator to figure out how much a person’s stimulus check will be. Because he thought I’d like to know. There has been no mention at all to short our hours or take the check in exchange for full pay or anything.

    1. Heffalump*

      I work for a manufacturer of industrial machines. In fact, one of our customers is using one of our machines to make N95 masks. Our parent company recently sent everyone a PDF explaining that we’re in a critical industry. We’ve been encouraged to carry a hard copy in case we’re questioned.

    2. irene adler*

      Update: the VP stopped by my office and we discussed the fact that he takes the virus situation very seriously. But he felt that all employees understood the situation and were taking appropriate steps. So he didn’t see the need to issue directives or monitor people’s behavior. He would certainly take immediate steps if he saw someone was not taking the proper precautions.
      Fair enough.

  256. JJ*

    My company has handled this in a so-so by-the-book kind of way, but my group wanted to do something more to show that we understand the mental, emotional, and logistical toll people are facing at this time. At the group level this became an invitation to take a couple hours of comp time (we’re all salaried), but another manager and I decided to extend this to be a comp day, and we have been encouraging people to take it in the next couple of weeks and really unplug. The response has been positive and very heartfelt. It’s been a good lesson for me in terms of how managers can step in in a compassionate way.

  257. Red Wheelbarrow*

    I work as a part-time (27-hour) adjunct writing tutor at a well-funded pharmacy/health sciences college. My position is generously paid by adjunct standards but has typically had no benefits except the state-mandated sick leave and a subsidized bus pass. Right now I’m lucky to be able to tutor from home on an online interface that we already used with our long-distance students.

    As a healthcare teaching institution, the college has been hit hard by the virus. Like nearly all colleges, it has switched to online-only operation for everything except hospital rotations and a few essential operations. Some of the graduate students I tutor are als0 putting in long hours as nurses or physician assistants, treating sick people without adequate protection. Some of them are scared, but they also tell me they’re glad to be able to help.

    This week the college announced that all adjunct faculty will be paid for the full amount contracted for this semester, whether or not we work the full hours. This applies to adjunct faculty who can only work reduced hours, who need to take the rest of the semester off, or who can’t do their jobs from home. They’re also providing paid time off for people who are sick or need to care for a sick loved one. This is separate from our state-mandated sick leave, which we can leave untouched for later use.

    I got a little weepy when I read this email. It’s the most generous treatment I’ve ever encountered as an adjunct. It was written in a kind and respectful tone, acknowledging the university’s gratitude for the contributions of adjunct faculty. The tenure track/adjunct system is institutionally brutal even in good universities, but actions like this do a lot to make it more humane.

  258. Anon HCW*

    I work for a healthcare facility currently enduring the lull before the storm. Volumes are down as we wait for the virus to hit our area. We’re spending that time trying to be as prepared as possible and, so far, I’m happy with the organization’s response and support.

    They have instituted an extra 3 weeks PTO should anyone have to be quarantined, used the temporarily closed gym to open child care for those who are in essential positions since schools are closed, re-assigned workers in non-essential areas so that they continue to receive paychecks, encouraging those who can to work from home, opened a support hotline for those having difficulties, virtual town hall meetings, regular updates from administration, closing the building to non-essential visitors and screening at all doors, allowing people to borrow against future PTO earned if needed. I’m probably missing something because I think that they really have done just about everything possible to keep people safe, protected, and prepared and to keep anxiety down. I’m considered essential and I feel more comfortable coming to work than anyplace else outside of home right now.

  259. Musician*

    I have multiple freelance jobs, both as a musician and otherwise, and have experienced a full spectrum of support or lack of. The symphony I play with has been stellar- they paid us for the full week of our March concert even though it was cancelled halfway through the week of rehearsals, and just announced that they’re paying us for the equivalent of three rehearsals for the April concert that’s been postponed, and will still pay us for the full week whenever we actually get to have the rehearsals/concert. They said that they know a lot of us are struggling at the moment, and wanted to do something to help us out. What a blessing. (Besides that, I currently have only one hour per week of income.)

  260. Bored in the house*

    My company was admittedly a little late to the game in reacting to the crisis, but they are taking steps to catch up and encourage us all to stay connected. We typically have a birthday lunch in the office during the last week of the month for everyone whose birthday was that month. Instead we got cards in the mail today with $10, encouraging us to buy lunch from a local small business in celebration of March birthdays. It’s a small thing, but as a March birthday (whose birthday is, coincidentally, today), I so appreciated that they thought about this AND want to spread their support in our community!

  261. Eugenie*

    I work at a museum and I was really impressed our administration is continuing to pay all staff whether they’re able to work right now or not. We were all sent to work-from-home and we closed our building, but even our hourly retail and visitor services staff will continue to get a paycheck based on their typical schedules. I know a lot of museums are doing big lay-offs right now, so this was extra impressive. I don’t think they can keep it up indefinitely, but it’s still a great move.

    Also, the essential staff who have to be on site are making time and a half as a kind of hazard pay!

  262. Gig-less Data Analyst*

    Answering for my husband since I’m unemployed at the moment. He works at a local news station (considered essential) and the measures they have put in place are amazing. I can’t eve express how much I appreciate it, as he is high risk for complications (recovering from recent blood clots in his lungs).

    – Anyone who can work from home is, including most of the talent. They have somehow figured out in a week how to frankenstein a newscast together via Skype, Zoom, etc. It hasn’t been pretty, but management has been clear that they are not expected to maintain the level of broadcasting as in the past.
    – For anyone who has to go in, like my husband, they have separated the teams as much as possible, so they’re being exposed to as few people as possible. Separate work areas, bathrooms, entrances/exits, and break areas.
    – Anyone who has to go to the station to work is now getting a $75 per day bonus retroactive to March 16th, and the company is not taking the employee contribution for health insurance out of paychecks for the next 6 months. This gives us an extra $250 in his check per pay period.
    – News anchors are always seated/spaced at least 6 feet apart. There are no guests or non-employees during this time allowed in the building. Reporters and cameramen have been paired up so they only work with each other. They drive the trucks into an empty garage and transfer footage via an ethernet cable. Any equipment they have to drop off is sanitized before being brought back into the building by a single designated employee.
    – It hasn’t been stated explicitly, but rumor has it that employees who have been sent home because their position isn’t essential for the show to go on, but cannot WFH because they have to be at the station to do their job, are still being paid in full.

    I would rather have him at home, of course, but these measures have proven to us that his employer (who just acquired their station on March 1st!) really does care about the safety and well being of their employees. They are all stressed to the max working with a skeleton crew and new technology, but having a few less things to worry about makes it a little easier.

    1. Canadian anon*

      Question? if they have anyone on the street, are they using a hokey stick to hold the mic like they have in canada?

  263. Laura*

    My team already used Teams for work, so we created a ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ chat dedicated specifically to funny memes, personal stories, and a team playlist to keep connected. It has helped tremendously to avoid the isolation and boredom. I’ve also let me team work 100% remote, join calls in normal clothes, and not to worry about kids & piles of laundry in the background. I’ve also encouraged them to take the time they need and not to worry about PTO or hours worked, as we are all in the same situation, and to think of it as a marathon, not a sprint, so be sure not to burn out at the beginning.

  264. CB*

    Our office (team of 25 within a mid-size private university) has allowed everyone to take home whatever supplies they need – monitors, consumable supplies, etc in order to make our mandatory work-from-home more bearable. I went in to the office after a few days and snagged my 27″ monitor, wireless keyboard, and mouse. Game changer.

    My team (of 3) has been really great about having morning video chats every day. It’s a nice way to stay in contact with each other, make a game plan for the day, and continue the face-to-face dialogue we’re used to in the office. I live alone and don’t have many close friends, and keeping in touch with my team is helping me cope with isolation. We had our first all-staff meeting on Zoom this morning, and it was lovely.

  265. Nope, not today*

    We have all moved to working remotely (something that has been definitely Not an Option for anyone under any circumstances for years). We have a quick daily zoom meeting each morning to check in with everyone for our department. Yesterday was a coworkers birthday, under normal circumstances we’d have donuts or something in the office, so instead we had a 4 pm Zoom ‘happy hour’ for her, which was actually pretty nice – casual conversation that wasnt about work, everyone drinking whatever they wanted (alcohol or otherwise), and it was only half an hour so not too long.

  266. whocanpickone*

    The company I work for has handled this well this so far. Everyone is working from home – management closed the office before the state required it, even tho we qualify as essential workers. There is regular communication and they just rolled out a temporary “expense 50% of your takeout” policy to help support the local community. Additionally, there has been open communication about being sensitive to others and that we’re all living in an unusual and stressful time right now. It’s very humanizing.

  267. BeeBoo*

    My boss immediately went to the Board of our non-profit and had them approve a paid leave policy, so even if staff uses all their sick leave (which can be used for anything COVID-19 related– taking care of kids, parents, mental health, etc.), they will not have to dip into their vacation time and will continue to be paid at their full rates. Our CEO has instructed all managers to be extremely flexible with staff around their working hours, which is extremely helpful for staff now also home-schooling/just trying to survive with their staff. In addition, management has really stepped up to help front-line staff with meeting clients needs, supporting back-end admin procedures, and really however they can help.

  268. 1234*

    Note: I work in an industry that relies on gathering small groups of people together, in-person.

    We are all currently working from home. We receive emailed updates on how the company is doing financially. Things like “we can make payroll in full and the next pay period is _____.” along with “we are looking into XYZ methods to get some cash flow into the business for the time being.” I find these emails comforting. I am very realistic and know that it doesn’t mean that my job is safe (not by a long shot) but at least I know that I have a job right now which is more than some people can say, so I am grateful to my company.

  269. Canadian anon*

    My company is letting me go on leave, as I have asthma and the cleaning supplies used are killing my lungs. Plus the stress is so much when I’m at work I struggle to function. It is likely to be unpaid, but I’m hoping I’ll either be able to get on our benefit’s short term disability or on the government’s Covid 19 benifits plan.

  270. Secretary*

    I work for a company that is essential function in a shelter in place area, and we can’t work from home. Business has slowed a lot and a lot of small businesses like ours are laying people off.

    I assist the owner of the company, and I’m getting a front row seat to watching how dedicated he is to avoiding having to lay people off. He and the estimator drive around all day hunting for work, and have been going through consistent clients to see if they have any for us. My boss cut my hours from 40 hours to 20 hours (I’m non-exempt), but I’m not upset because I know he could have easily just told me to stay home for the next two weeks with maybe coming in once or twice a week for an hour or so. He keeps telling me, “I like having someone in the office” but I know he really just doesn’t want me to lose any more hours than I have to.

    For our workers, he can’t have them all come in, so he’s rotating them so that no one has to get laid off. All of this is a lot more work for him, but it’s cool how he’s doing all this to help everyone keep their job rather than doing the easy thing and just laying people off. I’m so grateful to work here right now.

  271. AliciaB*

    I work for a newspaper (considered an essential business) and they were very proactive about letting people work from home if possible, to then requiring remote work even before our city and eventually state went to shelter at home. Some individual managers had a harder time with remote work but didn’t get a choice in the end, which I think will be good in the long run for their teams. However the actual paper still needs people present to get printed, so they started combining sections to allow them to use fewer presses and less staff, thus allowing more social distancing space. All in all I’ve been happy with how they’ve handled everything and feel pretty lucky to carry on with work as normal.

  272. AliceBD*

    My company is sending out a lot of communication about what is going on and it is very appreciated.

    My team is doing a good job of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt and being extra nice to each other.

    I also appreciate the company recognizing that my department has done a LOT of work during this time and have given us shout outs on large conference calls and credited us with the work. We’re not a department people would think of first in this situation but we’re doing critical work.

  273. em_eye*

    I posted in the Ask a Readers about 2 weeks ago that my company still hadn’t cancelled travel and in-person events. I’m happy to say that in that time they’ve done a complete 180 and have gone above and beyond to support us. They cancelled all our remaining in-person events through the end of May. We were already working primarily from home, so a lot of the day-to-day hasn’t changed, but they’ve been reemphasizing our unlimited PTO policy and urging everyone to cut back their hours (without affecting pay) so we can prioritize taking care of our physical mental health and our families. There are optional virtual happy hours so we can see each other’s faces a little more and check in. Managers have explicitly said they don’t expect everyone to be as productive as we would have been before that, and that’s totally fine.

    But honestly, the thing that’s meant the most to me is that we’re pushing forward with finding a way to provide our programs online. My team does professional development opportunities for people in a very niche industry. It’s a really innovative program and I think our participants would have understood had it been on the chopping block, but my coworkers and I have been able to transition it to 100% virtual in the span of about a week. Our managers told us to spend all of last week taking webinars on how to facilitate virtual meetings effectively. We pay our participants and are continuing to do so, even expanding the number of people we serve to try and re-train people who may have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus. We’re working on a plan to provide laptops to people who want to participate but don’t have the technology to do so from home yet. I love my job and was worried it would disappear when the pandemic really got under way, and instead, it’s showed me how resilient and committed my team still is.

  274. Coverage Associate*

    I am finding our daily emails from our CEO team just about the right amount of updating.

    We are a large law firm mainly in areas with stay in place orders so everyone is working from home.

  275. NowI'mHungry*

    My company already provides us with PTO hours that are designated for volunteering. There were some pretty strict requirements for what qualified for these volunteer-PTO hours, but the company has since eased those limits. Now, we’re encouraged to use that PTO time for anything that will help our communities during the pandemic, including spending time checking in on older neighbors/relatives. It’s really great to be able to have paid volunteer time to make sure my people are all doing okay.

  276. Tango*

    My supervisor has social meetings scheduled through Teams M/W/F that are 15 minutes where we’re not allowed to talk about work, just check up on each other.

    My senior director has scheduled a team social meeting Friday at the end of most people’s shifts (it’s right after my lunch, but I have the last shift) with a contest for best back drop, best costume, and best pet. My husband and I are furries and he has a fursuit… I think I’m going to park him in front of the camera holding our cat.

  277. amcb13*

    I’m finishing up my second week of teaching my high school classes over Zoom. To start with, I feel very lucky to teach at a 1:1 laptop school where almost all families have good wifi at home, but we surveyed our families the week before we started distance learning and got them connected (we bought a few hotspots and also an ISP in our area is helping out with that.)

    Our administration has been working tirelessly to create, revise, and communicate plans and expectations with us, our students, and their families. Above all, we have been hearing the clear message that we are to keep things simple, limit expectations, and realize that schoolwork is not the most important thing right now. We are a small and tight-knit school, and our academic expectations are usually very high. It has been so great to remember that the important piece of schooling right now is the connection and the routine/structure/semblance of normalcy that we can provide to our students, rather than any specific content we had been planning to teach.

    School leaders have done a tremendous job striking a balance between soliciting feedback from us regularly and taking the work of planning off of those of use who are on the “front lines”–they’ve created structures and plans that work for us and that give us flexibility while addressing the needs of other members of our community (our many international students, who are hoping to join classes via Zoom from all over the world once they’re settled back at home, for example–which means that our schedule will be flipped some days so they can get to all of their classes at least some of the time without staying up to 3 am their time).

    They’ve also protected us from ourselves, in many cases–teachers are often bad at protecting our own time/energy/other basic needs when lured by the notion of doing one more thing…and then one more, and one more…to take care of our students. We’re hurting for our kids and a lot of us would totally overdo it without constant and consistent reminders to take care of ourselves and basically only give what is reasonable.

    It’s been really hard to be doing the work of teaching without all the little extras that make it so much fun, but I feel so lucky to have such great support and understanding. A

  278. University admin*

    My employer, a university, has facilitated everyone working from home other than “essential workers” (I believe that’s public safety, buildings and grounds, not sure if anyone else); they ran out of laptops for people to borrow (faculty had priority), so let me take my desktop computer home. There are daily email updates from the university, so everyone is on the same page as things change. Meetings and classes are all on Zoom. People are being flexible, taking time to figure out social time as well, to keep the sense of community alive (especially for students), and helping each other with technological solutions/workarounds.

  279. TiredMama*

    This one is simple. I updated my managers that we still have childcare and I would work as usual (I already work remotely from home) and expected my availability and work to be the same. They replied back that my family comes first and to do whatever I need to do. They said this once before when my kids were sick and lived up to it so I believe them.

  280. bb8*

    my university is paying everyone, even hourlies, and promising to do so for the long haul. This at times means that hourlies are now doing data entry remotely for other projects, or whatever, but folks are getting paid.

    My direct boss has also been really really good about giving us space to breath, and feel, and acknowledging that this is not business as usual, and we shouldn’t expect normal productivity from each other.

  281. WFH in a caftan*

    My company has about 600 people; mostly office based and then a quarter are usually remote. They have instituted WFH through the end of April and offered all employees the reimbursements available to remote folks—reimbursement to a set amount for office supplies/tech and internet or data plans.

    My team set up a “watercooler” channel in Slack and has daily, optional video Hangouts set up. Most people don’t join every day, but our team/field is more creative and we usually do a lot of spontaneous brainstorming in person—so this is a nice place to chat and catch up, as well as recreate that.

    There’s also just generally been a huge emphasis from leadership that we should focus on our families and let them know what we need—PTO (unlimited), flexible schedule, sharing new communications best practices company-wide, etc. My company didn’t move to WFH quite as fast as some of our peers, but they did move quickly and overall I really appreciate their response to this!

  282. hbc*

    We started using Slack as an “oh, crap, how do we replace all the face-to-face stuff we’re doing fast”, and IT at our parent company raised a flag within 24 hours. My boss just said, “I trust you guys to be safe with what you send, do what you need to do to get through this.” And our HR manager has been really good about standing up for the need of a few fun, blow-off-steam, connect-with-people channels.

  283. Salsa Your Face*

    My company has let us know that their priorities are 1) employee health and safety, 2) transparency and open communication and then 3) continuity of business. The fact that the business objectives are last on the list is so, so reassuring to me. Transitioning to working at home was as easy as it could be, since our work takes place fully online and we already have company issued laptops with VPNs, so there was no question as to whether close our offices or not, and our office officially closed a week before our state mandated it.

    On a smaller team level, we’ve been checking in with each other regularly over chat, and have even set up optional coffee break video chats for those of us who want to see each other’s faces.

    Overall, I’ve felt really supported and assured throughout this process, and I know that makes me so lucky. I couldn’t ask for a better employer.

  284. AnonForThis*

    (Note: I’m essential personnel in healthcare/social services, in a role where remote work is not possible)

    I’m getting a lot more flexibility with my hours, which is great, because I’m not a morning person anyways. Hopefully I can keep that going once this is over!

    Also, I know it’s stupid to be excited about snacks, but we’re getting different snacks every day & our ED is ordering us lunch from local restaurants on Fridays. Honestly, when you’re doing the kind of work we’re doing, fruit salad and cupcakes in the break room every afternoon are a huge morale boost.

  285. Unladen European Swallow*

    We moved our regular weekly staff meeting to Zoom. One small fun thing for these staff meetings – we’re an office of 10. Each week, someone suggests a theme and everyone is to join the Zoom meeting with a virtual background related to that theme. My suggestion was if you could be a character in a movie, what would it be? People were encouraged to find a scene or a set from a movie. It was totally fun to see and try to guess everyone’s movie based on their virtual background!

  286. Mieki60*

    I work for a large non-profit foundation and we now have everyone working from home and it’s going quite well. Our Service Desk (IT) have been rock stars, in keeping everyone connected and fully functioning. One thing we’re doing on our team, weekly, just for fun, is having a zoom virtual happy hour. We’re a pretty tight knit group and it’s really been great getting a chance to stay connected and have a few laughs.

  287. Pink Hair Don't Care*

    Right now managers work from home all day. Myself and the other supervisor are going in for half days. I work alone from 8:30-12;30pm and the other supervisor is alone in the office from 12:30 to 4:30pm. We clean everything when we come in and when we leave. I finish my day by working from home. We are an essential service in transportation so we need to keep things going. Im happy to get out of the house but also work from home too. So far this is working well for us.

  288. Jen*

    I work in a software company, so most of us were already more-or-less equipped to WFH. As soon as the first cases appeared in the city, we were told that we can WFH if we want. Most people took advantage of this, so within 2 days the office was basically deserted. Non-essential movement has been prohibited in the country starting this week, so now our office is officially closed and everyone must work from home. Versions of this have happened in all our sites.

    There were some hiccups when thousands of people tried to connect to the VPN at the same time, but they were all sorted within a few days. Top management has also been sending a coronavirus update a couple of times a week, highlighting the most important company news (travel bans, plans to get consultants back home, IT stuff, etc).

    On top of the coronavirus, we were also hit with a cyberattack, so our VPN has been down for a week… which means that many people are not able to access files that are required for their work. Management has managed to find tasks for everyone to do so that we are not forced to take PTO.

    And our daily meetings have gotten longer and more personal. The reason this happened is awful, but I think that in the future it will help us work better together.

  289. Student Affairs Sally*

    My employer (a large midwestern university) has asked that everyone who can work from home should do so. For those that can’t (mostly hourly employees), they are guaranteed pay based on their average hours through the end of the fiscal year (June 30).

    Specifically for my team, we have informal daily check-ins via WebEx. My boss is really flexible about attendance at these – if we have other priorities or appointments, we’re welcome to not attend, but most of us do. These usually only last about 30 minutes and gives us a chance to catch up on how working from home is going, what each of us is working on, as well as updates from our larger department and/or the institution as a whole. I really like most of my coworkers and have missed the social connection of day to day interactions with my colleagues, even as an introvert, so I really enjoy these casual opportunities to connect both professionally and personally. My boss has also been really amazing about reminding us that while she wants us to be productive, she doesn’t want us to feel chained to our computers for 40 hours a week, and she expects us to take breaks just as we would at the office. That’s been hard to do because so there’s so much work to be done to transition what we do online, but I appreciate the sentiment a lot.

  290. The Tin Man*

    For anonymity’s sake I work for a manufacturing company that is (for now) considered essential. We do see demand shrinking and, based on our business in Europe, are expecting a ~30% drop in volumes in the next couple months. Most people want to stay open to keep money coming in, we are frantically trying to cut spending to keep cash for payroll. If we shut down the plant staff will be laid off probably almost immediately, with salaried office employees (like me) following behind.

    On a personal note I’m lucky because I am office-based. I’ve been at home since Tuesday 3/17, going in on that Monday to grab my docking station and monitors. Nobody has bat an eye at that. I feel for our production personnel who are in the middle of winter maintenance getting ready for the season (we are mostly a April – December business). They have to come in but, from what I hear, are taking tons of precautions and we have a daily call making sure all sites have the supplies they need, ranging from sanitizer to soap to masks to toilet paper.

  291. ThisColumnMakesMeGratefulForMyBoss*

    Working from home is not a new thing for me, or many of those in my company. We have 2 offices spaces in LA and Milwaukee, but many others working from home full time. For those in the offices, we have been WFH since last Monday. Everyone is super understanding and flexible knowing that some may have young children that they now have to watch while also trying to work, as well as kids who are now learning online and they need help throughout the day. I’m working on a really big project, and we’ve started contingency planning to account for productivity being lower without the collaboration of those who did work in the office, and also for anyone who may get sick or need to take care of someone who is sick. So they’re doing a great job.

    My husband on the other hand works for the government. They’ve allowed high risk individuals to take administrative leave, but split everyone else into 2 “teams” where they will work one week, and then be on administrative leave for another week. With the virus having up to a 14 day incubation period, it’s seems pointless to me. Yes, they have the benefit of being paid without having to work or take PTO while on administrative leave, but keeping them out of the office for 5 days really doesn’t do anything to keep the virus from spreading if someone has it and doesn’t know it.

  292. Raven_Smiles*

    We’re a global organization with roughly 3500 employees. We’ve been getting regular emails around guidance and restrictions since mid-February. They’ve done a good job of notifying us of changes to policy and posting updates on the internal portal in case you miss/delete the email. They staggered the work from home policy for US vs non-US employees just based on how the virus was spreading, and then for the US workforce staggered the policy over a 3 day period to accommodate those who had laptops and could immediately work from home and those with desktops (yes really, I don’t understand it either) who needed a little more time to get situated. But all in all, they took 95% of us remote pretty quickly, and have continued the regular communication out to us on policy changes.

    My direct boss checks in with us regularly, scheduled and unscheduled, and asks what we need to help support us at this time. We’ve got a team happy hour scheduled this Friday, and we’ll see if those become a regular occurrence. The grand-grand-grand-grand-grand boss (not sure how many layers away I am actually) also addresses the company with updates on a regular basis, and we have a daily task force of senior people that meets to talk about this as well.

  293. hmbalison*

    I work for a Silicon Valley company–not one of the huge ones–but we are a digital technology company and have about 10,000 employees. Our CEO has been awesome and held a company-wide meeting on FB live on March 5 with a strategy that has everyone work at home from March 9th on. The message from day one has been to take care of employees and customers. We’ve had several other all-hands meetings since. Leadership has been supportive and consistent. We used Zoom before, and we’re all using Zoom now for meetings. In addition, we have SLACK channels for working at home and individual teams. People are encouraged to post photos of pets, videos of kids, etc. My manager checks in with my team at least once a day on SLACK or Zoom. We’ve had virtual happy hours. Today, our the company is hosting a flamenco guitar concert that people can “attend” on Zoom. I’m proud to work for this organization. So far, no talk of layoffs. All the service workers who maintain our offices are getting paid even though the offices are closed. The company even donated $100,000 to the CDC.

  294. Cg1254t*

    My company is giving a bonus per pay period — I’m assuming to help cover for lost hours. We are doing screenings of all visitors (so staff and vendors) with a no-contact thermometer and I think that’s good. I work at a retirement home, so I’m glad they’re taking this seriously.

  295. Jay*

    I’m a doc working for a nationwide company doing home visits, so not on the “front lines” but working our butts off to keep our (elderly, fragile) patients out of the hospital. We have offices in NoCal and Seattle, and they’ve been WFH for a month. We went WFH nationally two weeks ago and as of last week are doing almost all our visits telephonically. They eliminated metrics for the first quarter bonus – everyone is getting paid. The COO is calling local leadership to check in and provide concrete support when needed. Our local leadership is doing an amazing job communicating with us and managing the overwhelming flow of information from within the company and outside.

    I sent around an article about grief as a widespread emotional response and got amazing feedback, including a shoutout from our GM on our daily calls with encouragement for self-care.

    My boss has instituted a Daily COVID Meme email. More seriously, he’s advocating for the lessons we can learn long-term – people do actually work if they are allowed to WFH. Doctors and NPs and PAs are professionals and can manage their own schedules. Maybe we can stop doing “routine” visits to people who have no active issues and substitute telephone check-ins so we can free up more time to see the sicker people and do urgent visits. He makes me feel like there may be some meaning in all of this.

    And we continue to offer emotional support for staff affected by deaths of patients and the overall stress of the time.

  296. Beezus*

    We all got together on a Zoom and played a fill-in-the-blank game online together. It was very funny and really took our minds off everything! Today we’re doing a “virtual happy hour” where we’re all going to wear a silly hat/headpiece and talk about non-work stuff. It helps bc we’re not usually remote for most of us, so used to being able to chit-chat.

  297. IheardItBothWays*

    I am in NY. 2 weeks ago when everything was starting we were told if we wanted to work from home we could. Then last sunday Cuomo shut down all non essential sites so we were told now we had no choice – we have to work from home. We had until 8 pm sunday to come in and grab anything we needed to make our at home offices work for us – chairs, monitors, whatever we needed just come and take it. We would be told when we are allowed back on site. Also since there is no daycare or anything like that the rules on having children around when you are working are relaxed. before you had to have a sitter or daycare for your kids if you were working from home. That is gone for now.

    Now my manager has weekly “chat” meetings where we video conference in (if you want – audio only is fine) and we just talk about stuff. Kinda the water cooler type talk to keep us a little grounded and give us some non-work chats to join if we want. It’s an optional meeting but it is kinda nice to get guaranteed social outlet for those of us who live at home. He also makes a point of sending an email out every few days to ask what he can do to make this easier for us. Not really much he can do but just the thought is nice.

    We have also taken over our slack random with people posting things you can do from home (lots of museums are doing virtual tours) and trivia and quizes to keep people sane. This is a difficult situation but I feel like they are doing the best they can right now.

  298. Shannon*

    Our IT department spent a couple weeks figuring out how to get everyone remote, early in March (maybe late Feb, too?)

    We converted all meetings to virtual meetings at the same time, even while we were in the office.

    We went fully remote a week and a half before the stay at home order came through.

    Our CEO has been sending out communications twice a week (and daily those first several days.)

    Email thread for “new coworkers” <3 (animals and kids)

    And lots of early discussion for accommodating folks who can’t work at home for whatever reason – basically the company has done everything they can think of to keep us all employed, safely distant, and still connected.

  299. Anon-a-nanny*

    My partner and I are both in isolation as I had a dry cough last weekend. Partner works for a moving house company and they very kindly surprised us with a box of groceries this week. Super kind and especially useful given we are isolating

  300. sara*

    I’m a software dev at an agriculture tech company. We’re all feeling really lucky to be still working, and working to support an industry that’s more stable than most during a time like this! My team’s working fully from home and I don’t expect that to change for a very, very long time.

    We’re getting pretty regular contact from the CEO and upper management, which has been reassuring and also humanizing – sharing unique WFH setups and being really honest about how they’re handling things both at home and business stuff.

    Supervisors are also being super flexible about the timing and length of people’s workdays, and understanding that even though we are so fortunate to still be working, we’re also all pretty emotionally compromised. And we’ve had lots of structured and impromptu digital social gatherings! Oh, and they let us bring home any equipment we need – we started all working before we had to, so there was some time to get organized on that front.

    We were already partially distributed (head office, plus about 1/2 our team distributed in farming areas – service and sales mostly) so we had a bit of a head start on this kind of culture, but I think for all of us, the weirdest part is how normal work still is.

  301. Katniss Evergreen*

    My manager in particular is great with this – she’s been part of an effort involving my team and a few other collaborators to create remote work guides from scratch that are more in-depth than our greater organization’s resources. They’re now accessible to over 1000 staff, which is a cool thing to put on my resume considering how much time I spent pulling screenshots off of the webex app. Our team is checking in at least once a week over video meetings, and otherwise are left to be adults about how we manage our time. We are trying to get creative about opportunities for work that could use another set of eyes, so the staff who don’t have a lot to do right now across our division can keep busy. To my knowledge, our greater organization is being pretty great about encouraging remote work and has reduced on-site staff to critical functions only. I feel lucky to work here right now.

  302. Anon for this*

    My actual institution and the director of our library system have so many issues and all of them have been coming to light with this pandemic.

    But.

    My actual boss is amazing. She’s been really supportive of all of us. She told us we’re all adults. If we need to go out for a walk while we’re WFH, she doesn’t care. If we need to adjust our schedules, as long as she knows we’re okay, she’s find with it. Whatever we need, she’s on it. She’s been clearer about what is happening with administration. She’s been advocating for us. She’s been a champ. I feel really, really fortunate right now.

  303. GrumpyGnome*

    My company (which is global) had the US offices start working from home on March 3/16, which was before my state began social distancing (and starting this Friday we’ll be under a shelter-in-place order). The gym at my office is also shut down, but they’re doing Facebook Lives for employees to be able to work out at home ‘with’ the trainer. Our insurance is covering COVID19 testing and the associated doctor visit for free (no copay at all), and waived the fee for Doctors on Demand online that we can access with our insurance. Additionally, for those few people that do not have laptops, they are still being paid while the offices are closed and the company is working on getting laptops for them.

    While there have been hiccups, the company has leveraged everything they can to work on IT issues and enable employees to work from home.

  304. IrishEm*

    My company straight-up stated that anyone impacted by COVID-19 will be paid in full through to the 31 May and they’ll review after that point to see if wages will still need to go to ppl who are looking after kids/are suffering with the virus or quarantined.

    Also, for my particular wing of the company, I’m on a small employee morale team along with some other peeps at my level along with upper management and we’re trying to do fun non-large-gathering-things to raise morale. I’m gathering links to art gallery websites and meditation apps to pass on to my team for things that will cheer ppl up. It’s only something small but hoping it will help ppl keep afloat in the eddies of distress in the current climate.

  305. Alexander Graham Yell*

    I’ve been really happy with my company’s response! We hired a new head of HR about a month or two before all of this and she is really, really great. In terms of specifics, though, we got an email yesterday laying out work from home policies. They are:

    – Focus on maintaining good work/life balance. Log off fully at night and on weekends.
    – Seriously, get away from your desk. Take a full lunch break. Make a cup of coffee. Stretch.
    – No business emails should be sent over the weekend. If you get one, you should feel free to ignore it until your next working day.
    – Parents will need extra understanding and flexibility as not only they but their kids get used to this new normal. Parents, please block off times you need to be able to focus on your kids in your calendar with a clear note so that your team knows not to bother you. Teams, until we have new routines established, please ask everybody if meeting times are good for everybody before blocking them off in somebody’s calendar.

    We also have virtual happy hours (next week is champagne and pets to celebrate a major milestone), we have group chats on Slack including an all-company general chat thread that is currently pictures of people’s WFH set ups, pets, and particularly delicious lunches. Overall, leadership has been great about modeling what they want to see, and we’re all encouraged to be comfortable, make time for chit chat, and take regular breaks.

  306. Anonymous for Today*

    My manager is trusting our team to get our work done without micromanaging us or trying to track our every move. We are trusted.

  307. Nicole*

    I’m an essential healthcare professional that cannot work remotely so nothing has really changed for me, but was informed yesterday that all of us who are hourly will be receiving a temporary $2/hr raise. It’s in effect until at least the end of April but will be reevaluated at that time. I wasn’t expecting anything (never worked anywhere that cared so much) so this is a welcome surprise!

  308. Workin'atHome*

    My company created (in a very short amount of time) a process to let us take home our monitors, keyboard, etc to help us be efficient working remotely (normally we’re only allowed to take home our laptops).

  309. tired anon*

    For-profit company of about 100 people split between NYC and DC offices:

    * We went full-time remote three weeks ago (ahead of most companies who did so) – we already had a pretty flexible WFH policy and everyone was equipped to do so, so it was easy and I think they made the right call.

    * Tons of flexibility now that we’re all remote – parents especially are able to step away from their laptops to help kids, but in general everyone is being really flexible about scheduling.

    * Sick leave – usually our sick days come out of our PTO (though we do get a pretty decent amount to cover it all), but the exec team decided that anyone who gets sick with CV19 or is a caretaker for someone sick can take as much time as they need, paid, without it coming out of the PTO bank.

    * Transparency – a few emails and an all-company video conference where the CEO filled us in on the impact this has had on our business (thankfully minimal) and candidly answered questions (as of now, no anticipated layoffs but they are putting on a salary freeze until there are fewer unknowns).

    * Daily morning meditation and lunchtime workouts, social lunches and trivia happy hours, all by video conference (and all completely optional). It definitely doesn’t quite feel like seeing people in person, but it’s better than nothing and nice to have some non-work time to chat.

    My company has its issues, but I really think they’ve handled this extremely well. I’ve stayed here for a long time largely because I think the company generally values people, and this crisis has shown that they do.

  310. Clementine*

    I was already working remotely in Seattle, so I was lucky to miss several weeks of possible low-level exposure in huge office buildings like I had at my previous job. My company canceled all business travel by late February (after canceling international travel earlier), and that was hugely disappointing, but I am so glad to have missed out on an otherwise exciting trip to NYC. I can’t predict the future, or how secure my job is, but for now I know that I am in a very fortunate position. Being separated from everyone I care about is really hard, but it also means that I am keeping them safer.

    1. Clementine*

      My company also moved everyone to work from home as quickly as possible, once the situation became clear.

  311. Moon*

    I work for a school district, but am a long time AAM reader, and many of the advice still applies to the education field!

    Anyway, while other districts around us are making teachers put their same curriculum online, track their working hours, and expect them to just “continue as normal!” even though things are obviously not normal, my school district is trying a different approach. We have had the past two weeks off as an extended spring break, and next week will continue the break so that teachers can work out a new plan for instruction. We will be asking students to work online 2-3 hours a day and work on two different projects: a passion project, and a skills assessment type of learning.

    My husband and I both work, and we have an 18 month old son running around, so I am really thankful that my district is thinking of families during this time. They are also still providing free breakfast and lunch to students who are in the program. It really does lessen my stress to know that they are looking out for everyone’s best interests during this time!!

  312. iglwif*

    My company has made sure everyone can work from home and let people start doing that as soon as they wanted. Normally everyone has to track their time and submit an online timesheet each week; for the foreseeable future we’ve been told we only have to track time that’s billable to clients (which for my little team means none at all, due to the type of work we do). We’re having a weekly zoom meeting that’s just to chat and catch up and see each other’s faces. (And kids, and pets.)

    We’re part of a larger organization that has suspended nonessential travel, immediately implemented work-from-home for everyone, and has been updating everyone on COVID-19 stuff a couple of times a week since … probably January, in fact. (That larger org has an office in China, so they had to start worrying about it sooner than some!)

    And basically we’ve all been encouraged to cut ourselves and each other some slack, focus on taking care of ourselves and our families, and set our own priorities. It’s been great so far tbh.

  313. LuckyJeans*

    I work for a big tech company with an HQ in US East Coast and satellite offices worldwide.

    Every affected office has had their workers required to work from home. The company strongly suggested everyone do that even before any lockdown regulations went into affect. I’ve been working from home for about three weeks now. The only exceptions are for staff making sure the offices aren’t looted while everyone’s gone and people who can’t do their work from home, i.e. some datacenter operations and alike.

    Every employee is also getting an extra several hundred dollars to compensate for additional costs we may have for setting up our home offices.

    I’m lucky. We get treated with such respect and compassion, and not only now, but all the time.

  314. Beckie*

    I work for a large organization (~2000 employees) in a community that has been in shelter in place for over a week. We switched to remote work before the shelter in place order (although we could have done it even earlier). For those affected directly by COVID-19, there are extra sick days provided in case you don’t have enough banked to cover illness or quarantine due to an exposed family member.

    For *all* of us, we have an extra 16 days of paid administrative leave to be used by the end of 2020, no questions asked. We don’t get a ton of vacation time (start at 15 days/year, which is relatively low for our region). It’s intended to be used for mental health days and other breaks, whether now or later. I will likely use one or two soon when my kids are on spring break.

  315. MoopySwarpet*

    We are all working (mostly) from home. The big boss is old school and likes to work at the office and there are others who need to be at the office for various things occasionally. There is never more than one person physically in the office at any given time. Our state is currently “shelter-in-place,” but we are considered an essential business.

    I’m just thrilled with how (relatively) quickly and easily we have transitioned to WFH. Even the boss is set up to, but prefers the office.

    The biggest challenge so far is that there is normally a lot of verbal communication while in the office and some things that would have been a quick discussion among 3-4 people are now being randomly discussed between 2 and then delegated to a person not involved in the discussion with little regard to the normal flow of duties. :/ These are so far random things that could have been done in less time than the time it took to discuss and then delegated and explain to a 3rd person. :/

  316. Pīwakawaka*

    I’m in NZ, and we’re in total lockdown. Even before that happened, my workplace instructed all managers to find their direct reports work to do from home, even outside their normal scope of duties. Better yet, all front-of-house staff have been redeployed into remote work roles where possible. Where it was not possible to work from home in any capacity or be redeployed, my employer has provided paid Special Leave for the duration of lockdown. No one has lost their job, and no one is going without pay.
    I am Deaf, and can’t participate in conference calls with too many faces to lip read. My manager has gone out of her way to email me notes on every meeting I’ve had to miss, and is organising extra one on ones and small group calls so that I can stay connected with my team and co-workers. My employer’s response to this lockdown, in my opinion, is as kind hearted and supportive as it could possibly be. I’m proud to say I work here.

  317. MN Nice*

    **My company saw this coming and started working on getting every employee set up to work from home a month ago and tested it at the beginning of March and it went into effect full time 3/16. They gave people plenty of time to prepare mentally for it. They’ve been sending weekly to 2x weekly emails on what’s going on and very transparent.

    ** They set up a weekly Zoom meeting called “Coffee Break” for different teams where they can all see eachother and catch up on non-work related things on work time like you would in the office.

    **Our HR Team reached out to the whole company (175) to find out who was going to have kids home during the day and let them know as long as they get their work done they can work anytime during the week. They also sent a “care package” to employees with kids at home that had age appropriate activity books and markers.

    **They’re doing more remote wellness activities you can do at home

  318. LMM*

    My company moved us to a 4-day work week (Fridays off, with the directive to “Unplug, get some exercise and take care of you and your family” in whatever way works for you) and working hours 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Mon-Thurs until we go back to work in mid-April. At full pay.

    We have been encouraged to exercise if possible (note: I work for a fitness nonprofit, so the emphasis on exercise is not weird in context). We get medical advice from a doctor who does work with us.

    We’ve been asked to keep meetings short, to share fun content on our chat (so, lots of photos of pets, kids, workstations, the birds romancing on my coworker’s balcony) and to check in on each other.

    They are paying part-timers who can’t work from home their full wages.

    Overall, I’m very happy with all of this and very happy with my company.

  319. BlueBell Gardenia*

    My company is smaller (100 people) but is making it a priority to keep everyone at 40 hours, especially our hourly employees who would be greatly affected by a lay-off. We have retail stores which means we aren’t making money when we are shut down. To prevent layoffs, our company has given everyone a laptop and managers are working with each employee to create a learning plan. Sometimes these are skills that could be improved or areas that need to refreshed but they are also a lot of people learning about different roles and jobs, too. We have some learning project management skills, others taking refreshers on languages, and others taking leadership classes. All of these training events are being done remotely and we are being flexible on when/how they can work.

  320. Anon for this*

    Big optical chain noted for penny-pinching (low wages, no free glasses for employees, shortening exam times to pack in more patients, etc.) is now open 12-3, one doc plus one staff per office, curb delivery and only seeing urgent or emergent conditions. AND PAYING EVERYONE THEIR NORMAL PAY FOR TWO WEEKS, EVEN PART-TIMERS. (Big surprise!!!, though not sure how long they can keep it up.

  321. Aitch Arr*

    We had a ‘wear a silly hat’ theme to our virtual staff meeting yesterday.

    Today we are doing a “Thirsty Thursday” with chips, ‘kids’ (furry or human), and your drink of choice. Just a quick videoconference to say hi.

  322. Princesa Zelda*

    My city closed all libraries, but is still paying part time staff. They’re also sending daily updates about how the City is managing essential services and what City departments are affected. Staff have had to be quarantined in several other departments, and I think the City has struck a good balance — they have clearly laid out what will happen if you need to be quarantined, and what will happen if someone you work with comes down with C19, and what departments are affected and need leeway, but are protecting the names of the actual individuals. I know Aviation is strongly affected, but don’t know the names of the people who have it, for example.

  323. AdminX*

    Unlimited sick leave for 30 days
    Everyone possible that can wfh, is and continued push to offload more
    Summer “bonus” payment shifted to April
    Deep cleanings on rotations in locations
    Top boss explicitly saying “stay at home, don’t tough it out.”
    All management levels encouraging flexibility, check ins, lessening of standards in “meta work” and accepting slower turn arounds

    (white collar financial industry)

    1. AdminX*

      Oh and others-
      Cancelled events over 100 people and non discretionary travel a month ago
      Working on stipend for people who need to upgrade their internet
      Box lunches for people who need to be at work
      Mail being put in lobbies rather than more exposure in buildings

  324. Windchime*

    My employer is now *requiring* all IT employees to work remotely. If there is some reason you need to go to the building, you must get written authorization from the director.

    They are allowing people to borrow any necessary computer equipment from the office. Monitors, keyboards….whatever you need. You just fill out a paper “checking out” your equipment, let the director know, and go get your stuff.

    Our director is requesting that teams huddle twice a week with video Zoom meetings. I thought it was kind of silly at first, but it really does help. It’s fun to see peoples’ pets and little ones coming and going from view.

    There is tons of support available. I work for a large university hospital system, and there are phone numbers to call for emotional and/or spiritual support for all employees. Yesterday we got an email asking us to make a quick (10 seconds or less) video message to support the clinical people on the front lines. The organization also has a music therapist–who knew!?? She has compiled a bunch of links for soothing and uplifting, non-religious music.

    My manager is supportive of people taking breaks to stretch their legs, take a walk, just get away from the computer for a few minutes at a time. After all, we do that in the office. We chat with a friend in the kitchen, walk down to Starbucks, or go get lunch together.

    All in all, it has been a very positive experience. I’m hopeful that they will see that we can be very successful at working remotely and start allowing people to do it full time.

  325. Zookeeper*

    I am a full-time zookeeper! My zoo is nonprofit and has closed to the public for the first time ever (excepting a handful of single- or partial-day closures). Our management has maintained everyone’s average pay from the last three pay periods, for the first three weeks of our closure. I have been working part-time, yet still getting paid for full-time. At first our team was supposed to do whatever work we could at home (research, online classes, etc), and then we were told never mind, just rest and take care of yourselves. After some experimentation, currently we are split into small, non-overlapping groups who come in certain days. Only essential employees are on-site (such as those who care for the animals or plants, maintenance folk, animal food preparers, etc.). Our executive team has been sending regular video and email updates to all staff, in which they express their concern about us and our families, but I’m still worried about what will happen in upcoming weeks. Zookeepers don’t make a lot of money at the best of times, and I don’t know how long the nonprofit can keep paying us.

    But rest assured, all the animals are getting the same excellent care that they always get! We love them very much and their welfare is incredibly important to us, and we’re glad the government recognizes us as essential employees. You may have seen videos from various zoos where they take animals to see other animals, and we’re one of them (we actually do during “normal” times as well, it’s just easier now) – all of our trained ambassador animals are going for long walks, we specifically are visiting the great apes to give them some stimulation, and the animals who don’t leave their habitats are getting lots of cool, novel enrichment items. We hope you’ll watch our live camera feeds and Facebook posts, and come see us when this is all over!

    1. Zookeeper*

      I forgot to say, if we’re sick with cold- or flu-like symptoms, we are to stay home and the illness will not count against our absences due to illness limit. (I think having a limit on how often you are sick is ridiculous, but I understand from reading this column some people would take advantage.) Also, we are in a state that has closed all nonessential businesses and had a stay-at-home order for a while now.

    2. Mama Bear*

      My kid has been stuck home and I’ve been sending her links to zoos and other facilities that are sharing animal videos and live feeds. Thank you for doing that. It really helps.

    3. Retail not Retail*

      I’m in operations at a zoo and I’ve definitely seen keepers and education staff.

      We closed a week ago (only a week?!) and the big announcement today was… you’re safe for the next pay period and you can take off time within that 2 weeks without it coming out of your PTO. We’re hourly.

      I have no idea what the office people are up to. Not getting dirty?

  326. Elizabeth West*

    I wanna work for one of these companies.

    Not my workplace, but a company recruiter emailed me to let me know they were going 100% remote and were delaying hiring for a job I’d applied and done preliminary testing for. I think that was very thoughtful and let them know.

    I may not get hired even when they open back up, but it’s the kind of thing job applicants appreciate. And it bodes well for how they treat employees.

  327. Nicole*

    I work for a software startup and my company has surpassed my expectations. We already had a liberal WFH policy before this but they proactively mandated WFH for the entire office even before our state required it. In addition to the flexibility, great health benefits, and generous PTO policy, one of our investment partners provided everyone in the company with $150 each to use for food or medical supplies – a totally unexpected but very appreciated gesture! Additionally, my direct manager has established a weekly “virtual happy hour” where we can talk about our week and generally catch up. This has allowed us to continue to build our relationships with each other (we have many people with less than 3 months tenure, including my boss) which has been so great as a newer employee. Finally, as someone who just changed jobs, this has confirmed for me I made the right decision and will absolutely ask about a company’s response to this situation in any future interviews. Thank you to Allison for the amazing resources and advice you provide. I’ve been an avid reader for years and can say without a doubt that what I learn here has progressed me further in my career!

  328. Gumby*

    We are in a shelter-in-place area but are considered essential business. Some of these things we started doing well before the SIP order came out.
    * There were some empty offices / cubicles around. Several people were sharing offices before but now nearly everyone has been moved so they don’t share.
    * Anyone who can WFH is doing so. I was in the office a couple of days ago and the CEO came by to make sure I knew he was serious about WFH being totally okay. (I had some stuff that I couldn’t do at home.)
    * There were a couple of projects which shared labs. (Similar projects benefiting from casual conversations, etc. It made sense at the time.) Those have all been moved so only one active project is in any given lab.
    * We’ve always had flexible work hours, now we are encouraged to flex even more so fewer people are there at the same time.
    * Normally we are highly encouraged to be working on a project that we can directly bill the customers for rather than overhead (makes a big difference to company finances), but there is a definite tone change around that and if we need to, there is a new “COVID” category on our time cards now.
    * The obvious things: Regular (multiple times a day) cleaning of door handles, etc. Plenty of soap by the sinks. Sanitizer available. No more snacks or shared food in the kitchen which is sad but eminently reasonable.

  329. Covington*

    I work for a huge health-care system as a healthcare provider; even though we’re exempt from the shelter in place order that went out last week as healthcare workers, what we do is not life-sustaining – although we do have some emergency patients, we also have to remain open so as not to deny care to anyone even if their need is clearly non-urgent.

    Management asked us to reschedule all currently booked non-urgent patients at least a month out starting last week, and anyone that felt uncomfortable coming in to work could take PTO. I pushed back (in large part because I’m pregnant although I’m certainly not the only high-risk person in my office, but also because we absolutely do not need everyone there in person twiddling their thumbs when could be safer at home), and my boss went to bat for our department and got us permission to WFH on a rotating basis to minimize exposure. This is something that we’ve never done before so it’s been a huge shift to navigate, and our counterparts in other parts of the region have not been able to get the same permissions. Although I’ve made it clear I was not asking for special treatment, I was given priority to WFH because of my pregnancy (and because lovely coworkers don’t mind coming in to work since they just want to get out of the house). My department is incredibly lucky that we’re still able to get a paycheck and stay safe and employed, and hopefully keep our patients safer as so many of them are high-risk.

  330. Sled dog mana*

    I work in healthcare but not directly with patients. The company I work for provides services to clinics around the country and globe (27 employees). My company came out pretty early with we provide essential services so think now about how we can set you up to do your job with as little on site time as possible and tell your supervisor. Also know who your backup is and and plan not to be in the same room with them until further notice and follow all government directives.
    I went as remote as I will get Tuesday (probably going to be 10 hours in office a week) and it was going great until today when the company we provide service to had a major network crash.
    My supervisor also went to great lengths to be certain I had some software that I ordinarily would have access to but would not have on my laptop, having on my laptop has made life so much easier.
    My company has been pretty awesome because most of the handling of corona virus has boiled down to we provide essential services, you are adults, use your best judgment, tell us what you need.

  331. Nerd*

    We were remote friendly before this started. People living near an office could choose their own schedule of being in the office vs at home; people living elsewhere were almost entirely remote.

    We started encouraging everyone to work remotely in February, and closed most offices in early March. We are planning to be among the last holdouts to return to offices. We are a global company and stopped travel also in February. Even before officially stopping travel, we said that anyone who was at at anxious should stay at home.

    Our CEO shared our financial position with us and again emphasized how he values his employees and wants us to be safe. No one can predict the future, but we are planning business as usual. Hiring for Q2 hasn’t changed, and we’ll evaluate Q3, Q4 as we go along. No plans for layoffs. We have money in the bank to cover payroll for quite some time. We are a tech company, and our products and services are still very much needed.

    Meetings and check-ins haven’t really changed. Since we were already remote friendly, we focus on results and not face time. We have employees all over the globe, so synchronous communication isn’t always convenient. (Nor is communicating in someone’s first language. So we have already learned to be graceful with online communication.)

    I feel very fortunate to be part of this group of people. One of my recent employers isn’t handling the situation as well. They are remote as of last week, but they’re going overboard on Zoom meetings, and they’re not sure how best to manage via Slack.

  332. AJpreschool*

    I have two jobs, one for a preschool and one for Starbucks. My preschool is closed (we follow county school guidelines). Starbucks is open. I live at home with my parents, and unfortunately my dad hits every high risk guidelines for this virus. I was worried about bringing this home so I talked to my manager at Starbucks. She immediately told me to stay home and I have 30 days of pay from Starbucks! Since I’m an anxious person I had a hard time bringing it up, and my manager knows this… she told me to just spit it out lol. Love both my managers! My preschool manager is working on getting us unemployment but since we are based out of a church it’s difficult…

  333. Hermione*

    I’m working for a company where the majority of the employees can WFH. Its been a week now and we are all adapting to this new situation. Our employer is very supportive and understand that we can’t be as productive as we want. We are a team of 5 and our manager initiate a 15 minutes team videoconference every day so we can coordonate work and ask help if we need it. He even suggest that we do a virtual happy hour. We haven’t done it yet but I tought that was a good idea. Also the CEO of the company is sending a email every day to keep us to date on the situation and share example of WFH successes and tips. I like that they are making sure that we communicate and don’t feel alone.

  334. Quickbeam*

    My company has been gracious in admitting that work from home is going superbly well. That meant a lot to me.

  335. seabear*

    I work in a medium/large nonprofit, and I have to say that I am extremely impressed by their handling of this situation:

    – We are all able to telework and have been doing so for over two weeks now, long before our city put out any mandates around that.
    – Management is making it very easy for people to get physical accommodations for working from home. I haven’t needed to yet, but if I wanted an extra monitor/desk/chair/whatever, they are able to get it to me ASAP.
    – We had an all staff yesterday and management announced that we can take specific types of leave related to COVID-19. That is for if you have it, you might have it, or if you’re taking care of someone who has it. That’s in addition to our regular paid sick leave + vacation + personal days, which is already fairly generous. When we all started teleworking they gave an extra two weeks of child care/caretaker leave to anyone who needed it while they find different arrangements. I think they might even increase that now that we will be WFH for the foreseeable future.
    – Our work is directly related to policies around COVID-19 so work has been picking up a lot over the last two weeks. But even so, there have been MANY top down directives that whether you’re the caretaker for kids (or whomever), or if you are just feeling really down or overwhelmed about things, we should be super flexible about taking time off, we will be slower to respond to email, etc.
    – My manager, my manager’s manager, and plenty of my coworkers have been regularly checking in to make sure I personally am okay, if I need anything (time off, accommodations, etc.).
    – The org. is offering to upgrade folks’ internet speed and give people unlimited data plans for phone if they’re not already on one. They are also offering pay advances–apparently a policy they’ve had in place before, I just didn’t know about it–no questions asked, for those who need it.
    – IT did a survey this week to get a broader sense of how technology is working for everyone – video and audio conferencing, different internal comms. channels and what is useful or not, how your personal internet speed is, things like that. Assuming they are reaching out to individuals and coming up with recommendations or trainings all around.
    – This is small but my team is doing weekly happy hours!

    In general my team is quite supportive and adapts quickly to going digital (we are a digital team, after all!), so I can’t say if this is the case across the org. I know for accommodations at least, that has not always been the case. But I am hopeful that this general feeling of leniency, graciousness, and empathy will extend far beyond the crisis ends.

  336. Asperger Hare*

    We received an amazing email from our boss this week, reassuring us that we should focus on our families while we’re at home, we’re not being clock-watched. We’ve had several mental health emails from the administration reminding us to take breaks, go for (solitary!) walks, and links to calm apps and websites.

  337. the once and future grantwriter*

    I manage a small farm, so we a) are staying open, b) have seen demand for home-delivered local produce skyrocket and c) can’t do our regular operations from home. Someone in my home is sick (almost certainly with Covid-19) and the farm owners and I were closely following CDC guidance on whether or not essential workers should self-quarantine. While the CDC is currently allowing essential workers with sick household members to work if they’re asymptomatic, we’ve decided that at our business workers and owners alike will stay home as long as anyone in their house is running a fever. I thought since I couldn’t come in and run our harvest operations, I’d have to take sick time or not get paid, but instead my bosses have had me on communications duty and set me up with some office work we’ve been putting off for years. I’d rather be growing and harvesting food for my homebound neighbors than going through the minuatia of our food-safety certification plan at home, but I’m proud of us for being proactive and figuring out how to adapt nimbly to big challenges. We also are keeping on two part-time employees who lost their other work (which typically we would not need in March) to keep up with the demand while I’m out.

  338. Retail not Retail*

    Our department is considered essential so not only are we working our normal schedule the next pay period (until the 11th) we won’t use any PTO if we take off during that time.

    We were having nightmares of slashed hours and no health insurance.

    I hate putting off a decision another 2 weeks but I like knowing.

  339. NYCProf*

    I’m junior faculty, and my Dean proactively let me know that there will be a pause in the tenure clock. Details to be worked out, but that was very thoughtful. One less thing to worry about.

  340. CastIrony*

    Although corporate is a bit slow, more precautions are being put into place in the dollar store where I work (tape every six feet for social distancing, reserving the first hour of each day for the elderly and at-risk people). Oh, and every employee is getting paid two more dollars per hour for the next two paychecks.

    I got the first one today, and it was nice to see the substantial increase in my paycheck. Sadly, though, I already spent a hundred dollars of it on partially panic-induced groceries.

    1. CastIrony*

      I forgot to add that in my cafeteria job, despite the cut hours due to only feeding one group of people, I now have the option to take a go box of food (my provided meal) home, which becomes at least part of my family’s dinner that night.

  341. Aurora Leigh*

    The company I work for let us all go home early the day IL announced statewide closure of nonessential businesses. They are giving us 2 weeks of paid time off without touching our vacation time (people working in the plant can’t do their jobs from home and they couldn’t get everyone in the office set up for WFH in time).

  342. fisharenotfriends*

    I happened to be finishing a secondary degree in network administration when things went down, and I noted I had a significantly smaller transmission footprint from everyone else in my office. (Living alone, walking to the office, no contact with elderly or immunocompromised and able to maintain 2m distance everywhere)

    So I volunteered to be the person who stays in our closed office to keep all of our systems running. It’s exhausting, but this way all of my coworkers can work remotely and our office still functions with relative normalcy. We had talked about just closing for a while but now that everyone is up and running remotely it looks like we wont have to.

    I’m really glad they let me do this. I’m cut-off from my family now due to travel restrictions and if I was stuck at home all day, even with work to do, I’d go insane. This way I get to do my work and feel like I’m helping people through this.

  343. Chylleh*

    I work at a library that was slow at closing up. Not Chicago slow, but the public and employees were getting fairly agitated at staying open. Prior to that, however, due to my chronic illnesses that made me high risk , my manager went to bat for me and advocated and pushed for me to be able to work from home. It was previously not allowed, and I was one of the first people to do that in the library. I was very grateful and I think showed that we could make it happen successfully in case of a closure.

    My partner works for a Fortune 50 company and he has been immensely impressed by their attitude and generous paid leave packages for Covid-19 selfIsolation and critical care (his group in the company is essential services and are required to work). They also get paid leave not only to care for immediate family, but for anyone living in the household (so he could care for me when under FMLA he can’t). They have regularly sent astonishingly well-written messages of encouragement. He has shared a few with me and they have been quite touching.

  344. LilacLily*

    Everyone at work got to take anything home that they might need. Headset? Of course! Monitor? As many as you can carry. Cables? Help yourself. Computer chair? Done and done. All we had to do was tell the office manager what we were taking home so she could write it down on a spreadsheet.

    Also, all of our face-to-face meetings, including a daily stand up we have, were transferred over to Teams, and they also added a sign off meeting at the end of the work day to check how everyone’s holding up. We also used to go to the pub every Friday after work, so there’s also a reoccurring Friday Teams meeting called Virtual Friday Beers! I didn’t join last week but I’m looking forward to it tomorrow. Everyone’s also being encouraged to turn on their cameras during meetings so that we have that human connection, but no one’s being pushed to do it – and the people who usually have their cameras on are more than happy to show off their house and pets, which is a good ice breaker (my team leader has a cat that sits on his lap almost all day long, and everyone’s loving how Cartoon Villain he looks when he’s holding a meeting while absently stroking the fluffy cat on his lap).

    We also have a Teams chat about Coronavirus – that I’m not following to maintain my sanity, but it’s good that it exists – and all higher-ups (I’m talking CEO and stuff) are making sure to send emails and check-ins every now and then to make sure everyone has everything they need and are able to work well from wherever they are. I started working for this company in January and tbh so far it’s the best decision I’ve made. I know it’s a huge privilege that I can work from home, and it’s double so that my company is being so supportive of all of us.

  345. Nacho*

    All sites have closed, and all employees are WFH right now, including a lot of people who have been temporarily demoted (with the same pay) because we’re an online travel agency and need everybody to be canceling reservations, no matter what their normal job is.

  346. lobsterp0t*

    My work has really blown me away with how effective they’ve been. I work in recruitment for a large charity. I could not be more impressed with:
    The rapid move to online delivery
    The flexibility and humanity shown to all teams
    The transparency and honesty shown my exec
    The amount and style and tone of comms from the head of people and the ceo

    My team has been significantly impacted and will now perform a more-critical-than-ever function in the business due to the nature of our work.

    My director and head of team have been incredibly supportive. It has been inspiring and made me really proud. Most importantly it has helped me feel really sane and balanced in ways that nothing else currently is.

    There has just been a lot of kindness and a lot of excellent strategy and I feel like I’m in safe hands.

  347. Valentine Wiggin*

    I know this is going to get buried in the comments but I am SO proud of my employer. This is what they are doing:
    1. We are all working remotely indefinitely. Our IT person is on call and our HQ checks in with our location to make sure we have everything we need to be successful working from home – and they follow thru on requests.

    2. Every-other-day quick conference calls, plus a daily email from our grandboss to keep us motivated.

    3. They are great on alternative work schedules – you can work any time you need to (rather than strict 8-5), and they understand we may be working less than usual (we’re CPAs so we went from 70 hour workweeks to 45-50).

    4. They instituted a company-wide plan for anyone that will be impacted by COVID: either directly or indirectly (taking care of a family member). We will receive full pay during this time, if needed. No PTO use required.

    5. Weekly happy hours with managers and below – video calls in the evening to check in and socialize for about 30-60 minutes. BOYB.

    6. We are still forward looking: hiring new associates, preparing internship opportunities, etc.

    7. Our support staff who can’t normally work from home have had heaven and earth moved for them to make it possible. I’m talking, moving industrial copy machines into their homes (if they’re willing) and other such tasks to find a way to make it possible for admin to do their job within the safety of their homes.

    I’ve never been prouder to work for my company.

  348. Knotty Ferret*

    Our parent company has said all sick leave during this time will be paid but not charged to our sick leave balances. This includes people out because of immuno-compromised housemates.

    My local branch is generally very old fashioned and conservative, heavy on the personal touch with clients and not much interested in moving to paperless and technological improvements.
    But when someone tested positive in our office, they pivoted. Now almost everyone is working remotely, and people who used to print their emails are saving reports as PDF. I’m impressed IT made the deployment of laptops and vpn so smooth, I’m grateful leadership has been able to change direction so quickly, and I’m absolutely amazed that some of my colleagues have learned new processes so quickly and with so little fuss.

    A year ago, we printed Everything, and it’s taken that year to move to reports might, possibly, be sent as emailed PDF instead of hand delivered. And with the current events, now everyone is doing electronic signature on PDF and using online resources. It’s been a huge culture change, and yet everyone is being pretty positive about the new methods.

  349. Des*

    My manager told us the company is flexible if we need to care for a sick relative and it wouldn’t cut into our vacation or sick days if we needed to take time off. It was a relief to hear it even if everyone on my team is healthy right now and able to do all the work we need remotely.

  350. NACSACJACK*

    My employer already had a policy to support people working from home if they are sick or coughing. I was out 4 days before we got the direction to work from home the last two weeks of March. They extended it Friday until April 10th. To facilitate this we’ve been directed to order equipment from the company. They are providing a monitor, keyboard and mouse to anyone who wants one. CEO and senior leaders are messaging us on the company intranet and my dept head is leading zoom meetings.

  351. Mama Bear*

    Before any new regulations were announced, we received extra PTO to help out. We can WFH with permission, just not FT for various reasons. And I do get that. Judging from the empty offices, I think the company has been very generous with the PT WFH option and liberal PTO approval. I’ve also had a number of people in management stop by my office door (way far away from me) and ask how I was doing and genuinely seemed to care. In departments where WFH is not an option, there are new protocols to protect people from unnecessary germs. The office is closed to visitors unless absolutely necessary. Landlord has retained cleaning staff to continue to clean all high traffic areas often. All meetings are remote (even within the building) unless necessary, including interviews.

  352. Kristin*

    The biggest thing for me has been headquarters specifically and clearly stating that project/program schedules are less important than employees’ health and safety — and they’ve taken actions that show they mean it. That’s huge. In this business, schedule is usually King. Shutting down facilities and sending people to work from home if they can 100% means that schedules are going to slip. HQ being okay with that is surprising and highly welcome.

  353. Kristen W.*

    Two weeks ago (3/13/2020) when this all was just starting to escalate, the large corporation I work at made adjustments certain employee insurance benefits to help with the pandemic:

    1. Deductible, co-insurance and co-pays have been waived (zero dollars to you) for telemedicine usage (for any reason) and COVID-19 screening and treatment.

    2. Relaxed refill restrictions. Early refill limits on 30-day prescriptions for maintenance medications is temporarily waived at any in-network pharmacy. You can now fill maintenance medication prescriptions ahead of schedule.

    3. Free “on-demand delivery” from your local in-network preferred pharmacy. Our in-network pharmacy has waived charges for home delivery of all prescription medications. This convenient option can help you avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new maintenance prescriptions.

    The company I work for is self-insured, so it was likely just a matter of working with the administrators to implement these changes. I’m really impressed with our VP of HR for moving quickly on this as I know it helped ease many people’s minds, and encouraged early proper social distancing.

    In addition, we also started a work from home policy for all non-essential staff in our corporate offices as early as 3/16 in most cases before any governmental mandates. Luckily we already had most of the infrastructure in place to manage WFH. Just had to work through some kinks with the increase in volume.

    Lastly, the messaging from the top to the lower-level supervisors has been one mostly of concern for the health and well-being of our employees (including job security). I think the frequency and transparency provided in these communications has really helped overall morale.

  354. Isabelle*

    We’re working from home. I’m really thankful that my employer took this seriously and took the necessary steps to keep our program running while making sure we could stay safe. I found out the last company I worked for isn’t doing anything aside from telling staff “not to pay too much attention to the media” and that if they’re worried about catching/spreading the virus they can volunteer to be laid off.

  355. BKdenizen*

    1. Company has banned meetings during lunch hour (12-1) and also 5-6pm so people can eat and be with their family, etc.
    2. All meetings that were 1 hour long are now 45 min so people have a little break in between.
    3. My direct supervisor has allowed us to expense 1 lunch delivery per week (we used to have a team lunch where we would order in and this is his way of maintaining that).

  356. A From Canada*

    Canadian non-profit of roughly 25. We are working from home and two things that have been helpful are:
    1) Our director of finance has made it clear that expenses incurred as a result (e.g. buying a headset for zoom meetings, home printer ink) will be covered by the org, and that we can place orders for home delivery through our corporate Staples account. This is valuable in an industry in which many employee feel an implied obligation to underclaim expenses.
    2) Each staff member sends an email report to the full team at week’s end: what they worked on, what’s coming up, what they’re most looking forward to, and anyone they wish to thank for going the extra mile. This was already in place prior to the quarantine, and while it used to feel a bit tedious it’s now proving valuable.

  357. MJ (Aotearoa/New Zealand)*

    My company is fully remote anyway, so the day to day stuff hasn’t changed much. But I do really like that our parent company has given each support team member a budget to be able to offer services free/discounted to customers whose businesses have been affected by COVID-19.

  358. Whiskey on the rocks*

    I manage a grocery store. While it’s not been perfect, my company’s response has been transparent and very much in the employees’ and customers’ best interest, and I’m proud of that. They’ve said, no one knows what they’re doing right now, so here’s our best guess and tell us if we got it wrong. They gave all hourly employees a temporary raise and salaries managers a bonus. They threw all our usual budget requirements out the window and told us to do what we had to, without penalty, to keep our stores stocked and safe for customers and employees. I’m so grateful to be in this industry and still be working, but especially to be working for a company that is managing to actively care for its employees and customers at the same time.

  359. Retail not Retail*

    My mom’s district is paying all employees their expected salary/hourly pay during the closure. She’s a special ed assistant in k-3. She doesn’t have much to do at home but she’s getting paid!

    She’s a little stir crazy but crowds annoy her and she is taking her doctors’ recommendations seriously.

  360. I'm just here for the cats*

    I am so thankful that I work for a state university. Even before the state mandated stay in orders we closed doors, and went to WFH. They also gave us a great leave policy for those who have to take time off if they are ill with the virus, care for those who are ill, or caring for children. Both my supervisors are great and have allowed myself and co-workers to do online professional development so that we can get full 8 hours since there is limited office stuff we can do from home.

  361. A Genuine Scientician*

    I teach intro college biology, both lecture and lab. My boss instantly approved some tech purchases to make online teaching much easier for me — a tablet with a touch sensitive screen so I could record videos of me drawing things, a laptop compatible with such a device (turns out my 5+ year old laptop didn’t support any of those), and an external microphone so that the sound quality of the recordings would be better. He also approved me taking my second monitor and my office chair home for the duration of the work from home period.

    We’ve been pooling our resources to get through the lecture course, with the various instructors for the parallel sections now working collectively on a single online version of it. Just yesterday, my boss emailed me to say that he thinks that the portion I volunteered to do is too much work given my multiple commitments, and wanted to know what portions of that I would be OK with him doing. He stressed that this wasn’t in any way a mark against me, he’s happy with the work, it’s just that he realized I’m putting in too many hours and he wants to better balance the workload.

  362. Hey Library Lady*

    My direct boss is the library director, and he took this seriously since day 1. He’s been very open about communicating with all staff about what’s been happening, and when it became clear we’d have to close, he immediately went to our board to approve emergency pay for part time staff. Those of us who are full time are working from home, and he’s encouraged us to stay in contact via Slack and have virtual meetings 2-3x a week as we get our act together. And he’s encouraged us to make our physical and mental health a priority, and to take sick/vacation time when we need to, even if we can’t actually go anywhere. I’m extremely fortunate to not have to worry about pay, job security, or unsupportive management through all this nonsense.

  363. Cheerfully Polite Grey Rock*

    Our organisation has been very transparent during the entire process and been slowly stepping up their response as more information has been available. First the standard reccomendations on cleanliness and distance, with adapted rules for some events, then different teams trialling work from home arrangements (and supporting anyone else who wanted to do so. Then once the stage one restrictions came in it was “everyone Must work from home”. We had a meeting in which they made it very clear that no one was losing their jobs, and the steps and conversations that would happen before that became a possibility, so no one will be blindsided if it does eventually happen. We are also encouraged to check in with our teams at least at the start and end of the day, and interact with the work chat. Everyone has also been posting photos of their furry coworkers to help with morale, and their indoor workouts to share ideas on keeping physically active. We have also been sending regular information and updates to our members, as well as links to various support options, as the nature of our business means that none of them can operate right now. Working from home takes some adjusting to, but I am less stressed and uncertain and more hopeful than I was a week or two ago.

  364. Loolooloo*

    Legally ordered to work from home. Every virtual meeting I have, I explain that I have a toddler without childcare in the background and that he may disrupt at some point. The times he’s popped onto the screen to say hi or cried for something, everyone has been nice and understanding at my quick sidebar. My worst fear is someone finding this unprofessional, but my supervisor told me explicitly she understands the situation of no childcare legally available and also allows me to modify my usual 8-5 to be hours he is sleeping when possible. So far, it’s gone as well as it can be given the situation, and I’m so grateful everyone’s been so understanding.

    1. coldbrewraktajino*

      My coworker had her toddler on her lap during a conference call with multiple higher-ups, and somehow mooned the camera with the kid’s bare butt. I think a diaper slipped?

      So it could be worse.

    2. nonegiven*

      Our governor, for all his faults, has added childcare to the list of critical industries. I think mainly because how could healthcare, police, and fire employees work without it?

  365. Lucky in Europe*

    I work in a European Country where sick time and PTO when your kids are sick are nit a problem. We‘re consultants in the medical tech sector and so our work volume has gone down a lot. Recently we got an email detailing how much less we‘re each likely to be working. In addition to promising no one will be hit harder than anyone else, out CEO (and company owner) announced he’d be taking 50% salary cut!

  366. EllaPeach*

    My boss is checking in pretty regularly which is great. We have also all been asked to email in with our working form home tips that are going to be collated and shared with everyone.
    Something I appreciate even more is that my coworkers and I are doing ‘coffee club’ via Zoom a couple days a week. In the office we would normally go get coffee together, and now we drink our drinks at home, but chat over video and it’s so lovely. It’s also mostly non-work related which is good. We are also keeping our 4pm Friday drinks ‘meeting’, again via Zoom, with the whole company.

  367. Amber*

    I am a special education teacher, and the education agency I work for and the district where I serve students have been amazing. We receive near daily communication with updates, department of ed decisions, changes, etc.
    In my state, we cannot substitute eLearning for being physically present at school, so students are simply not receiving any instruction while we are closed (currently through April 13 but I anticipate we will not be back before the end of the semester). Administrators have made it very clear that our physical and mental health is their number one priority. We are not required to do anything outside of making sure our paperwork and IEPs are up to date with any data we collected prior to closing. We have been given free access to an online counseling service for mental health support, and are encouraged to use it. We are still being paid at our normal salary. This is true even for our most essential hourly employees, our paraprofessionals, cooks, and bus drivers.

    I couldn’t ask for a more supportive employer.

  368. Magenta Sky*

    We’re a retail chain (in an industry that is classified as an essential service) with locations in three states, so it’s all been complicated, and the folks in the stores don’t have the option to work from home. We’ve been very, very flexible working with people who need to take care of kids with schools closed, and have shortened store hours to make sure we have sufficient staffing when we are open.

    Those of us in the office do work from home, and we are required to as much as possible (and that’s a lot). Several thousand bucks on laptops to make that possible for some, without a second thought. (Fortunately, cash flow is OK, because we really are an essential service to the community.)

    We also got the option to cash in accrued vacation time, up to two weeks, which the company has never done before in 50+ years. No idea how many people did so, but I suspect it was quite a few. Again, not a second thought.

    All employees buy at cost until further notice, and get first dibs on any incoming merchandise.

    The most heartening thing, though, was the owner of the company telling us, more than once, that customers are not his #1 concern, employees are. And meaning it.

  369. Lady Kelvin*

    My (federal) agency is being very flexible with our work from home policies when children are at home, by removing the core hours requirement and just asking that people get their work done. My supervisor has taken it one step further since I am the only one on the team where both parents work, I’m supposed to take care of my kid, get what work done I can, and continue to log 40 hours a week on my timesheet. If I don’t get 40 hours in, I have been told not to take time off. Which is a bit of a relief, although I’m having no trouble getting all my work done in ~30 dedicated hours a week.

  370. Garnet22*

    My boss has been amazing. We had an office scare right at the start of all this this when a worker came to work very sick. They ended up calling in sick a few days later. Everybody was really tense about it. The worry was palpable.

    My boss kicked into gear. Workers were told to stay home if sick, our office was supposed to be closed everyone unless they made an appointment, she (my boss) personally wiped down everything in the office at the end of every day (staff wiped everything down at the beginning and throughout the day).

    As things got worse and virus started gaining steam, customers kept coming to the office and engaging staff in long conversations (staff didn’t seem comfortable or know how to turn people away without offending), the boss sent out a notice to all of our clients announcing we were closed to all walk-ins, put a sign on the door, and ordered the door stay locked to everyone but deliveries. She started looking at working remotely when it was clear our state was heading for rough times and talked to us one on one to assess our setups at home to get a feel for what we’d be working with.

    When our governor announced everyone should stay home, my boss got as many employees as she could set up to work from home. This basically happened overnight.

    She took a strong stance anytime anyone mocked the virus or said stuff like “everybody is overreacting.” She has been phenomenal in leadership, calmness and decision making. We are a small office and not all decisions or conversations have been easy or pleasant, but she’s tackling everything head on and with honesty and transparency. It was my pleasure to tell her all of this, too, because I felt she should know how much I admired what she was doing, so it’s my pleasure to get to share that with everyone here, too. I think she’s doing great and I’ve found that steadying and reassuring in such unsteady and non-reassuring times.

  371. coldbrewraktajino*

    My company is 100% WFH right now and the IT dept made sure that everyone had equipment they needed–even though not every office in our multinational company has an in-house IT person. Management also implied that sick leave will be increased on an as-needed basis, though they haven’t said anything more specific than “let your supervisor know if it’s covid-related, and contact HR if you’re running low on sick leave.” They also told everyone to be forgiving and flexible with each other as they balanced the changes, including caring for families. We make educational software, and now all employees have expanded access to our products. (They’re also expanding access to the products for existing customers, like giving every subscriber school access to all the at-home products for free.) A few people have volunteered to lead things like meditation and yoga via video chat for the whole company. I have yet to attend but I’m glad it’s there? We already had surprisingly good mental health coverage, including counseling by telehealth.

    On a more local office level, we’re encouraged to join video chat lunches, happy hours, and just use the slack chat more often. One of our teams already has worked remotely for almost a year now and is leading the transition by sharing tips and being guides for our confusion.

    I feel very, very lucky.

  372. Bowserkitty*

    I work at a government office in rural Japan.

    They have allowed for special leave for parents of kids who were affected by the schools being shut down. That makes me happy because it has especially helped out my coworker whose two older daughters (7 and a very mature 11) are about ready to kill each other from being together without supervision every single day this month.

  373. Spooncake*

    My boss allowed us to work from home full-time a week ahead of the UK lockdown and despite overall company policy- we’re part of the hospital supply chain so a lot of people still need to go in sometimes, but we don’t, so she made sure we didn’t have to. Honestly, it was a huge relief, and also a good indication that she’d taken our personal circumstances into account (several public transport users, two people with high-risk family members, etc).

    She’s also been really understanding about the effect all this is having on my ongoing mental health issues, giving me the freedom to make my own decisions about balancing work and wellbeing while I’m stuck at home.

  374. Director of Alpaca Exams*

    My boss emails me every few days to ask sincerely how I’m doing. We’re not an office that does frequent Zoom calls or anything, so it’s really nice to have him checking in on me.

    Also, I think my company is small enough to be exempt from the new family/medical/child care leave law, but the general manager just sent out an email to everyone informing us of our rights under that law and saying that if anyone needed to go on leave, to just work with one’s manager and figure out a minimally disruptive way of doing it. I really appreciated that. I’d assumed I wasn’t going to be able to go on child care leave, and now I’m seriously considering whether I can.

  375. Nk29*

    – we went company-wise WFH early March
    – company send equipment (monitors, charges, office chairs etc to peoples homes)
    – funded remote team lunches (order from local place, expense it and eat with teammates with zoom)

  376. SamIAm*