23 March 2020
As the COVID-19 situation has unfolded, AR & Associates has been working progressively to prepare our business to respond quickly to the changing conditions. This communication outlines the policy and procedures AR & Associates have adopted following the recently announced Stage 3 and 4 stage alert system in New Zealand.
This Plan is a live document and will be updated as an when required, depending on the evolving circumstances.
Clearly, our number one priority is the health and safety of our staff, clients, business partners and our local communities. Health and safety must always take precedence.
1 // Government Advice
AR & Associates (ARAL) has implemented safeguards that meet the New Zealand Government and World Health Organisation guidelines and have taken additional steps to minimise the potential impact on our staff and clients. We have put these measures in place to help play our part in slowing the spread of the virus. Government directions include:
· Travel restrictions
· Emphasis on general hygiene
· Self-isolation – voluntary and enforced
· Restrictions on mass gatherings
· What to do if you contract COVID-19
New Zealand's four-level COVID-19 alert system specifies public health and social measures to be taken against COVID-19. The alert system means people can see and plan for the kinds of restrictions we may be required to put in place. This includes escalating restrictions on human contact, travel and business operations. A summary of the 4 levels and associated actions is presented below.
2 // ARAL Business Continuity Plan
We have implemented a contingency plan that provides for a progressive response that mirrors the Government alert system to ensure we play our part to help in the fight against Covid-19 and to also provide continuity as much as practicable to our clients.
Our staff have the ability to work from home and we are well placed to continue our business operations. With the ongoing support of our staff, clients and collaborators, we aim to ensure continuity of service, delivery on projects and provide livelihood to our staff and others during these uncertain times.
Our staff have been set up with a range of technologies that enable ‘remote working’ and ongoing support and connection to each other. Tools include ‘Teams’, Office 365, Xero, Bamboo HR, Skype for Business and our Deltek project management system.
Our contingency plan, policies and practices are documented on a shared cloud-based system that enables us to react and adapt as required.
Our systems make use of cloud-based technologies in terms of data storage and communications and we have had assurance from our technology vendors of their ongoing ability to support our operation.
2.1 Alert Level 1-4 Response Planning
ARAL have instituted the following response plan from the commencement of Covid-19 concerns.
All staff working remotely will be included in a daily ‘check in’ virtual on-online meeting to ensure fitness to work and to support each other.
2.2 Continuity of Operations and Client Support
We remain responsive to our clients’ needs within the constraints of Government advice, directives and our own high standards of Health and Safety.
Project managers will remain in contact with clients as normal and will continue to provide service as required to help ensure continuity of projects.
Our staff meet daily online and are in constant contact with the team. 24/7 access to our systems allows for seamless provision of services.
A list of key senior staff is outlined below. Please feel free to contact our staff directly.
Andrés Roa – Director, Engineering North Island & Environmental Engineering (027 5427266) firstname.lastname@example.org
Richard Parnell – Senior Associate, Civil Engineering South Island (027 2501102) email@example.com
Joao Machado – Senior Associate, Planning (027 2950386) firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Stewart – Associate, Engineering South Island (021 02514124) email@example.com
Gavin Flynn – Associate, Programme & Strategic Planning (021 704332) firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Gabriel – CFO & HR Manager (027 4915759) email@example.com
3 // Health and Safety Guidance
3.1 Government Health Advice
All staff are encouraged to follow Ministry of Health guidance and best practice in respect of preventative measures, self-isolation and illness.
3.2 Staff Fitness to Work
The health of our staff is paramount, both mental and physical. Where staff are unable to work due to illness or mental health issues, they are encouraged to halt work and contact their manager (provided that in the case of urgent health concerns, seeking medical advice is the priority). ARAL will assist wherever possible to provide help as required including assistance with applicable government agencies.
Working under pandemic restrictions is stressful. Staff are encouraged to make use of our HR and management support together with guidance around wellbeing as provided by agencies such as the Mental Health Foundation.
Daily ‘check in’s’ and ongoing support is provided to all staff to help ensure wellbeing is maintained.
4 // My Message to You
I am positive that we will prevail through these uncertain times. Our staff are hardworking, loyal and resilient. Our business has proven to be incredibly strong and adaptable during these times, which is a true testament of the hard work that each of us has put into our business. Thanks to all of our staff for your ongoing dedication and hard work under difficult circumstances. And to our valued clients, thank you as well. We are here as your project partners and will continue to provide you with excellent service. Your ongoing support and trust are paramount to ensuring the wellbeing of everyone involved.
Andrés Roa Director AR & Associates Limited