The consistent quality and assured continuity of our services to our clients is of the utmost importance to all of us at Polyglot Group.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) keeps changing the way we do things, I am personally letting you know that we have rolled out our Business Continuity Plan since December 2019 and continue to do so.
Please find below the key pragmatic actions taken by Polyglot Group as of today (there are many more, but I will not bore you with the details of what we have and are still going through):
We implemented a strict home quarantine of 14 days for all employees coming back from China, coupled with a compulsory medical clearance certificate before being allowed back in the office.
Our internal compliance team reviewed our annually audited and tested BCP and DRP in the context of a pandemic, and further tested a scenario.
February / March 2020
– New policies, training, and facilities were rolled out internally focusing on:
– Hygiene: we provided personal hand sanitisers, instructions on how to clean equipment daily (including smartphones and laptops), and resources on what to do and whom to contact if feeling sick.
– Strict travel policies backed up by an extension of our compulsory home quarantine and medical clearance certificate before being allowed back to work.
4th of March
Additional policies were released internally:
– Ban on all corporate travels.
– All holiday / vacation applications including overseas travel are to be vetted by our HR Director and CEO.
– Request to postpone personal overseas travel.
16th of March
As of that date, our teams around the world began transitioning to a working from home setup.
We also made sure to constantly monitor various government policy changes and medical advice around the world, and amended our internal policies and processes as required.
20th of March
– Work from home became mandatory: All teams across the world were asked to work from home. To ensure they could work in the best possible conditions and equipment was delivered to their home upon request (eg. office chairs, desk, extra screen).
– In-person meetings became forbidden: All in-person meetings (external/networking events, meeting with clients or candidates) had to either be cancelled or rearranged virtually online.
– Internships had to be cancelled: No longer in a position to train and mentor our interns, we had to end all internship agreements earlier than initially agreed. The decision was made based on their safety, thinking it was better for them to be home in such circumstances.
During the 1st lockdown
1st of April
– Cost management efforts: Efficiently managing our cashflow, reevaluating priorities and cutting all unnecessary expenses, and making sure we stretched every dollar as far as we could, became our highest priority to maintain jobs.
– Some polyglotters were therefore stood down (when possible, depending on the country), others had their hours reduced, and remaining full-timers were asked to take a salary reduction from 10% to 50%, depending on roles and level of income. All pay raises, bonuses, commission, and internal recruitment were also frozen until further notice…
9th of April
A cross-team COVID-19 task force was put together for employees to ask questions, share and get support through the crisis.
20th of April
We applied for the JobKeeper government aid in Australia.
24th of April
Financial support: Voluntary Annual Leave Cash-Out measures were made available to employees to assist them and their families through any financial hardship.
28th of April
– Sydney HQ office reopened with strict measures:
We encouraged teams to slowly make their way back to the office, remaining vigilant and setting up new safety measures (eg. monitoring who is coming with a booking system and no more than 2 teams per level).
In addition to this, the floorplan of our open space offices was redesigned (eg. Desks moved rearranged, partitions installed) to ensure the 1.5m distance and respect the 4sqm rule.
– Pick-up service put in place:
So polyglotters wouldn’t have to take public transport, a service of pick up/drop off was organised to take them to/from work.
Rest of the world
– Provided guidelines and supplies to respect preventative measures recommended by health authorities (eg. disinfectant spray for surfaces available, individual towels in bathrooms, signage in each office space indicating maximum people allowed)
– International teams continued (and continue to this day) to work from home.
11th of May
– Pulse survey organised: The purpose of this anonymous survey was to get employees engaged and gather their opinion about the future they wanted to see in terms of work.
1st of July
– End of pick up/drop off service in Sydney.
– New monthly roster, with each team coming at least twice per week and flexibility for polyglotters to come to the office at their convenience.
As of today/ In general:
– All our team members are fully set up to work from home on a secure VPN access and are asked to come into the office at least once per week, 2 times being the minimum so far.
– Work processes have been reviewed in the context of the majority of our team members having to work from home. We have also adapted to ensure continued accuracy, security, and timeliness. This focuses particularly on payroll and payment services.
– Besides our secure VPN infrastructure, we are using Slack to exchange messages between ourselves as well as Microsoft TEAMS for external calls when working remotely. This ensures continued collaboration and information exchange between all our team members.
– Our “back-up” system, to cover for sick employees, has been successfully in place for the last 20 years and continues to be checked weekly. We have always allowed for ample spare capacity, to absorb a high level of illness within the team.
What this means for our clients:
We have put the following measures in place to ensure that despite the COVID-19 virus crisis:
– All Payroll processing, filings and payments processing to your employees, tax authorities, etc. will continue to happen accurately and on time.
– All HR Projects, including immigration work, will continue to be delivered accurately and on time.
– All new Business Set-ups we are organising for you will be delivered accurately and on time.
– All Talent Acquisition projects are ongoing and will be delivered on time.
Thank you for your ongoing trust, and we look forward to continuing to serve you during this trying time.