As with everything we do at GWS, we are guided by our core values of TEAM. Like you, we are deeply concerned about the events that continue to rapidly evolve. Now more than ever, we remain committed to serving as a trusted partner.
What You Can Continue to Expect from GWS and Its Partners
We want to personally reassure you that our GWS COVID-19 Response TEAM has been closely monitoring developments as they occur. We have compiled and distributed information regarding our service policies and recommended best practices. Recognizing the fluidity of the issue, we continue to be vigilant and evaluate information from the CDC and the WHO.
We are committed to following recommendations these organizations provide, as the health and safety of our employees, professional van operators, partners, and customers is our number one priority. GWS has taken steps to educate and protect our employees and van operators, and our people are taking extra precautions when entering homes and businesses. Our local operations teams have taken additional steps to better prepare on-site field teams by:
· Hosting daily team huddles reinforcing safety & CDC health guidelines.
· Leveraging CDC best practices to distribute Coronavirus protection kits to each truck. Kits are checked in and out each day and are replenished regularly.
We strongly recommend all our subcontractors and technicians follow the guidance for businesses published by the CDC, which is frequently updated with specific instructions and directives from local health departments.
In addition, we have established a strict protocol regarding personal hygiene, personal protection, business and personal travel, and surface cleaning. The guidance for this protocol, which can be accessed here, also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread community outbreaks of COVID-19.
Minimizing COVID-19 Exposure for All Our Customers and Service Providers
In locations with confirmed cases of COVID-19, we have asked all of our subcontractors and technicians to follow the CDC guidelines, including sending home workers who are sick or who may have been exposed to the virus through travel or other means.
Practical Tips for Our Service Providers When Entering a Business
As standard practice, we provide guidance and support to all our Service Providers. Now more than ever, clear and consistent communication is critical. We intend to follow all CDC recommendations; these are monitored daily by our Vice President of Operations.
We have set appropriate expectations with all of our Service Providers; one example of our communication is noted below:
Communication Example to Service Partners:
Recommendations: Safety Kit
We recommend creating and distributing kits (to be replenished as needed) containing the following items:
· One container of anti-bacterial hand soap – hands are to be washed pre-load, unload, periodically throughout the project or move, and anytime there is bathroom usage.
· One ration of paper towels to be used for cleaning of truck interior and high touch point portions of the move, such as doorknobs.
· One trash bag to properly discard of paper towels.
Recommendations: Greetings Prior to Entering the Facility
· First, be sure to implement the CDC guidelines and other precautions for all who will enter the facility. This will minimize the risk of ill crew members working on any job.
· GWS has implemented a no-handshake policy and is looking for our network to adopt this practice immediately as well. Although you may have seen the fist or elbow bumps in the news as an alternative, we encourage a no-physical contact approach, such as placing a hand over the heart as a greeting.
· If a customer asks, a GWS representative should be ready to inform them of the steps we have implemented to minimize the number of ill individuals who may be working with the general public. However, due to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considerations, you are not permitted to provide information about any specific potentially ill personnel to the customer.
· Please take a moment to review the safety precautions that the crew has taken and to answer any questions the customer may have prior to entering the facility.
Recommendations: Guidelines While Working in the Facility
· Try to keep at least six feet of space between individuals. COVID-19 is primarily spread between humans who are in close contact and through respiratory droplets produced by coughing or sneezing.
· While we would not discourage any person’s decision to use facemasks, please note per the CDC that facemasks generally do not prevent healthy individuals from acquiring COVID-19. Instead, they are used by people with symptoms to help prevent spreading the virus to others. We would ask you give consideration to the fact that there is potential for a medical supplies shortage in combating the virus.
· Please do not make assumptions if a customer is wearing a mask. Many people wear them for protection, and it does not necessarily mean they have COVID-19 or are at risk of having been exposed to it.
· With respect to handling physical objects, there is currently little information about COVID-19 transmission via contact with objects. We recommend the use of hand sanitizers (when handwashing is not available) and/or disposable non-latex gloves.
· It may be effective to bring a large container of hand sanitizer to the site and have all crew wash up prior to beginning work and multiple times throughout the day.
· Follow CDC guidance on handwashing.
Recommendations: How to Excuse Your Team from the Job
· If a customer raises (for the first time on an in-person service day) the possibility that they have COVID-19, or you are uncomfortable with the situation, without unduly raising alarm with them, please tactfully and politely excuse yourself from the premises.
· Please do not attempt to assess for yourself whether a person has or is at risk of having COVID-19. Call GWS to help interact with the customer so that additional information can be gathered and appropriate next steps, such as rescheduling or canceling service, can be determined.
Finally, even in midst of worries that COVID-19 may become more widespread, we have a responsibility to treat our customers fairly. We will not engage in conduct that would constitute discrimination of any kind.
Our Proactive Approach: Minimizing COVID-19 Exposure Among Our Employees
GWS has instituted clear protocols regarding travel, in-person proximity, and cleanliness. Our approach follows the strict guidelines set by the CDC. Some of these guidelines include the following:
· Refrain from shaking hands.
· Maintain appropriate distance (6 feet) when having face-to-face communications.
· Use telephone and video conferencing instead of face-to-face meetings as much as possible.
· Wash hands thoroughly with soap for 20 seconds, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, and avoid touching your face.
· Routinely clean all frequently-touched surfaces in your work area. (Clorox wipes are available in the Safety Department)
· Open doors with a paper towel, or use your elbow or knuckle.
· Cough into a tissue and dispose of properly.
· Most importantly, if you feel ill, please stay home and contact your doctor.
GWS’ Business Continuity Plan
GWS has a Business Continuity Plan that has been tailored to our operations and workforce in Cincinnati, OH. Our plan includes elements such as mass communication protocols, working-from-home procedures, points of escalation to authorities or summon assistance, decision-making and authority protocols, and building evacuation, shelter, or lockdown procedures.
We Are All on the Same TEAM
As with everything we do at GWS, we are guided by our core values of T.E.A.M. Like you, we are deeply concerned, and we will do what we can to keep our communities and each other safe and healthy. We remain committed to serving as a trusted partner; now more than ever, we are all truly on the same TEAM.