Over the last few weeks, we have all been faced with new challenges as news of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. has dominated the headlines. By now you have all been inundated with messages from vendors, retailers, and businesses outlining their plans to combat the outbreak. ListenUp has been communicating the same general information, however, many of you have specific questions and urgent issues to tend to, such as child care, working remote, and what our business plan is for the future.
We are completely focused on both the health and well-being of our people and the future of our business. I am confident in our ability to work through this time together, and I will do my best to share our plans with you as they develop. Below are questions we can answer today and actions we will be taking on specific topics. Please reach out to me or your manager with any questions or concerns.
How is ListenUp tracking and getting information on the virus? The ListenUp leadership team is getting information from several credible news and data sources such as the CDC/WHO, local, state, and federal government agencies, national press organizations, and our industry peers. We are refraining from making decisions based on information received via social media and/or politically motivated news outlets. The facts will guide our decisions.
Here is a great informational chart that you can reference, it is updated daily – Information is Beautiful – COVID-19 DATA PACK
Our plan to help the community — We have two goals:
1) Do what we can to help “flatten the curve”. For those of you that don’t know what this means, please refer to the Information is Beautiful link above, however, it is simple; we all need to do our part to ensure that we slow down the spread of the virus so that those in our community that may require health care to fight the disease have access to it. Delaying infection by even a single day may save the life of someone else. So please follow the rules we have sent you from the CDC and expect rigid enforcement of our communicable disease policy. Part of this will also include a cleaning protocol for each of our locations that we will be implementing immediately. Look for a separate communication with the details.
2) Fulfill our mission to enrich lives and elevate businesses. The community needs us now more than ever! People will be nesting at home, therefore, entertainment and integration will become an even bigger priority for our customers. Movies and music help to heal the soul and reduce anxiety, let’s be sure our customers have what they need during this trying time. Businesses throughout the world have suddenly shifted to relying on remote access and video teleconferencing technologies as their primary means of communication, many of them don’t have what they need or need help with what they already have in place. For those of you on the commercial team, please focus on making sure our community businesses have what they need and know how to use it.
We plan to remain open unless circumstances do not allow us to do so.
At-risk employees or those caring for at-risk loved ones — It has been identified at this point that individuals over the age of 60 and people with compromised immune systems should avoid potential exposure to the virus. Those at the greatest risk are over 70 years of age and/or receiving treatment for other serious respiratory diseases or cancer. Therefore, effective immediately all at risk employees will be allowed to work from home if permissible by your job duties and/or change your schedule, and/or take vacation or unpaid leave under FMLA to avoid exposure. ListenUp will assist in relocating necessary office supplies to your home or sequester location of choice. If you choose to remain in the office/field or continue to interact with other employees in a face to face manner, please be extremely vigilant of the precautions outlined by the CDC.
If you are over the age of 70 and/or receiving treatment for a serious respiratory disease or cancer you may NOT continue to report to the office/field and must sequester yourself from the employee population and customers. Please contact me for more details and to discuss an individual plan. If you are caring for at-risk loved ones and are unable to work from home, please contact me for more details and to discuss an individual plan to help protect them.
This is in effect until April 6th and is subject to change.
What if I get sick or someone around me gets sick?
If you show symptoms of a communicable illness you will not be allowed to return to work until treated and diagnosed by a physician or appropriate medical professional. If it is determined by a physician or appropriate medical professional that you have a common cold or a non-life threatening ailment you will be allowed to return to work after you are no longer outwardly systematic. If you are found to have coronavirus or another serious communicable disease such as the flu you will be restricted from returning to work until you are cleared by a physician, are past the CDC timelines for being contagious, and have passed two consecutive viral tests.
If you are caring for someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus you will not be allowed to
return to work until you have passed two consecutive coronavirus tests and have not been in known
contact with an infected person for at least 14 days prior to the first test. These guidelines and rules
may change based on testing and future CDC recommendations.
ListenUp will be rigorously enforcing our communicable disease policy. Whether or not you are allowed to return to work is not up to you, nor your physician, but rather our company policies as a collective whole which include your physician’s recommendations.
Child Care — Schools and daycares are closing and shutting down in order to prevent the rapid spread of the virus and many of you are currently without child care. To ensure that we all get through this together we need a plan so here it is, it is not perfect and will require sacrifice from all of us to succeed.
You may take vacation time or unpaid leave to provide child care. You will also be allowed to use sick time that you have accrued in excess of 80 hours after you have exhausted your vacation time
balance. We are requiring employees to reserve at least 80 hours of sick time for personal illness and
caretaker duties before it may be used for child care. Please refer to the ListenUp Employee Handbook on the specifics of sick time usage. Non-management, office-based employees will be allowed to work from home if permissible by your job duties and you can complete your work without substantial disruption. In an effort to flatten the curve, children of employees under the age of 12 will not be allowed in any ListenUp office or store.
With that said, all individuals that anticipate a disruption in their ability to perform their duties because of child care should adhere to the following plan:
• Discuss all possible child care options with your spouse, or family, or child care provider, or
• Provide a basic written plan to your manager and schedule a follow-up discussion with them
o If you are a member of the leadership team or report directly to me, please provide me
with a copy of your plan.
• ListenUp management will review all plans together on a per business unit basis.
• ListenUp management will approve or suggest edits to your plans to ensure they work together
and that proper staffing levels are maintained.
This will remain in effect for all individuals who are experiencing child care disruption due to school and daycare closings. Employees will be expected to return to their previous child care methods when their school or daycare facilities re-open.
Can I work remotely?
At this time we are reserving the ability to work remotely to the employees who are the most at-risk and those that are faced with disruptions to child care. We are closely monitoring the situation and may extend the remote working option to additional employees if the circumstances require it. We also have an obligation to ensure that our stores and operations are properly staffed and maintained.
Company Travel —
Employees are not allowed to travel to large events and trainings. Travel to remote job sites and
customer’s homes will continue, all CDC precautions should be taken. Non-essential business travel
through airports and bus stops should be avoided if possible. This is in effect until April 6th and is subject to change.
ListenUp customer events —
We will be postponing and rescheduling all customer events through the beginning of May. Customers will be notified as to the postponement of any ListenUp events currently being advertised.
ListenUp training events and vendor visits —
We will be proceeding with all scheduled training events and vendor rep visits scheduled after April
6th. This is subject to change based on future circumstances.
Communicating with our customers —
The ListenUp marketing department will be reaching out to our customers informing them of our plan to help the community. If you receive any inquiries regarding this or ListenUp’s plan for COVID-19 please contact your manager with the details.
ListenUp understands that this situation is fluid and rapidly changing. We believe that this is a short
term issue and that we will be able to return to normal, sooner than later. The long-term outlook for
our company, community, and economy still remains strong. Try to remain dedicated to your work and your customers, they need you now more than ever! Nevertheless, we will remain focused on this until the epidemic is over.
Lastly, please do us all a favor and don’t hoard toilet paper! and if you have excess supply, help out
your fellow employees that may be in need.
Stay healthy and best regards,
Ben | president