DevNW and CLW recently made the decision to continue our COVID-19 telework policy through June, 2021. We wanted to let our partners know of the decision, why we’re making a longer-term call, and what it means in practice.
Most importantly, all DevNW and CLW programs and services will continue at full strength – some will even be expanding in response to the pandemic.
As you can imagine, there will be practical changes to service delivery and operations:
- All classes, counseling, info sessions, and individual appointments will be done by phone or videoconference;
- We are moving (as much as possible) to electronic applications, paperwork, payments, and signatures.
- Our offices also have drop boxes for paperwork, which are checked daily. Ditto faxes and mail.
- We can still be reached via email or our office phones (which are internet-based anyway, and made the trip home with all of us!).
- Resident services at our properties will be adapted for physical distancing.
- Our physical offices will not be open to the public or regularly staffed.
- We have strict policies in place for the rare case when staff need to be at the office, or a client must stop by in person.
While we had made several short-term extensions to our telework policy, we finally made a longer term call for a number of reasons:
- We want to offer predictability to staff, clients, and partners: given current trends, COVID-19 isn’t going to be a short-term presence in our lives.
- We have the ability to maintain high quality services while teleworking: for almost all of our programs and services, we have been able to continue 100% (or at least 95%!) while teleworking, so there isn’t a pressing need to get back to the offices in order to resume programs and services.
- Teleworking helps enable necessary, limited in-person interactions that still need to take place: for staff who still need to interact with residents, visit construction sites, and/or attend public meetings (if they happen in person over the next year), we are all a little safer if we maintain telework and physical distance policies in between those in-person interactions.
- The logistics are just plain easier: if we tried to re-open offices and then public health measures lead to closure again, it’s challenging for both staff and clients. If we try to rotate half of the staff in the office one week and the other half the next week, we would all be lugging equipment back and forth or we’d have to buy duplicate work stations for everyone. Either way, the disruption to services, confusion, lost time, and added expense aren’t worth it.
- The school year is going to be uncertain, and we need to help parents adapt: the reality is that schools have no perfect path…they’re in an impossible situation. The only certainty is that the school year won’t look normal. As we shift between in-person and distance education, teleworking provides
- a little flexibility in parents’ schedules when children are attending school from home;
- a physical distancing safety net for parents to not bring germs to the office if children are back in-person.
We’re confident that this plan will enable DevNW to provide the best possible services to our clients and communities over the next year, and will allow us the flexibility to adapt and respond to the ever-changing reality of COVID. Please know that this change is merely logistical; our mission, commitment, and programs remain unchanged!