PESA brought together major players in the oilfield and equipment services industry to follow up on previous HR townhall teleconferences sharing best practices and updates. PESA Advisory Board Member Dave Warnick, Vice President Human Resources, Weir, facilitated the townhall and opened the discussion with anonymous responses to questions previously posed to the group.
With the new reality of COVID-19, most companies have closed their offices and restricted access to company facilities to essential and operational staff. The remainder of the workforce is working remotely using Webex, Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams.
Warnick said Weir is using Microsoft Teams for internal calls, because their IT team determined it was more secure. Other options, like Zoom, have been flagged as susceptible to hacking and other security breaches.
PESA President Leslie Beyer reported a similar trend with other companies who are also shifting from Zoom to Microsoft Teams.
Connectivity is a difficulty companies are facing. Some have added licenses to strengthen services, but several are challenged by employees working from rural areas. The only option in those cases has been for employees in rural locations to call in for meetings.
CLEANING & PPE SUPPLIES
For essential staff that cannot work from home, companies have implemented measures to mitigate against the coronavirus. Companies are meeting and surpassing CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitation. In addition, facilities are performing temperature checks, maintaining enhanced social distancing and establishing staggered work shifts to reduce employee interactions. Employees are also being provided essential worker letters.
For those who cannot go into work or perform job requirements remotely, vacation time is being used and the option of no pay is being offered. When mobility is required, most workers are traveling by vehicle, and field staff who are going to well sites or drilling site locations are given additional cleaning supplies and PPE to better control their environment.
Those traveling by vehicle are limited to one person per vehicle. Where transportation is provided for camps, companies have increased the number of transport vehicles to allow appropriate social distancing.
Companies are prohibiting external visitors at facilities in operation and requiring face masks for those entering. Many HSE departments are determining procurement needs to supply the PPE, and are re-tasking 3-D printers to make the necessary equipment.
Companies are accommodating workers uncomfortable going into work by permitting the use of personal time off or unpaid leaves of absence at 30-day intervals.
Companies furloughing their staff are dividing individuals into several teams and rotating to ensure coverage. Other companies have reduced staff based on geographic location, emphasizing facilities in European countries where government support is widely available. To reduce costs, some companies have implemented pay cuts and stopped 401k matching while others have reduced work schedules. Despite the reductions, however, companies are working to support former employees.
“I’m happy to say that we can at least provide enhancements on the health and welfare side by extending medical coverage in April and May at no cost to our former employees,” said one of the participants.
VIRUS TESTING & CHILDCARE
Testing for the virus is being covered 100% by some companies to ensure the safety of their employees. Companies who are self-insured are determining various coverage factors based on their specific situations. HR departments are currently researching options for deductibles and copays related to COVID-19 treatments.
For financial resources during a period of reduced income, companies can provide employees with information of how to access their 401ks without extensive documentation for withdraws and loans.
Childcare has not become an issue for most organizations but some have offered back-up care providers and additional days of PTO to help parents.
For those dealing with the unfortunate situation of having to reduce their workforce, HR staff are providing extra support to bolster teams, and scheduling extra time to explain packages. All companies are arranging for former employees to obtain personal items, as well as various options to obtain signatures on separation documents.
PESA will continue to hold townhalls and compile the various individual, local, state and federal resources for these HR discussions. For more information, contact Director Membership Services Carolynn Henriquez.