Louisville Call Centers Change Policies, Allow Some Remote Work Tuesday, Mar 24 2020 

Some employees at Chewy and Spectrum’s Louisville-based call centers will be allowed to work from home, in an effort to create social distance between the remaining employees. 

Both companies have been the subject of complaints filed to city health officials, and scrutiny in the media, including KyCIR. 

While call centers have not been ordered to close in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said he would take further action if the employers didn’t find a way to comply with social distancing guidelines. 

In a series of emails obtained by KyCIR, senior leadership at Chewy, the online pet supply retailer, stressed that the “health and safety of all Chewtopians is our top priority.” 

As such, the company has created a temporary paid leave policy that includes 100% paid time off for the first seven days of an illness and allows employees to be paid up to 60% of their base pay for longer absences.

Employees are being given supplies and sent to work from home in stages “if the nature of their roles allow,” the email said. Over 200 employees are already working remotely, and seats are being reassigned to add space between staffers that remain.

Additionally, all hourly Louisville call center employees are receiving a temporary raise of $1.50 an hour, through May 2, the email said.

In a statement, Diane Pelkey, the vice president of communications and PR for Chewy, said “the health, safety, and well-being of our team continues to be our top priority when servicing pet parents who are relying on us during this time to deliver their pet essentials.”

Pelkey say the company has worked “quickly and diligently” to adapt company policies to the changing situation, including “new and enhanced health benefits and flexible work policies, including work from home for a considerable portion of our pharmacy techs, increasing sanitation procedures in accordance with CDC guidelines, and social distancing.”

Spectrum, the internet and cable company, has given Louisville call center employees an additional three weeks paid leave for coronavirus-related needs, and has implemented a partial remote work policy, according to a letter sent from the executive vice president for customer operations and obtained by KyCIR.

“In response to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, for the next few weeks and maybe months, we will be enabling Remote Work options for a portion of our front-line agents,” the letter read. “This is being done to allow for greater social distancing in our centers.”

Remote work is being prioritized for those “at higher-risk from a health standpoint,” and then the option will be made available to employees based on tenure, performance, home infrastructure and agreement to the terms of a remote work assignment, the letter said. 

Employees will be sent home in waves over multiple weeks. 

In a statement, Spectrum said “continuing to maintain our operations, while applying the latest CDC guidelines, ensures we provide these vital communications which help flatten the curve and protect the country. We are reviewing our business and employee continuity plans daily, and will adjust accordingly.” 

Louisville Call Centers Change Policies, Allow Some Remote Work Tuesday, Mar 24 2020 

Some employees at Chewy and Spectrum’s Louisville-based call centers will be allowed to work from home, in an effort to create social distance between the remaining employees. 

Both companies have been the subject of complaints filed to city health officials, and scrutiny in the media, including KyCIR

While call centers have not been ordered to close in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said he would take further action if the employers didn’t find a way to comply with social distancing guidelines. 

In a series of emails obtained by KyCIR, senior leadership at Chewy, the online pet supply retailer, stressed that the “health and safety of all Chewtopians is our top priority.” 

As such, the company has created a temporary paid leave policy that includes 100% paid time off for the first seven days of an illness and allows employees to be paid up to 60% of their base pay for longer absences.

Employees are being given supplies and sent to work from home in stages “if the nature of their roles allow,” the email said. Over 200 employees are already working remotely, and seats are being reassigned to add space between staffers that remain.

Additionally, all hourly Louisville call center employees are receiving a temporary raise of $1.50 an hour, through May 2, the email said.

In a statement, Diane Pelkey, the vice president of communications and PR for Chewy, said “the health, safety, and well-being of our team continues to be our top priority when servicing pet parents who are relying on us during this time to deliver their pet essentials.”

Pelkey say the company has worked “quickly and diligently” to adapt company policies to the changing situation, including “new and enhanced health benefits and flexible work policies, including work from home for a considerable portion of our pharmacy techs, increasing sanitation procedures in accordance with CDC guidelines, and social distancing.”

Spectrum, the internet and cable company, has given Louisville call center employees an additional three weeks paid leave for coronavirus-related needs, and has implemented a partial remote work policy, according to a letter sent from the executive vice president for customer operations and obtained by KyCIR.

“In response to the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in, for the next few weeks and maybe months, we will be enabling Remote Work options for a portion of our front-line agents,” the letter read. “This is being done to allow for greater social distancing in our centers.”

Remote work is being prioritized for those “at higher-risk from a health standpoint,” and then the option will be made available to employees based on tenure, performance, home infrastructure and agreement to the terms of a remote work assignment, the letter said. 

Employees will be sent home in waves over multiple weeks. 

In a statement, Spectrum said “continuing to maintain our operations, while applying the latest CDC guidelines, ensures we provide these vital communications which help flatten the curve and protect the country. We are reviewing our business and employee continuity plans daily, and will adjust accordingly.” 

The post Louisville Call Centers Change Policies, Allow Some Remote Work appeared first on Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

Provost Boehm shares update with faculty amid suspended classes Monday, Mar 16 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

University of Louisville faculty and students are returning from spring break to new territory: online classes. Amid this situation, U of L provost Beth Boehm shared an update and her thoughts on the situation.

Beginning March 18 all classes will be administered remotely, April 5 being the earliest date to return to in-person classes. For many professors, conducting online classes will be uncharted territory.

“I understand that many of you are stressed and worried about teaching remotely; honestly, I would be fearful too if I were teaching this semester,” said Boehm. “But we have an obligation to our students and our accrediting bodies to enable our students to complete their courses remotely.”

With faculty and students worried about the efficacy of these online classes, Boehm wants them to know that it will require patience on both sides.

“In a note to students, I asked that they be patient with their instructors, many of whom are teaching online for the first time,” she said. “Here, I am asking you to also be patient with your students, to be understanding of their anxieties, both about online delivery and the coronavirus itself.”

To reduce the stress of both parties, Boehm reiterated that faculty are being trained to properly administer their online courses to students. They have been working with the Delphi Center staff to ensure the online courses are a success.

In addition, Boehm reminded the faculty how important it is for the university to stay open during times like these.

“We are committed to staying open to help our most vulnerable students have food, shelter, and access to libraries and IT (and some other essential services) while they work to finish the semester,” she said. “Your leadership in modeling healthy social distancing practices, resilience in the face of stress and unfamiliar work conditions, and kindness and compassion according to our Cardinal Principles will help our students stay calm and healthy and will enable them to complete their semester successfully.”

She also urged faculty to provide students without internet access the information to receive a free 60-day period from Spectrum. “To enroll, students should call 1-844-488-8395,” said Boehm. “While we will be sharing this info with students, if you have students who indicate they are without internet access, please give them this information.”

In closing, Boehm said how this will be a stressful and difficult time for everyone. But with that in mind, administration, faculty and students all have to work together to make this transition seamless she said.

“I know we are a resilient institution, and I’m urging us all to call upon our best selves in the days ahead,” said Boehm. “We have a lot of work to do.”

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

The post Provost Boehm shares update with faculty amid suspended classes appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.