Eugene, OR, USA, March, 2020 -- While the global Coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the globe, threatening lives and the economy in its wake, one Oregon-based company is doing all it can to protect the health of its employees, while preserving jobs at the same time.
FCR, a provider of customer experience and business process solutions, employs over 2,000 colleagues across eight call centers in Oregon and Montana. When news of the Coronavirus started to reverberate around the country, FCR moved quickly to execute its Business Continuity Plan.
In late February, the company started open communications with its leadership teams and front-line colleagues, providing them with critical health information, sanitizing stations throughout all facilities, and guidance on how to practice proper cough and sneezing hygiene. Simultaneously, the company encouraged those who were sick to remain at home. FCR has since provided multiple updates each week to keep its colleagues and clients up to date with the latest information. It has also provided free access to telemedicine to all of its employees, regardless if they have health insurance.
In early March, the company began executing the next step in its Business Continuity Plan – transforming itself from a centralized contact center operation to a Work from Home environment. The IT Department conducted surveys of all FCR colleagues to determine what percentage of the workforce would be able to work outside of the call centers. It began preparing hundreds of PCs to deploy in case the virus started to spread rapidly. The first colleagues to work from home were deployed on March 16th. Since then, FCR has moved 80% of its workforce to work from home, preserving more than 1,465 front-line customer service jobs, as well as positions for Supervisors, Managers, and hundreds of support personnel within the company. FCR has moved as many employees to work from home as possible, and it is continuing to look for ways to transition even more. It is now looking for solutions for colleagues lacking high-speed internet access or who face other obstacles working from home.
While it transitions employees to Work from Home, FCR has also increased cleaning and disinfecting of its sites with medical-grade cleaning services every night. When there have been possible cases of exposure to Coronavirus, the company has taken extraordinary steps to shut down facilities temporarily while commercial cleaners deep clean the sites in question and spray with hospital-grade disinfectants to protect employees.
"Protecting the health of our colleagues has been our number priority," said Matthew Achak, President and co-founder of FCR." He continued, "Our colleagues are the most important asset we have. Without them, we would not be able to continue to provide critical services to our clients. We’re not only concerned about protecting their physical health, but also their economic health as well. That concern moved us to act as quickly as possible to preserve both for as many colleagues as we could. So far, we’ve been able to preserve everyone’s job. Unlike many companies, FCR has not had to lay off a single colleague due to this pandemic, and we hope that it will remain that way. In addition, our goal is to start hiring more people for new programs coming on board in the near future.
Katheryn Carnahan, COO of FCR, added, "This last month has been a great challenge for our company, but we’ve seen everyone rise to the occasion and do their part to keep us all as safe and healthy as possible. Right now, our focus is getting as close to 100% of our current workforce to Work from Home." She continued, "We are taking the necessary precautions as outlined by Governor Brown to first implement telework and Work from Home solutions to their maximum extent, which means sending most of our workforce home to continue operations. Because of the steps we have taken, we created a much safer environment for those remaining in our centers. The emptying of the centers has created wide-open spaces with plenty of room between our colleagues. This change makes it very easy to practice the social distancing measures of 6-foot bubbles as recommended by the CDC. We have also implemented workplace rules around bathroom use and smoking areas, limiting the number of people to use each to one person at a time."
By transitioning to a Work from Home operation, FCR has not only preserved the jobs they currently provide, but the company plans to add new Work from Home jobs as well for those displaced by the current economic crisis. FCR’s business has picked up in the past month, with existing clients looking to add even more positions, and new clients looking to expand or bolster their customer service operations as the Coronavirus impacts them.
"FCR is here to help, and we are blessed to be in the position we are in," said Matthew Achak. "We have grown over the years in the face of other tragedies and economic crises, and we plan to keep growing during these uncertain times as well. It’s what we do."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
FCR is a provider of outsourced live agent call center and business process solutions.
Published: Friday, March 27, 2020
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