GUC Employees Adjust to COVID-19
GUC Employees Adjust to COVID-19
Employees of Greenville Utilities have a 115 year history of overcoming a variety of immense challenges such as floods, hurricanes, and tornados to name a few, but never have we been through a pandemic like COVID-19. As General Manager/CEO Tony Cannon said in his Manager’s Corner, “to say that we are in unchartered waters would be an understatement, but we will overcome this, too.” He is right, and employees have already stepped up and adapted to the rapidly changing situation.
In order to provide life-sustaining services to our community during the pandemic, we’ve had to make a lot of changes, and will continue to do so as long as it is necessary. Many of these changes are firsts for GUC. We moved our regularly scheduled board meeting in March to a telephonic meeting. We closed our offices to the public for an indefinite period. Our workforce is now staggering shifts and keeping safe distances from one another, and many are working from home. We’ve suspended a majority of our in-home customer visits, and those who still need to enter a customer’s home, such as Gas employees responding to a gas leak, are required to wear additional personal protective equipment (PPE). We are also conducting business only on our website, over the phone, and at our drive-thrus at both customer service locations. Other changes are sure to come as we get mandates from federal, state, and local government.
To help keep all of this information easily accessible and in one place for employees, we’ve also created a site on MyGUC dedicated to COVID-19. It also includes important pandemic-related resources. Please be sure to check that daily in case you missed an email or memo.
The biggest challenge for all of us is social distancing. Whether you’re working from home, working at the office, or out in the field, having to remain a safe distance from coworkers can not only be challenging, but isolating.
In light of this, Public Information has started collecting photos from employees that show us how they are adapting to the changes. We thought it would be a fun way to help us all feel connected during this rapidly changing situation.
With our weather events, Public Information goes out - when it’s safe enough - to take photos and videos of employees overcoming weather and emergency events. With this pandemic, and the Center for Disease Control’s social distancing guidelines, it’s been much harder for us to get out and digitally record all the work being performed. To help us out, we have asked employees to share their photos with us. We have also managed to gather a few videos and photos ourselves – from a distance.
We appreciate all of the photos we have received so far, and encourage you to keep sending them in! You can email them to Emily Garner at email@example.com. We will update this page as more photos arrive.
In the meantime, check out all the changes each department has made, and enjoy the photo slide show at the bottom of our COVID-19 Info page here.
Departmental Changes due to COVID-19
Employees across all departments are making operational adjustments, almost daily, due to the fluid situation of COVID-19. We’ve broken down these changes for each department, however everyone has made the following changes as of March 30 (and this will continue to change):
- All departments are following the CDC guidelines for COVID-19 (social distancing, hand washing, disinfection of surfaces).
- Operations and office employees are staggering shifts to reduce gatherings and encourage social distancing.
- Meetings are being evaluated and minimized as much as possible. If meetings are held, the groups are smaller. For example, a Safety Meeting for operations was split into three groups to minimize the number of employees attending.
- To encourage social distancing, all operations employees are reporting directly to their trucks in lieu of their offices and dispatching to their work sites.
- The Control Center, along with Water Resources and Gas Operations Dispatchers, are pre-screening customers with a questionnaire regarding COVID-19 to help prepare service workers who will interact with customers.
- Employees are encouraged to request materials from Stores ahead of time to eliminate waiting at the Stores counter.
- Technology like Microsoft Teams and FaceTime are being utilized to allow collaboration without physical contact.
- Safety Contact reviews and Lighthouse observations are still being performed but limited to their own crews/area and using social distancing.
- Meetings with vendors and visitors are going virtual.
- Areas are badge-controlled to limit access to work areas.
- Increased cleaning in all office and work space areas.
In addition to the above, the following actions have been taken as a result of the pandemic:
- The Gas Department currently has 14 employees working from home with more ready to work remotely if necessary.
- Gas Maintenance personnel report to the LNG Facility instead of Operations to encourage social distancing.
- Six Utility Locating Service employees are dispatching from home to work sites and only come into Operations to replenish supplies.
- Approximately 14 Gas Operations employees have been fit tested for respirators and trained to wear additional PPE to protect themselves from exposure to the virus while entering customer homes.
- Electric has 25 employees working from home with more ready to work remotely if necessary.
- Four crews travel from home to work sites without reporting to the Operations Center.
- Six employees have been fit tested for respirators and trained to wear additional PPE to protect themselves from exposure to the virus while entering customer homes.
- Water Resources has 15 employees working from home.
- Operators, Mechanics, Laboratory Technicians, and field crews at both plants have started isolating from each other.
- Customer Relations has 15 employees working from home.
- At the Main Office, they have limited the Call Center and Billing areas to four in each area to maintain social distancing.
- At the Express Office, each of the four Customer Contact Reps have their own office.
- Finance has 16 employees working from home.
- They have adjusted schedules for Fleet and Stores to accommodate the new staggered operating departments’ hours (first wave beginning work at 6:00 a.m. and final wave ending at 6:30 p.m.).
- The Collections group has transitioned to extended hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the drive-thrus of the Main Office and Express Office.
- General Manager’s Office: two working from home
- Public Information: five working from home
- Legal: two working from home
- Business Development: one working from home
- March Board of Commissioners meeting was telephonic.
- For Management Team meetings, some are calling in to limit the amount of people at the table, which allows for those in person to be more spaced apart.
- All HR employees are now working from home.
- Job interviews already scheduled were moved to phone interviews.
- They have worked with IT to ensure that reports can be run remotely.
- Tuesday, March 31st was HR’s regularly scheduled day to be on-site at various GUC locations for their monthly “HR Pop-Up.” Due to the pandemic, they moved this to a virtual pop-in for employees to schedule a time to call, email, or use Microsoft Teams to video or text chat with Lena Previll, Leah Herring, or Carrie Peed.
- IT has 24 employees working from home.
- The Help Desk is now on a staggered schedule so that all four help desk specialists are not in their space at once.
- The Help Desk is going out to meet employees since it is not safe for employees to come to their cubicle area. They wear gloves when working on employees’ devices and disinfect devices by wiping them down before working on them. They try to do remote support via technology if at all possible.
- Help Desk Connection Stations have been setup at the Main Office and Operations for employees with laptops to use when changing their password.
See the photo gallery of GUC employees social distancing at the office or working from home (at bottom of linked page): https://guco.sharepoint.com/sites/COVID-19Information