Dear Team:

                I will keep this short, writing a day early to deliver clarity on one of the key workforce issues facing Community Healthcare Network, and employers throughout the globe: telecommuting. But first, a thank you.

                It is hard today to look very far ahead, but I am sure CHN – and most of us – will look back at our work during this pandemic as our finest hour.

                The energy and commitment of CHN staff confronting this coronavirus pandemic are awesome. I visited nearly all our sites this past week and, yes, heard many questions.  Most of all I witnessed the unwavering dedication to our mission of serving patients while keeping each of our colleagues safe.

                Over last weekend, and through late nights and early mornings all week, CHN’s clinical and operational leadership is continually reviewing developing recommendations on how best to operate during this pandemic. At our Health Centers, staff – all staff — are leaning in. Here’s a special shout out to our custodians who are keeping patients and colleagues safe by cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning some more. When you see a custodian, thank him or her.

                Meanwhile, the best way to keep up to date is by reviewing the notices and FAQs on our Portal.  There are many questions that still do not have answers, and information keeps shifting. But we are keeping faith with the three reliable public agencies providing the best scientific information: the CDC, the State Department of Health, and the City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. We will continue to get that information to you as it becomes available.

                Back to the headline of this Memo: the Portal’s home page has detailed information about CHN’s telecommuting policy. Here is how we are implementing it during the pandemic. Telecommuting is authorized for employees who can fully accomplish their work out of the office.  If you feel that you can do this, discuss it with your manager. You both need to agree that telecommuting works, given your job responsibilities. Your manager will process the recommendation with Human Resources.

                We recognize that those of us working in Health Centers and in leadership cannot telecommute. But for those in administrative positions who can, we are supporting telecommuting for the duration of the pandemic.  As our policy provides, it can be, but is not necessarily all or nothing – some staff may find a day or two a week where telecommuting works.

                HR, and ultimately, I, will need to review each recommendation. During this public health crisis CHN has to remain at the top of its game: telecommuting has to enhance our overall productivity. Anyone who has a job that permits telecommuting will be responsible to work harder than ever – not just in support of our patients but in support of our colleagues who are in our Health Centers directly caring for CHN patients.

                I trust the point of allowing telecommuting is obvious. We want to slow the spread of coronavirus without undermining in any way the productivity that we owe our communities, and our colleagues, during this public health emergency.  Most of us will remain in our usual posts. For those who can work as well or better remotely, do so.

                The link to the Telecommuting policy is right next to the link to the FAQs on the front page of the Portal. Take a look, think about your job duties, and see if it fits for you. Your managers are expected to make recommendations as well. 

                On all coronavirus matters, watch the Portal – there will be updates to the FAQs frequently.  Hang in there. And wash your hands!