The health and safety of employees, our clients, and consultant partners has always been VHB's number one priority, and it will continue to be during this uncertain time as we diligently monitor the COVID-19 situation and its impacts to our communities and workplace. VHB is following the CDC guidelines for businesses, including best practices for work environment safety and communicating with our employees.
In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, VHB has taken proactive steps to ensure that work for our clients continues without disruption. Our Business Continuance group has been activated and is meeting on a daily basis as needed to monitor the situation and coordinate the firm’s response, so that we can continue to meet our client commitments.
Corporate Continuity of Operations Plan
VHB has established and documented a formal program to carry on the business of the corporation in the event that any member of the Corporate Leadership Team is unable to carry out their responsibilities for any reason. This plan designates an individual or team that is empowered to make decisions on behalf of the unavailable leader. In addition, the plan designates subject matter experts that the newly empowered replacement must turn to for advice and guidance.
VHB project teams are developing project specific Continuity of Operations plans where required to make sure that client work can continue, and deadlines are met in the event that a key staff member is unable to perform their work.
Technology and Remote Operations
For more than two decades, VHB has invested in our information technology systems and developed robust business practice protocols for our employees. These investments allow our people to work flexibly and remotely, remaining connected to clients and employees with minimal impact to the efficiency of our operations.
The majority of the VHB team has been successfully working remotely as we have increased social distancing and remain in compliance with guidance from local authorities. Specific protocols that VHB has implemented for this current situation include:
- Staff have been provided with tools and equipment such as monitors and headsets to remain productive and connected.
- Implemented virtual desktop capabilities for resource intensive applications such as GIS.
- Increased capacity and added redundancy to VPN.
- Implemented daily open calls and conducted numerous training sessions for assistance with work from home technical support.
- Implemented protocols for plan and document review with remote QA/QC procedures.
While we know there are many unknowns with COVID-19, VHB has built resiliency and redundancy across our company and is prepared to overcome challenges. For addition informational information and resources read VHB’s White Paper, Working Remotely During COVID-19.
Printing and Plotting
VHB has a business partnership with Archimedia for outsourced printing and plotting. Archimedia has implemented a web portal that VHBers use to submit print and plot requests. Archimedia has dedicated staff available to print and assemble document sets and deliver where needed.
VHB employees will continue to perform field work including survey, natural resource assessments, site walks, construction monitoring, and other tasks under contract. We have established guidance and protocols to make sure that all work—in VHB offices, onsite, or in the field—is completed in a safe manner.
Public Hearing Support
VHB has experience providing coordination and guidance on how to host and manage virtual public meetings. This includes presenting material online and gathering feedback from remote participants. VHB uses Metroquest, a public engagement software tool for public meeting support. Our teams are available to assist clients and public authorities in meeting the challenge of conducting virtual public hearings. For additional information and resources, read VHB’s White Paper, Innovative Approaches to Facilitating Virtual Meetings.