This is a very unsettling time in the world. Each of us – along with our families, friends, colleagues and communities – are watching the development of the Coronavirus pandemic and grappling with feelings of concern and uncertainty. And while this is uncharted territory for all of us, the safety and well-being of our people and communities must remain our top priority.
Taking care of our people and our clients
At Jacobs, we are a people business. As part of our Culture of Caring, we unite employees across the globe to foster a workplace that values the safety, positive mental health, and inclusion and belonging of all employees. And as such, we actively and enthusiastically engage with our colleagues and clients face-to-face. But as we have all learned, physical distancing is critical to flattening the curve of the virus, and like businesses all around the world, we have maximized remote working. We are leveraging technology to collaborate and are continuously optimizing our networks and technologies to facilitate more flexible working scenarios for our people – while at the same time delivering on our commitments to our clients.
As we shifted from office to home, we took our strong BeyondZero safety culture with us to create and maintain a safe working environment for our teams. As part of that, positive mental health is paramount. I have encouraged our teams to be mindful of their mental health and to check-in regularly with their colleagues to collaborate and uplift each other during this uncertain time.
Where the essential and mission-critical nature of our work requires us to maintain staff at some sites or locations, we are working closely with our clients and have established project-specific plans to ensure the safety of our people and the integrity of the operation.
Taking care of our global community
We also have an obligation to our global community. Global travel between countries was shown to be at the root of the continued spread of the virus and we took early, decisive action to restrict travel and subsequently extended it through the end of May. For employees that have traveled outside of their home countries and particularly through high-risk countries, we established return protocols for both client-related and personal travel to ensure the safety and well-being of others.
Challenging today. Reinventing tomorrow.
As we looked for a few bright spots in this situation, we found several. For one, we are spending more time with our families and calling to check on friends, colleagues and neighbors more often than before. We are also learning that we can work much more seamlessly than we thought using technology to connect virtually. And we can have fun doing it – with virtual planning sessions and even virtual coffee breaks. Which leads to another bright spot: if we come out of this pandemic with different work patterns and less reliance on extensive travel, we can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, and in doing so help preserve our planet for future generations.
It is times like these that call on us to join forces as business, government and community leaders, combining our collective knowledge and expertise to tackle this pandemic and help our communities recover together. I am truly inspired by the actions and sacrifices we are making as a collective community in the face of this pandemic. To see people across the world pitching in and helping each other in ways big and small fills me with confidence and optimism for the future.
Let’s keep this going well past this current challenge. Please keep yourself and your loved ones safe and well.
Chair and CEO