LOGAN – As a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, one of Cache Valley’s largest private employers is now transferring more than half its workforce into a work-at-home status, according to Conservice spokesperson Shauna Karren.
“We have about 1,100 team members in various stages of the transition (to being able to work from home),” Karren explained. ”Our long-term goal is to allow all our utility experts to work from home … until this crisis passes.”
Since its founding 20 years ago, Conservice has become one of Cache Valley’s fastest-growing and most-profitable commercial enterprises. The utility management company employs about 2,000 people. Until recently, the majority of those employees worked in offices complexes in Logan and River Heights, facilitating utility management for more than 4 million corporate property owners through the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean Islands.
David Jenkins, the firm’s founder and chief executive officer, explained that equality and transparency have always been a big part of the corporate culture at Conservice. The company’s hierarchy is essentially flat, with no secretaries or administrative assistants. Unlike many office-based operations, there are no cubicles at Conservice – everyone can see and interact with their co-workers in large open bays.
Unfortunately, Karren explains, that traditional corporate asset became a liability during the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak when health officials are warning people to maintain social distancing and to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
“We care about our team members and want to keep them safe,” Karren said, so the company activated one of its emergency contingency plans in order to comply with the health advisories issued by the state.
Jenkins said the first step in the company’s response to allow employees who felt particularly at risk of contracting the novel virus, due to age or medical condition, to remain at home.
The next step was to marshal the computer hardware and software resources necessary to allow other employees to migrate their jobs to a safer health environment at home.
Karren credits the Conservice Information Technology department with playing “the largest role” in making the homeward migration possible.
“They acted quickly to allow us to move in this direction,” she explained, “by securing additional resources and servers … Then they brought those new resources online and configured them in record time.”
That high tech miracle was easier said than done, Jenkins added, since Conservice employees routinely work with proprietary software and customer information that require high security procedures.
“All of our remote work resources are fully secure to protect our client and resident data,” Karren emphasized. “Some team members are utilizing web remote desktops to work from home. In other cases, team members are actually taking their company-assigned computers home with them. In both cases, team members working from home are providing their own internet connections.”
Karren said that some of the 1,100 employees involved in the first phase of the Conservice response to the Coronavirus have now completed the transition to working at home, while others are just starting that process. Once their migration has thinned out the staffing in the firm’s three main office buildings, Conservice will focus on implementing similar work-from-home options for its remaining 900 employees.
Karren added that Conservice anticipates returning to normal operations “once the Coronavirus crisis passes,” but could not speculate when that might happen.