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COVID-19 Contractor Resources
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A Word from our CEO
As we continue to experience disruptions to our daily lives due to the COVID-19 outbreak, your needs — as well as the needs of our employees and partners — are our highest priority. This is an unprecedented situation that challenges us all both personally and professionally. We have a proven business continuity plan in place to ensure no disruption in service and have taken precautionary steps in response to this emerging situation.
As the situation is fluid, we are actively monitoring CDC and other credible local government sources for updates. We know this is a challenge for you as well, so we've gathered some reliable news sources, access information and tips and tricks to navigate this situation a bit better. Remember, we are here to help.
- Family First Coronavirus Response Act — NEW!
- Tracking the virus
- Impacts on the construction industry
- Remote access help for Viewpoint products
- Thriving during a (potential) recession
- Resources for employees
- Resources for owners/managers
- The not-so-wide world of sports
- Lend a helping hand
- Self-care: don't forget the most important bit
Family First Coronavirus Response Act
Viewpoint Product Updates on FFCRA
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act goes into effect on April 1. We've put together documentation on how to support the act within our products. Please click on links below for specific information on your product.
Here are are a few key elements of the FFCRA as we understand them:
- Effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020;
- Requires certain employers to provide employees with expanded family and medical leave as well as additional paid sick leave for reasons related to COVID-19 as outlined under the Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) and Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA);
- Generally applies to employers with less than 500 employees;
- Differing rules apply based on each employee’s situation and how they are affected, either directly or indirectly;
- Administered and enforced by the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division;
- Employer relief for costs related to these additional benefits will be available from the IRS when making payroll tax deposits and/or quarterly tax filing (i.e. EFTPS, Fed 941)
- Note: the IRS has yet to provide final guidance and changes to FFCRA may be forthcoming. We will adapt our approaches detailed below as such information becomes available.
- Key resources for general information include:
- FFCRA requires employers to offer leave for Coronavirus related reasons. The Department of Labor has a breakdown for employers.
- The Department of Labor also provided a poster outlining employee rights.
- What exactly is included in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act? Our friends at MARCUM have put together a list of provisions.
Tracking the Virus
As updates on Covid-19 itself are coming in constantly, these resources will help you stay on top of breaking news.
- The $2B economic stimulus bill passed yesterday. Here’s what it means for Americans.
- Track the latest Coronavirus updates from Canada, including the number of confirmed cases.
- Stay-up-to-date with the very latest coronavirus news directly from the World Health Organization.
- The CDC has advice on how to protect yourself and what to do if you think you may be infected.
- Track live updates on confirmed Covid-19 cases around the globe with this heatmap from Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
- You keep hearing about flattening the curve. This article by Washington Post simulates how the virus spreads.
Impacts on the Construction Industry
There is no doubt Coronavirus will leave a lasting impact on the construction industry. Here are some news pieces to keep you updated.
- The Architect’s Newspaper provided interesting insights on how the construction material supply chain will likely be impacted.
- Washington is the latest state to ban construction projects. Work on projects deemed “essential” can continue.
- CFMA Members can access this recorded webinar on how CFMs can Plan and Respond in the midst of the crisis.
- While you’re there, CFMA members can also use the Connection Cafe as a place to chat and network with other companies, and learn how they are weathering the uncertainty.
- As expected, AGC members are reporting that projects are being halted or delayed. Currently that number is at 28%, but it is expected to rise.
- Are you wondering where construction has been halted? Construction Dive has a real-time map to help you keep track.
- MCAA (Mechanical Contractors Association of America) has put together a COVID-19 Contingency Plan webinar series. Sign up to participate on their website.
- How is COVID-19 impacting workers in Canada? WorkSafeBC compiled a list of resources for Canadian companies.
- While the full extent of the impact of COVID-19 is unknown, there are things business should be aware of in coming weeks.
- You've likely heard the term force majuere in recent days. What does it mean and does it apply? SmithCurrie put together some legal information that construction firms will find useful.
- Is your job site safe? These are the precautions you should take related to Coronavirus.
- Boston is the first major city to halt all construction projects. Construction Dive has more.
- Organizations such as AGC (Associated General Contractors), ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) and CFMA (Construction Financial Management Association) have put together resource centers to help their members.
Remote Access help for Viewpoint products
The info and links below are intended to provide administrators of Viewpoint software with fast access to information for inviting and configuring remote users to ensure team member access and business continuity. We will add/update this info frequently. If you need urgent help, please contact Viewpoint support.
If your organization does not have your Viewpoint ERP deployed in Viewpoint’s cloud, and is running ProContractor, Spectrum, or Vista locally on your own servers, you still have the ability to provide remote access to your system for workers who may be working from home at this time.
Vista Remote Link (VRL) provides the ability to run Vista over the internet, using the standard Vista client outside the LAN and a reverse proxy server.
Use of a VPN or remote connectivity software is not needed. Your users can securely access the Vista database using any available internet connection. Wi-Fi connections found in most home networks can provide the needed internet connectivity.
Please see the Vista installation guide for the necessary system requirements and steps to set up VRL.
Users can connect to Spectrum remotely directly or by using a corporate VPN. Please read through this Overview Guide to see which option is right for you.
- Invite a contact to use Viewpoint Team
- Description of roles that determine a user's permissions and security
- Install the viewpoint team mobile app
Viewpoint HR Management, Viewpoint Financial Controls & Viewpoint Field Management
- Add new employees to the portal
- Registration info for first time portal users
- Edit user’s access to modules, set initial passwords, unlock users and edit the settings for inactive users
- How to configure SMS Messages for your portal
- How to send group messages using HR Management
- Give a person from your organization access to a project
- Give a person from another organization or business access to a project
- Description of roles that determine a user's permissions and security
- Install Field View app on mobile devices
Payroll Time Entry
Thriving During a (Potential) Recession
A recession may be looming, but there is no need to panic. Business can and have survived tough economic times.
- The past few weeks have been difficult for companies without the ability to access remote servers with all of their information. ENR outlines how a cloud infrastructure is vital in keeping firms afloat through a crisis.
- How does a business survive and thrive through hard times? FMI got the story straight from executives.
- We will rebuild! The Harvard Business Review outlines how to not just survive a recession — but also how to thrive in the aftermath.
Resources for Employees
Employees are the heartbeat of your business. As the working-world changes, they likely need extra support. We’ve put together some tips and resources to share with them.
Tips for WFH Productivity:
- Make space. Define a space, dedicated to work that is comfortable and clutter-free
- Schedule it out. Set a schedule and stick to it. Know your meeting schedule at the beginning of the day and make sure all meetings have conference call information included.
- Focus, focus, focus. Don't let personal distractions derail your work. Treat the work you do at home just as you would in the office.
- Chat away. Use chat or IM to communicate with colleagues, but be patient as they may need time to reply.
- Take breaks. A mental break will allow you to clear your head and come back and be more productive.
- Turn video on. Use your video in all virtual meetings. It helps to connect you with others.
- IT Support. Make sure that you know how to contact IT for support if needed.
- Stay healthy. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food.
Additional Resources for Employees:
- Wrike put together a short webinar on how to stay productive working from home.
- How to ace remote work from LinkedIn has a running list of advice from workers all over the world.
- LifeLabs has an actionable guide to help make working from home a success.
- If you have children, read this article on making your home/work space work for both you and your kids.
Resources for Owners/Managers
As an owner/manager, your employees’ well-being is of high priority. Here are some tips and resources for how to support your teams during this unprecedented time.
Tips for Business Owners:
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Commit to a consistent communication cadence to employees, including emails from leadership and live Q&A sessions. Create a chat channel specifically for communications to employees.
- Be flexible. Understand that there may be a need for parents to adjust their schedules due to childcare. If possible, be flexible with hours and expectations. If need be, shift their responsibilities to other roles in the short-term. As a company, consider offering a stipend for childcare, or additional PTO while children are home.
- Create a task force. Put together a team who can respond to new information quickly and meet with them often. The team would be responsible for updating internal and external communications and taking any action that is warranted.
- Stay calm. As a leader, employees are looking to you to set an example. Use your words and demeanor to send a message that everything will be okay. Use neutral language that doesn’t cause fear, such as “abundance of caution”, “thoughtful”, “precautionary” and “proactive”.
Tips For Managers:
- One-on-ones. Schedule regular virtual one-on-one meetings with each employee, potentially on a more frequent cadence than usual. Provide support, reassurance and ask your employees how you can set them up for success.
- Team check-ins. Hold daily or weekly status check-ins with your team for shared accountability. This can also give a sense of certainty and progress.
- Turn video on. Normalize a cameras-on practice for video calls. Needing to work remotely can lead to feelings of isolation, and being able to see team members, even just virtually, can be a positive step toward creating a sense of connection.
- Know the IT support number. Make sure that you know how to contact IT for support if needed, and relay this information to your team.
- Set clear expectations. Clarify necessary outcomes for your team members (e.g., goals, “definitions of done”) so focus is on what needs to get done rather than how many hours someone works.
Additional Resources for Owners/Managers:
- Construction Executive has a helpful guide on what contractors should consider when communicating over the next few weeks.
- MITSloan Management Review has a variety of articles that managers may find helpful during the Covid-19 outbreak.
- All contractors should now have procedures in place to stop the spread of COVID-19 on the jobsite. AGC has provided a critical list of resources to ensure compliance.
- As a manager you are navigating through a difficult time alongside your employees. Smartbrief has an article you should read.
- Disaster Loans are available to some small businesses in need through the Small Business Association. See if you qualify.
- While helping with social distancing, there are unexpected cyber-security risks with allowing employees to work remotely. Business Insurance has a list of tips to help business owners combat cyber-attacks.
- How do you lead during a crisis? 66 CEOs and Executives share how they are leading from home.
- COVID-19 doesn’t just impact how healthcare workers stay safe on the job. There are guidelines for every workplace. There is a fact sheet straight from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).
- When is the right time to send your COVID-19 notice? It's not an easy topic, but it is covered well by the National Law Review.
- Remote working can be a challenge in the construction industry, but companies are making it happen. Executives tell Constructive Dive how it's working.
- LifeLabs Learning gathered intel from 650+ HR leaders from different companies to share ideas, policies and templates with you. Get them here.
- Meetings are still an important part of business, even in a remote situation. Here are tips to keep meetings productive and on-topic.
The Not-So-Wide World of Sports
What happens when the sports world comes to a halt? We love sports as much as you do. Keep up with the latest here.
- The International Olympic Committee has announced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be delayed due to the pandemic. This comes after some countries had pulled out of the games.
- While the professional sports world has quieted over the virus, one sport is alive and well.
Lend a Helping Hand
It is crucial moments like this where just a simple gesture can make all the difference for someone in need. Here are some ideas on what you can do.
- After the White House put out an urgent call for N95 masks, some construction companies stepped up to the plate by donating thousands of masks.
- Many construction business owners are wondering what they can do and the white house is asking for help.
- Let’s ensure that no one goes hungry during this pandemic. Feeding America will disperse your donation to food banks across the US.
- Everyone can contribute in different ways. Town and Country magazine has a list of ways to help that you may not have considered.
Self-Care: Don't Forget the Most Important Bit
In these uncertain times, stress and anxiety is at an all-time high. Learn how you can help yourself, so you can be there for your family and organization.
- Looking to stay active while maintaining social distancing? Peloton is offering a free 90-day trial of their workout app.
- While physical health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, taking care of your mental health is just as important. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has ways you can tend to your mental health during the outbreak.