Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Paycom using layers of precautions to stem spread of the coronavirus
Oklahoma City-based Paycom was prepared to start taking daily temperatures of employees still working at the office Tuesday to protect against coronavirus. But instead, the company changed course and sent more employees home to telecommute.
The health check would’ve been just another layer in numerous precautions, which the online payroll and human resources technology provider began deploying weeks ago to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Safety measures at Paycom extend far beyond prohibiting business-related travel, and encouraging sick employees to stay home and all employees to regularly and rigorously wash their hands.
Rather, the company recently asked employees to sit, and walk the halls, at least six feet from one another, with a general rule of no more than two employees at a time in the break rooms or bathrooms and no congregating outside them.
Moreover, to cut down on crowds, Paycom moved employees to different desks to achieve proper social distancing. The company staggered lunches and start and quitting times for different departments. Paycom cut off visitor access and temporarily closed its fitness center and cafeteria.
Paycom officials say the precautions were necessary to continue to serve its 26,500 customers nationwide and safeguard the health of its nearly 4,000 employees.
“With the health and safety of our employees in mind, we have been preparing our workforce for the past couple of weeks," Paycom CEO and founder Chad Richison said.
"We went from 0% of our workforce working from home two weeks ago to about 75% today. We will be at 85% or more work-from-home by the end of tomorrow and we will have executed our full work-from-home plan by the end of week, while continuing to serve our clients across the country. We have asked employees who are working from home, regardless of risk factor, to stay at home and practice social distancing when it’s necessary they go out.”
Spokesman Jason Bodin said Paycom had its business continuity plan for a long time, “so we were able to come out with precautions in advance of everybody else and be proactively prepared.”
Bodin said the company started by clearly communicating with employees about COVID-19 and its possible impact. Among other things, the company created an educational video with a physician telling how to limit the spread of the infection, he said.
“Our goal was to ease any sense of anxiety in employees,” Bodin said. “Hopefully, today, people are getting the picture of how serious it is.”
Paycom’s “essential employees” who still will work in the office will be required to stay on their respective floors in their respective buildings and discouraged from leaving the building for lunch.
A gloved human resources professional had been handing out free, boxed lunches to employees, so they could eat at their desks.
Employees are required to wipe down their desks when they arrive and leave each day, and previously were asked to take home any personal items to aid in that effort.
Meanwhile, Paycom is thoroughly cleaning buildings and even had hired bathroom attendants to clean behind every use.
As for the morning temperature monitoring, employees are asked to check their temperatures before coming into the office, Bodin said. "We are also asking they take their temperatures at work," he said, "and should they begin to run a fever or feel ill, we have a secluded on-site nurse for them to visit."