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In the (home) office and in the field: How to practice workplace normalcy

Hydro Ottawa’s Donna Burnett Vachon and Bruce Lang explore best practices for keeping both office and field workers’ workplaces safe and connected in times of uncertainty.

As part of this webinar, we look at how Hydro Ottawa’s corporate culture has allowed them to adapt and create safe and healthy workplaces for their employees during the pandemic.



this will now be recorded

you perfect okay so I want to say hello and

welcome to everyone I am Marie mold and I’m the manager a stakeholder engagement here at electricty Human Resources

Canada or HRC I want to thank you for joining our webinar today the webinar in the home office in the

field how to practice workplace normalcy in this webinar today we will explore best practices for both office and field

workers and how hydro Ottawa have created a safe environment in times of uncertainty as we slowly start to return

to work over the next few weeks and/or months one thing we have been hearing quite a bit is the many

requirements that will be enforced to change how we envision the workplace that has forever change Rodger Ottawa’s

corporate culture has allowed them to adapt and create a safe and healthy workplace for their employees during and

after the pandemic and we are pleased to be able to share these practices today

before we get started just a couple of housekeeping notes we will be recording

this session as you had heard previously and we will be posting this webinar on

our website and on YouTube there will be a Q&A session after the presentation so

please feel free to type in your questions at any stage and will queue them up by just simply using the chat

icon on your screen so for those of you who don’t know EHR C is a national

not-for-profit organization supporting the human resources needs of the Canadian electricity sector our role is

to have the insight to make sure every employer Union and educator is prepared

to meet the sector’s electricity needs we’re an extremely collaborative organization our work is done

hand-in-hand with employers unions educators governments for both federal and provincial and other industry

associations now I’m very delighted to introduce our presenters today we have

Donna Burnett Vashem who is the director of change and organization development

for hydro Ottawa Donna leads a multifunctional team focused on creating a great employee experience at hydro

Ottawa this includes oversight for organizational change management employee communications and

engagement learning and development diversity inclusion and wellness as well

as reward and recognition and employee attraction Bruce Lang is the director of health

safety and environment for hydro Ottawa Bruce leads a team of specialists in the development implementation maintenance

and a continual improvement of hydro Ottawa’s integrated ISO 14001 as well as

the OHS AS 18001 occupational health safety and environment management system

and business continuity management program so prior to joining hydro Ottawa

and the electrical utility sector in 2011 Bruce spent 26 years in occupational

health and safety in the forest products meat processing automotive manufacturing

nuclear products and services and the municipal government sectors so when I

welcome both Donna and Bruce today thank you so much and I’m going to hand it over to you now Donna right thanks

Maurice so there we go

okay hang on just a function remotely here exactly

there you go Donna thank you for your patience ah no worries let’s get started

here thanks Marie all right Bruce I’ll let you kick it off and I’ll jump in then as we go very good well good

afternoon everybody and welcome to our presentation a very hot humid day here

on the outskirts of Ottawa so he’s having some good weather and doing well and he’s quite uncertain times as Murray

inferred Donna here today to talk a little bit about what hydro Ottawa has

done to prepare for maintaining some

sense of normalcy in a very not normal time so today we’ll do a little bit

introduction to hydro Ottawa we’ll set a little bit of context around where we were heading into where we are

today we’ll talk a bit about how we built on our existing culture of safety

and wellness to prepare for this donna will go into detail on our new ways of

working in the field and at home especially at home with our folks that

were working remotely all the new ways of collaborating and learning that we had to bring to the fore how we stay

connected all the different ways we stay connected with our employees and finally

in the return to the workplace we’re not fully yet there but we are well into the

planning for what that will look like and we’ll finish up with a little bit

about that so next one done so for those

of you who don’t know much about Hydra law itself Hydra double holding company is wholly owned by the City of Ottawa

and we own and operate three subsidiaries Hydra Limited which is our distribution

company where we distribute power to the city and the village of Castleman we are

the third largest municipal I owned utility Ontario 335 thousand residential

commercial customers and just over 1,100 square kilometers of service territory

energy Ottawa is the largest ontario-based municipal improve of clean power with our large hydroelectric

operation on the Ottawa River here as well as in upstate New York and down a

Gananoque way so we have hydroelectric solar and landfill gas energy plants at

two landfill sites in Ontario and finally in vari Holdings is our Energy

Solutions branch of our organization and sells energy solutions to miss Valdez

industrial and commercial clients as well as some LDCs as well mainly in the

area of energy efficiency and environmentally friendly products and services from an employee count we’re

about 750 and we’re pretty much evenly distributed between office and field

work so that certainly had to come into play when we thought about how we were going

to adapt to the cold with 19 situation with our 50-50 split along the lines of

what do we do with office staff versus how do we manage our our employees in the field so as as far as a little bit

of background I’ll turn it over to Donna talk a little bit about our strategic direction and a major move with our

facility situation last year that sort of positioned us for how we adapted took

over this year so over to you Donna thanks Bruce so as Bruce mentioned before we can kind of get into telling

you how we were able to maintain or build a sense of normalcy I think it’s important too to help you understand

kind of where we started from and some of the foundational pieces that we had that we had in place before that so

taking going looking back at our strategic direction and and seeing that we’ve been on we had been on a

transformational journey over the past four to five years already and a big

part of that was focusing on how do we get our organization ready to embrace change and disruption in our sector we

were very focused on technology and automating and you know our digital

transformation kind of a tagline that we’ve used through everything is anytime anywhere on any device so ensuring that

as we were looking and building and planning for the future that we always look back to how do we ensure that

employees are able to access the information that they need anytime anywhere on any device and I’ll talk a

little bit more about that as Bruce mentioned in a couple of slides so you’ll see how that sort of played out

and worked to definitely to our benefit in this current situation and as I said a strong focus on technologies and

choosing the right technologies for our business and to move us into the future and again that played a key role in in

our planning and certainly in how we were able to implement and very quickly adapt to a lot of the changes that we

had to put in place around covert 19 and around this whole move a good portion of our employees working

from home as Bruce mentions 2019 was a significant year for hydro Ottawa and

our facilities renewal program we moved into two new facilities you know Bruce

and I were joking a bit when we were putting together this this presentation that this would have been a very different presentation if we had to do

this two years ago because we were dispersed in multiple buildings across the city the buildings were very old we

certainly did not have the technology solutions that we’ve been able to put in place over the last couple of years with

our our digital transformation plans and with our new facility you’ll see on the

side the guiding principles that we followed as we were working through the design and the build of our new

facilities we were focused on ensuring that what that we were creating a resilient workplace that embraced

innovation that was ready to support us for change and disruption in our industry we really focused on getting

people thinking about new ways of working certainly we were focused on creating a healthy and sustainable

workplace for our employees and and for the environment and collaboration we talked so much about collaboration on

the year two years leading up to to the move to our new buildings and the idea

of creating a flexible and adaptable workplace and encouraging collaboration and new ways of working and one of the

things that that we had done and you know certainly not thinking as far down the road as a global pandemic but one of

the things we had done from a collaboration perspective prior to moving into our new facilities because

the our facilities were we’re based on a modern workplace where it’s more open space much smaller workspaces and

workstations than our older buildings had but creating a lot more collaboration space so places where

people could go and work together but to be able to do that you need the technology and so one of the things that we had done was ensured that we had

laptops for all our employees we didn’t move desktop computers into into our new

buildings and when it came to you know essentially having to flip the switch to

work from home in you know essentially 24 hours we were able to do so quite easily because everybody had a laptop

all of our office based employees had laptops that they were able to pick up and take with them and so that I think

was really helpful for us and even in some cases we had started to move away from even desk phones and and soft bones

the soft phones that were integrated into laptops so people truly had technology and you know the whole

concept of anytime anywhere any device really helped us as we moved into our

the new situation with kovat Koba 19 and working from homes as Bruce mentioned we

had you know close to 400 employees who were suddenly working from home we were not previously I work from home

organization we were very much an in the office work together type company so this was this was very new Bruce I’ll

flip it back to you to talk a little bit about the culture of hydro Ottawa and how that was important for us moving

into to this new environment as well very good thanks Donna yes and so those

of you who are participating today that work in the electrical sector as we do

at hydro Ottawa know how fundamental to the core business the safety and

wellness culture is in in our business we work with you know a commodity that

can be fatal if it’s handled wrong and there’s a great many hazards even

getting to where our infrastructure is to work on it all kinds of weather everything else so the building on that

culture was a key part of how we you know equipped our people to work safely

in this situation as Donna mentioned you know half the organization’s probably

working from home in a home office set up very quickly relatively low hazard environment and the bigger challenges

there were communication you know collaboration effectiveness those types

of things and the mental wellness that came after you’ve been you know working from your dining room table for nine or

ten weeks and have your whole family home potentially and those types of things but in the field workers it was

really you know inherent that our planning very early on that

these folks would probably have sort of the twofold stressor in they were out in

the public environment and having to do all the normal things they have to do to

work safely while still focusing on the

job at hand not letting the covert situation and the procedures distract them from the safety you know the

mindset they had to have to stay focused on the safety of their work they’re out in the public domain so that you know it

was always front of mine for us to make sure how do we make sure that they’re following the new protocols but staying

focused on the job at hand and the second piece really was they were worried about their families because now

they were moving in and out of the home potentially other family members were not we had employees who had spouses in

the healthcare sector so you have a hospital nurse coming home at night from from his or her job so we understood

that part of that was taking our existing safety culture making sure we

were refocusing and on people so they were staying focused on the job at hand adding the extra Adama I’ll speak to

some of the things that we did a little later on about things that we helped to prop that up you know whether it was on

the mental health front whether it was on you know focus on the job at hand whether it was reminding them of

protocols providing them the tools in the field because as Donna mentioned

many of our communication channels had to change we have laptops in most of our trucks

now with GPS and the ability to communicate but it doesn’t work in all

corners of the city all the time and not everyone has a cell phone and so we had

to adapt our messaging to get to employees right aways and Donna will

speak in detail about that as well but so suffice to say that you know one of

the good benchmarks starting points we had for us was we already had that strong safety culture that’s that sort

of dominant in our industry and we were able to leverage that to have our

especially our field folks up and running you know with some confidence fairly quickly great and if I can add to

the Bruce on on culture the other piece that was that is kind of speaks to who hydro Ottawa is we’re a very

community-minded organization and we engage you know in the community but but

we’re also a social organization the sense that we we do a lot of activities amongst you know within the organization

you know be it around you’ll see folks here in the pictures on Bell let’s talk day and on different diversity related

days and Wellness days so we knew that even though we people were working at home we had to create ways for people to

still feel that social connection with one another because that’s truly who we are as an organization and as Bruce

mentioned wellness was important as well not only for the folks who were still at work and working outdoors so our folks

in the field but also there are our employees at home and so we really we’re trying to think about how do we continue

to create this and keep this strong culture that we have alive but in a different way than we had I want to talk

a little bit about technology as well because I think strategy-wise culture wise but then

technology wise were also foundational to how we were able to move into the

current environment that we that that were in and so you’ll see here a lot of the integration in our technology so

workday is a tool that we had implemented about I would say almost two years ago now in terms of a cloud-based

human resource tool for the organization but integrated to that we’ve got

everything from octa to our banking to

Outlook thoughtfarmer is our internal intranet site so it’s essentially our

communication tool to our employees Phoenix is our Building Technologies so

all these things that were integrated through workday and that became a key point for us in all of this is how do we

stay connected and how do we do the work we need to do from a new environment and working through a cloud-based system

like workday absolutely supported us well in this SkillSoft I’ll talk a

little bit about that coming up and we talk about learning but it was something we were in the process of of implementing through workday as well so

that again timing wise we were very fortunate that some of these things were in the works or already implemented that

we could leverage very quickly to be able to react to the situation in front of us Bruce I’ll let you maybe talk a

bit now as we get into sort of new ways of working and how we had to adapt the work of our field folks and then I’ll

pop back in and talk about you know similarly how we do that for our folks working from home yeah very good

so sort of following on some of the talk stuff I talked about previously as you

know working in the electrical sector a lot of hazards a lot of planning goes

into each job hazard control fundamental to the business is people work in very

close-knit teams very close proximity for example doing their tail board planning session prior to every job

every day where they run through the hazard analysis the assessment of the risk the controls that need to be put in

place everybody agrees signs off this now became problematic in the new climate this put them face to face over

the same job planning form on the hood of the pickup truck and it was not something we could do so right away we

learned very quickly as we looked at the you know the recommended restrictions to

deal with this virus we had to change a lot of how we did things and it was sort

of went against the grain of fundamentally how our people work so you

know we had to look at our tailboard process say okay how do we have the supervisor lead this process without

everybody you know being huddled over the hood of the truck so it’s you know two meters apart having the same

conversation one person recording instead of people passing around paper and pen and and those types of things

and in the picture on the slide there on the one on the right-hand side you can see that two employees are up on the

sidewalk six feet apart the other lays on the back side of the transformer they’re talking about the job from a

distance figuring out a plan you can see there’s three vehicles on the road so people traveled in separate vehicles

which took planning and shift rotation because we couldn’t have all people on

the job at the same time we didn’t have enough vehicles so those types of things that we had to really rethink how we did

our frontline work and we took a lot of ideas from the employees as well about

how we could achieve that the boxes on the screen show something that part of

what Donna was talking about in our communication strategy that we’ll discuss in more detail was building a

Supervisors page on kovat 19 on our hydro buzz intranet site which gave them

protocols to follow you know in common areas where we got questions right away

what happens if an employee reports an illness exhibit symptoms at work test

positive you know what’s my return to work protocol after I’ve had a positive

test and and you know recovered from that showed them what the province of

Ontario self-assessment tool looked like what’s our return to work questionnaire that we have as a company before people

can return and our protocol around the different types of absences well whether it would be sick leave or vacation or

workers compensation those types of things so examples of guidance that we gave so as Donna mentioned we had to do

a lot of this very quickly within a day or two coming up with how we would

establish some of these protocols and be ready to go but you know primarily in

the field we had to really focus on the physical distancing separate vehicles distance on the tailboard

carry on our work differently to keep employees apart some jobs where we can’t

and we had to equip people with personal protective equipment respirators those types of things where they had to be in

close quarters and the big challenge for any field worker as is being able to

supply hand-washing capability for water and soap hand sanitizer

a little easier in in bottles although supply chain was very tough at the start

of this event and how do they do simple things like have their lunch and and

making sure they had access to all of our stations across the city where they could go in and use washrooms once

restaurants and even coffee shop stop block started blocking access to their

washrooms so a whole myriad of things around how we had to change the nature

the way we delivered the work in the field recognizing that we were essential to make sure the power stayed on you

know two critical facilities in our community like our hospitals and our long-term care facilities and those

types of things so not to say at a high level was things that we did around new

ways of working in the field and I’ll pass it back to Donna to talk about things we’ve got to do to work

differently at all yeah so similarly for our folks working at home it was a big

change as I mentioned we were not a work from home organization previously so one of the very first things that we needed

to do was create a work from home protocol where we actually set out for our employees what the expectations were

working from home we still expected people to put in their their eight-hour day we expected people to have a place

where they could work in their home that was relatively undisturbed so they could focus and and work while they were

working from home and we laid out what those expectations were what their requirements were and we pushed that out

to all employees through workday so through the tool that they would normally receive any of their employee

information or the for some folks where they would put in their hours that was

pushed out so employees could read it and then sign that they had acknowledged it and returned it so that all of our

employees working from home understood what working from home truly meant we didn’t have sort of a work from home policy going into this as I said we

didn’t really except for the one-off occasions we didn’t have people working from home so this was very new and making sure that very people very

quickly understood what was expected of them and what they would be held accountable for and so we were able to

push that out the first day that people were working from home they received

that the other thing that we did you would have seen it on Bruce’s page previously we knew that there was a lot

of things changing very quickly for our employees and so we created on our Bruce mention hydro buzz that is the the name

of our intranet and so we created a page dedicated to anything to do with height

width Cova 19 so any announcements any protocols any information that we were

sharing would be housed in this one spot in times of significant change and

stress you’re expecting people to flip through a 20-page document or remember something they’d seen in a communication

we thought just was not feasible and so we tried to as much as possible make it very visual but make it very easy for

people to find what they needed so we created this this page sort of house all

of the communications that we were pushing out linking back to our culture of wellness we created sort of wellness

wednesdays for our folks working from home and so every Wednesday we push out push out a wellness tip and it might be

a mental wellness it might be physical wellness you know early on it was things around how do you try to create an

ergonomically comfortable working place from home and knowing that you know many of us were working now at our dining

room tables and there wasn’t a whole lot we could do in terms of ergonomics there but how to use equipment and things you

could find around your house to make make your workspace a bit more comfortable and again cybersecurity was

huge and so our cybersecurity team was great about putting out short informative blogs every week to remind

people about all the additional cybersecurity risks now that we had people working from home and working on

laptops and you know maintaining that security on your laptop while working from home right down to even simple

things you can see on the hydro buzz page we had one just about how to set up your home work how do you connect you

know some in some cases it was as simple as how do you connect your laptop to your home Wi-Fi for folks that had never taken their laptop home previously so we

knew that we were dealing with folks at all levels of the spectrum and we had to give as much information as and as

informative as we could and so we host it all here for our employees to see we

talked about new ways of collaborating and learning so when we think back to some of the foundational pieces we had

talked in this IT transformation that we had been on one of the things that was on our calendar or a radar was Google and

looking at the Google suite of tools for the organization it was kind of on the radar for a little bit later and we had

to ramp that up really quickly because we did not have the right tools in place going into this to allow people to to

collaborate well from home we had some people that had GoToMeeting licenses we

had other people who were using Skype but not something that everybody had access to and everyone knew how to use

so we were able to get everybody onto Google very quickly and rolled out

Google meat within the first probably the first few days that we were we were

at home and get people up to speed quickly from a change management perspective it was probably the the most

fast-tracked change management plan I’ve ever kind of had to work through but there’s a saying in change management

never waste a crisis and so we use this as an opportunity to get people’s heads wrapped around a new a new technology

and the whole concept of going Google happened very quickly and we’ve been running statistics on kind of the

numbers of people that are engaged in Google meat and it the numbers are

astounding you know we’ve been home you know people working at home now what is it 12 weeks I think that we’re are now and it’s become a way of life I mean

everybody that’s working from home is using Google meat and Google’s technology God every day if not most of

every day to connect with connect with colleagues whether it’s just the chat function on the side or whether it’s

video meetings so very quickly had to ramp that up and so we you know would roll out every every couple of days we’d

be rolling out new tips and tricks we’d be rolling out training snippets on how to use their their new technology new

features that they could use within that so they knew how to how to manage that how to use it from your phone versus

your laptop the other thing that we rolled out and as I said this really came back to timing because we were

working on I talked about SkillSoft linked to our workday technology and it

was really an e-learning library that we had been focused on we’d been moving

more and more to eLearning corporately over the past year and developing a lot of that in-house

ourselves and then we’re putting together a sort of a resource catalog of e-learning to again tie back to our

strategy of anytime anywhere any device and so within about the second or third week that we were working from home we

were able to roll out our new ways of working and introduced elearning to our employees and stress the fact that just

because we’re working from home and just because things are different does not mean that we stop learning and developing it’s now more critical than

ever that people continue to develop their skills be it on the the new G suite tools that were implementing you

know we were very quickly as we rolled out work day learning in new ways of

learning we were able to push out elearning for people leaders on how to lead virtual teams and for our employees

themselves how to be a productive virtual team member so pushing all of

that out so people could really kind of wrap their heads around what does it mean to engage my team when I don’t actually see them other than on video

and how do i how do I communicate how do I ensure everybody’s engaged so a lot of

that we were able to push out fairly quickly and then work with individuals and with teams to in some cases its its

find option alternates to what we would have done in a classroom previously now be able to look at work day learning and

the tools available within that that catalog to be able to continue the development they were on and in some

cases for individuals who are looking at upscaling or even rescaling as they look towards the future those were things

they were able to continue while working from home and so we’re continuing to

sort of roll that out and continuing to enhance the the change management there but another way of keeping people in a

bit of normalcy that that all of this stuff we would normally have been doing didn’t just stop we’re just doing it differently than we did previously and

then staying connected so as Bruce mentioned communications were huge and we would previously would have done once

a week we would send out an e-newsletter to our employees that would link them back to our intranet with articles so as

we were looking at this kovat 19 and as we were creating a page on our hydro

Bazaar intranet we knew that we had to ramp up our communications and so we went from one

enewsletter a week to three so we put an you new newsletter to all our employees three times a week with information

related to kovat 19 as we said you’ll see there we have some of the G suite tips in there

we created a people leaders section so anything that was specific to our people leaders be it a something in our you

know our supervisor guide a new protocol that we were putting out it might be a safety notice that they needed to be

aware of all of it was in one place and everything was branded covert 19 so

everything that came out around that had the same kind of brand and so it looked the same every week when one challenge

that you know we knew going into this and we’re working towards but of course hadn’t got there yet was the fact that

our folks in the field couldn’t access our current for intranet it didn’t have

mobile capability so then we had to really quickly think about well how do we get this information all of this

covert information to those folks in the field and the one thing that we did know that they had access to was workday

because that is the tool that they used to to input their time and so we had to figure out very quickly how do we how do

we turn workday how do we enhance it so that it could also be a communications

tool and so we created a an announcements or use the announcements section there and created a Cova 19 area

where we could take all of the communications that were in our newsletter that were pertinent to our

folks in the field and create a communication section within workday and they could access it from wherever they

were most folks had it on their on their mobile devices on their either the

laptops in the trucks or on their personal cell phone so they could very quickly just click on it and see whatever the new communications were

that were available and for the folks in the field we also looked at our mass

communication tool ever bridge as a way to push out short messages through text or voice interestingly enough how do you

you know think about how do we train the folks we didn’t have anybody in the building to show our field folks how to

actually set up this new covert 19 announcements on their workday apps so we used we are

our garages and our operation centers have digital communication screens it’s how we kind of share information

visually there so we took the idea of a job aid and flipped it on to a digital screen so that they could quickly figure

out how to how to connect and how to view also just to let them know that it

was there in workday so when they opened workday and it looked different they’d know why and also then how to how to

manage that on their mobile devices and

then more things that we did for our folks in the field I don’t know Bruce if you want to speak to some of these but some of the ideas about how we got the

folks in the field to stay engage and again as I said using those digital screens in the garages to push out more

information for them around everything from health tips to updates on protocols

and if there’s anything here Bruce that you wanted to touch on yeah I know I

think this is one of the ways that we leveraged since even though we’re social

distancing and we’re changing some of our protocols all the crews that came in still came in through their work centers

every day so having these digital screens available that they can you know they can all stand at a distance they

don’t have to be huddled over one monitor or a paper handout or something so they could see you know the hand

washing techniques they could see any of the messaging that we were putting up that particular day and all done

remotely by members of Donna’s team so they could be working from home on the other side of the city and change the

boards and put this information up so it was an effective way for us when everybody became distanced that you know

the monitor the large monitors on the wall were a way that we could use use them to put up a variety of messaging

that still allowed us to social distance people and still get messaging to the

folks that needed it every day yeah it really was I think through all of this is is looking at the tools that we had

the tools that we had available to us and figure out how do we use them maybe enhance how we use them or use them a

little bit differently too to be able to react to the situation the other thing that we wanted to do was ensure that we

were pushing out tools and resources to our employees so early on when we first

thought this was maybe a three to four week event and we knew that the schools were gonna be closed for at least three

weeks very quickly put up some some resources and tools for parents and kids so everything from online activities to

virtual activities a whole sort of page of different resources knowing that we

we did have a good portion of our workforce who had young kids at home with them so things that they could they

could access as I said mental health was an area that we were very focused on and so we created a whole page with mental

health tips resources things that get access reminders of how to access our

EAP program and what things were available to them and and how to you

know where where the process may have changed slightly given that everything was being done virtually and a whole

section again related to our focus on wellness of staying well at home and again everything from an ergonomic

workstation to eating healthy to how to use you know some of the virtual tools

that were available to you to stay connected you know both during work time and then outside of work time virtually

connecting with with friends and family while we’re all at home and then the

other thing as I said we had a people leader section on our intranet and so we

had all sorts of information there for people leaders the supervisor guides that that Bruce spoke to a little bit

earlier where we had lots of information and and tried to make it as colorful and

visual as possible so that when our supervisors were very quickly in the moment trying to find an answer to a question they could essentially click on

what they needed and a short description of the information they needed would be available to them so in terms of staying

connected and engaging and collaborating as I said we very much have always been an organization that creates awareness

and that celebrates events and so a lot of our groups then tried to figure out well how do we do this differently and

so here’s a good example International Day of pink so our our pride committee all working from

home putting out information to our employees about International Day of pink and why we celebrate and sharing

their messages from home and and putting it a challenge to their colleagues to do the same and so on the on our intranet

site they have employees have the ability to to comment and post their own

photos and so by the end of the day we had a page full of photos of you in some cases individuals at home with their

kids with messages some groups created a collage of their team working from home

and either dressed in pink or sharing messages but continuing to try and

create that social connection that that really speaks to who high draw too is

National Day of Mourning so this is a big event for hydro Ottawa and I’ll let Bruce talk a little bit about kind of

typically what National Day of Mourning would look like for us and how we how we adapted it this year yes so Nashville is

Donna mentioned national day morning is probably one of our two largest events that we do every year as well as our

income all employee forum but a National Day of Mourning where we get together as

a company you can see the pictures along the bottom there where basically you put the whole organization in the garage and

we’ll have guest speakers we have you know awards for children of employees

who enter a writing contest around health and safety we lay a wreath and

wreaths and memory of people who lost their lives in our sector so a number of

things so it’s not a mansion it’s a very big gathering it’s one of our two largest of the year where all employees

get together and it’s part of that certain things that we do that I think

make us a very cohesive company so obviously this year that all had to

change and and what can we do differently to still recognize without

bringing everybody together and leveraging tools we already at because there was no time or you know

effort time or ability to put anything new together and so as Donna mentioned

earlier on we have a tool called from a company called ever bridge that is an emergency mass notification system that

allows us to push messaging out to all employees and emergencies and we thought well can we adapt that somehow to use

that to send a pre-recorded message out from our president and CEO to all

employees to recognize National Day of Mourning and that’s what we did so that was again trying to leverage the tool we

already had use it for another purpose be able to get messaging out to all our employees and we were able to push that

out to every employees telephone as an audio message from our president and CEO

in recognition the week after National Day of Mourning is sort of a triple week

it’s the North American Occupational Health and Safety Week it’s mental health week and it’s emergency

preparedness week so again we normally do activities during that week where we

bring our crews together they clean out their trucks inspect all their tools and

equipment we get annual inspections and calibrations done they practice their

rescue drills we do all kinds of things again all things we couldn’t do while

maintaining physical distancing so again we had to look at that and say what can

we do differently some of it done by messaging as Donna mentioned some things

around mental health were done online in different ways and some of our equipment

inspections the ones that had to be done we had to arrange you know off hours for

an outside vendor to do it with no contact so we had to adapt like I say a

lot to do that but every bridge was a good example of leveraging a tool we

already had for another purpose and repurposing it you know to help us out

in this instance great so Bruce alluded to Mental Health Week

and I wanted to sort of highlight this one because think was an example of really our employees grabbing on to grabbing on to this and

really running with it and doing a fantastic job so Mental Health Week we have an accessibility committee as part

of our broader diversity and inclusion programming and they’re very active active group and a lot of creativity in

that group and so they came up with a week’s worth of activities they had a theme per day and again knowing that

people were in a very different mindset now working from home and that there were likely people that were struggling

with working from home or not feeling connected and so they wanted to really create an environment that not only

highlighted mental health the importance of good mental health and the challenges

happening currently but also ways to support mental health and so each day of

the week they had a theme they had one member of the committee each day recorded a personal video of what they

were doing related to that theme and you know talking about sharing their own story of them their cell themselves

being at home and you know in one case talking about how they were using physical activity as a way to stay

connected and how they were using that as a way to stay well but also how they were leveraging tools like Strava to

connect with family and friends and create challenges and giving and showing people how to do that our executive

sponsor for the accessibility committee took on connecting through food and did

a great a great overview of you know how he was using food and and cooking at

home because our restaurants were closed and put a plug in for people to support their their local restaurants and food

banks to connect through food but also put out a recipe challenge so sharing one of his favorite recipes and and

encouraging others to connect and again by the end of the week that page was just full of people’s recipes or people

commenting on having used others and it was just a fun way to connect people having pictures of their kids up there

you know on step stools you know learning how to bake and all sorts of things everyone who was baking their own

bread and trying new things probably one of the most fun things that happened

that week is the the committee put together a mental health via challenge and they coordinated

through through Kahoot as a sort of a live trivia game and it was really a

great example of bringing people together to kind of rebuild that sense of community and engagement but also you

know throw it a little bit of competition as well it was one of the few times that we saw in the chat panel

a little bit of trash-talking happening as they were going through the through the trivia game and competing and

everything down to even just the fun usernames that they put in it was just really a fun activity everyone right up

to our you know our CEO was participating and a great event and I think a good opportunity for people to

see that that we can use this technology you know we’re using it for work but we

can also use it to to stay connected and stay engaged and then they wrapped up the week with gratitude and so people

putting up messages of what they were thankful for and I think you might have seen in one of the earlier screens you know messages that were in our garages

on the digital screens to acknowledge and thank thank our folks in the field who were you know keeping the power on

for the rest of us who are who are working at home and then finally on engaging and collaborating so bruce

mentioned you know we’ve been putting out written communications and then for National Day of Mourning we had a recorded message that went out

through ever bridge from our CEO and then again continuing to kind of build

on that and get better at what we were doing then we put out a virtual Town Hall so just recently our CEO did a

virtual town hall that was streamed to all of our employees a chance for us to

see what else we could do with the Google tool set that we had available to us and so we leverage that to to push

out a live Town Hall to all of our employees and they were able to connect on their laptop on a tablet on their on

their cell phone all through the Google Google technology and because it was

live stream they couldn’t necessarily they couldn’t sort of ask questions in the moment but we sent out a survey to employees ahead of time saying what are

the questions you want to hear you know questions you would ask our CEO and so we compiled all of that so that he was

prepared to speak to the questions that were top of mind for our employees and so we worked extremely well

for the folks working from home make a dial in we actually looked worked with our IT group to take the digital

communication screens that we have in our garages and adapt them so they could actually play the the live stream and

have audio in the garages again looking for ways that we could allow people to come together but still in a physically

distanced environment so spreading out throughout the garage or in the ready rooms and some of the larger spaces that

we had so that people could could listen and and participate so it was a huge success and so now of course we’re

looking for more ways that we can leverage and and use the technology that that we have available and I’m gonna

turn it back to Bruce now Chaz as Bruce mentioned early on we’ve spent so much time kind of working through and and

creating a sense of normalcy at home now just to kind of turn it all up and and start to think about what returning to

the workplace and interestingly enough as I mentioned the we had moved into our new facilities in May April April May of

last year so we actually were celebrating the one-year anniversary of moving into the building at home but but

now we’re looking at okay well now we were gonna re-enter our buildings and so it’s almost like reengineering that that

change management plan we had for the original move into our building to a return to the workplace and so Bruce

I’ll let you comment a little bit on sort of some of the high-level planning that we’re doing in that regard yes

that’s true as Donna said you know now we’re sort of after having moved in not

that long ago where and then moved back out and now we’re gonna try to undo all

the changes we’ve made to re-enter our facilities but number one is the

fundamentals don’t change employee safety and health has to come first so we’re in that planning phase now about

how do we physically make people safe as it shows on the slide is that how do we

encourage and maintain physical distancing how do we ensure the proper

cleaning of our facilities and all of our high touch points how do we make sure people still continue with good

hygiene practice is what do we have to do to our building to prepare it for everyone’s return

you know people themselves how do we bring them back into the workplace obviously you can’t bring everybody back

in at once as normal and have bottlenecks at the entrances and things

like that and maintaining distances in their workspace so we’re working on a lot of that now they say dealing with

everybody coming back and making use of all of our employees making use of the same number of vehicles how would we

handle that so a lot of those things you know testing and screening protocol for

return I’m sure all of you have seen as well when you watch the media or you

talk in your industry associations and and other people in the business there’s

sort of a lot of things that are similar that everyone’s considering there’s a lot of thing you know people may or may

not do and it evolves weekly that’s the other piece is that the frameworks and

the recommendations from public health are fluid that or not there are some very solid ones like physical disk page

but you know the whole issue of face coverings and there’s a lot of fluid pieces so we are in the midst of that to

planning what our gradual return to the workplace is going to look like and you

know our high-level thinking is is that you know we will start that sometime probably this summer but it you know we

could be in this type of phase well for the end of 2021 everybody’s crystal balling and looking

when we have a second spike in the fall that might require us to come back a bit back to you know working outside of the

workplace that remains to be seen and of course the big unknown is you know

whether in a couple of years that there’s a vaccine on the horizon which would change our approach again but as

Donna said there’s in the meantime we’re doing a lot of communication with our

folks a lot of activities to try and support not just physical but men to health making sure people have the

tools they need to communicate with each other and work effectively and as we as

we plan to return to our workplace in a systematic fashion again employee

Safety’s number one and you know we will continue that and play the ball as it

lies to a certain extent as the situation continues to unfold so that’s

all for me Donna unless you have anything else no no it’s good I’m just noticing our time so I think we will

pause there thank you excellent thank

you so much we do have a couple of questions and some good questions

actually so let me just get to those the first question that I have for you is first of all the person said amazing

presentation so thank you curious if hydro Ottawa conducted an employee pulse

to ask employees what they needed and how they were doing the two-way communication piece I can I can speak to

that I think we we used pulse pulse surveys on specific topics I’m thinking

of we asked them you around the town hall what kind of questions they had I think early on we were were scrambling

to get information ready for employees versus sort of doing pulse checks we do

have one kind of in the plans coming out shortly around sort of a pulse on how people were doing we have one that’s

currently out around how people are using their workday learning interestingly enough we weren’t a huge

survey organization prior to this and so we’ve been really moving into the whole

pulse survey field and finding it very effective you know six questions or less that put it out for a week or so get

information from employees and and move forward so trying to kind of build that

build that in we’ve had we’ve relied more on sort of feedback from our people leaders in terms of what they were

hearing from their folks as that two-way communication but definitely building in that area and I think another important

piece of that to Donna is that all of our people leaders are at

least all the ones I know of are doing that themselves with their own folks on

probably at least a weekly basis I know for myself and I think Don is

doing the same you know we have a have a group called my entire team every week and part of that is to check on how

they’re all doing working from home we use the Google tools so that everybody

can put their picture up so each other face to face and because we haven’t seen

each other in a while I have them talk about what’s going on at home not just about work you know is there anything

going on at home that was of interest or things their kids were doing or whatever

or so in the absence of you say a formal corporate pulse survey I think it’s safe

to say most of the people leaders that you know at least the director and

manager level are doing these sort of pulse check-ins with their folks I would imagine on a weekly basis thank you I

think we have time maybe for one or two more for the next question is hello team

thank you so much for this initiative my question is how have you been able to carry out an impact assessment of these

changes and the result on your high level goals well I’ll start Bruce and

then jump in with other other thinking I think in some cases I you know in some

cases we had to look at some of the high level goals that we had set and some of them we we had to purposely make some

decisions that we were going to pause given the the given the situation that

we were in and all the work that that had to go with that so if I think is some of big big projects and other cases

those projects had to continue forward and so the team’s leading those I know there’s a few that I’ve been working on

that we that were critically important and we’ve continued to manage those as if we were in the building but we’re

working at home so we’re still working to the same timetables and schedules and same mandates

as we had had previously with very little change I think the fact that we were able to adapt to working with the

Google tools that we had meant that it was a we almost just kept moving on them

if that makes sense that we we were sitting in a different desk than we were previously but we were moving forward on

the tools but on some of the big projects now I know Bruce you have more insight on the operation side so I’ll

let you speak to that yeah I think that no different that happened in our group

was all of our Chiefs map with their directors and looked at their because of

course this hit right about the time where we had finished you know review of last year’s priorities and achievements

and we were rolling at what are the 2020 ones so I think it’s fair to say that as

Donna mentioned I don’t think too much now off the plate but we recognize that

Colvin was going to impact timelines of delivery so I would say something

schedules got extended we things we thought would get done in q2 maybe

aren’t going to happen until q4 as an example so there are certainly some of that I think across all the divisions in

the organization from a business continuity standpoint I would say we

haven’t done a review of you know sort of lessons learned yet certainly asked

all of the groups to collect things as they have a ha moments going through

this to mark those down and we’ll certainly be having some kind of an evaluation from the business continuity

standpoint at some point about things that worked well things that didn’t work well things we learned that we can apply

to be prepared for you know if this were to happen again I would say out in the

field the main thing was that we obviously have to keep the lights on for

the city we have to keep critical power for hospitals long-term care homes paramedics fire police like all those

people that need to be able to have facilities and respond as well as our own facilities in control rooms

so you know that part we deployed to do that with rotating shifts as ways to

separate our workforce for physical distancing but I think the main thing

where we probably cut back and delayed was on capital work we looked at you

know capital work that could wait that was not non-essential you know for the strengthen and robustness of the

distribution system that we could hold off on but we’re at the point now as we

start to reconsider return to the work place and now that we have a good handle on protocols at the same time

considering how we start bringing back the rest of our field folks and possibly

ramping our capital program back up again

great so our respect for time I’ll ask one more question and then we’ll wrap it up

because there is quite a few questions which is great so the this question I have here is how will the company adapt

with the building that encourages collaboration and smaller and closer cubicles with colvett that’s a good

question and that’s one that we’re working on working through right now as Bruce mentioned do all the planning that

we’re thinking about about returning to the workplace is really starting to

think about how do we manage in this open environment where people are closer together where we’ve created these open

spaces for people to use and so right now we’re working through what are those protocols going to look like you know

what what does return look like is it a great approach you know all of that is kind of

in in the works right now because we do know that you know we did create smaller

workspaces and lower walls and all those things that you know we’re fabulous two

years ago and we looked at what what the new workplaces of the future are looking like and you know getting people

together and running into one another in places to spark collaboration and innovation not necessarily the best when

you think about a pandemic and in spread of viruses and germs so we’re working

through all of that now in terms of clean and spacing and physical distancing and yeah trying to determine what those new

protocols are perfect did you want to

add anything else Bruce to that question I no I don’t think so that’s done

alluded like I think a lot of people who have moved to more modern offices in the

last few years you know the idea was lower walls more natural light more

collaboration get people together more you know and had we seen have we seen a

pandemic coming would that have changed thinking I don’t know but I you know we now just have to adapt with what we’ve

got we’re certainly not gonna retrofit our entire new building we’re going to figure out how we work with it and and

still make it a great place to work until such time as we have a vaccine and

perhaps we can be in closer contact again but I don’t think anybody who is

designing office layout in the last five years saw this coming and and whether

that would have prompted you to keep you know six and seven foot high cubicle

walls and have everybody in private offices and you know I’m not would have been something that was sustainable

anyway so we’re like most folks I think we’re that’s another one where we have

to play the ball where it lies and okay

great all right so I’m going to wrap up now so I wanted to thank both Donna and Bruce

and all the participants today for anybody that submitted questions because I see there was still quite a few here

we will respond to those two you will be sending out also a very quick poll of

requesting topics that you’d like to see from EHR C and some future webinars you can also stay informed about our

resources and other webinars by signing up for our newsletter on electricity hrgh I want to let everybody know to

enjoy the rest of your day and we hope that you’ll join us soon take care thanks everyone

Thanks thanks everyone


and you hear me yes I had my microphone

you know on mute the whole time but I wasn’t sure if you guys had muted me or not so just checking am i sneaking let

it scare for tula from hydro Ottawa oh

so did you enjoy it yeah oh it was good it was good

it was awesome it was Larry I thought it was very good

and a lot of engagement today so on a think hydro I was there a very good

webinar okay and just um how many people attended kid are you able to tell yes I

was able to tell that there was close to 40 people that stayed on for the whole

webinar he had about close to 60 register but 40 attended and stayed on

pretty well like tell me aunt okay that’s great okay thank you bye