Navigating COVID-19: Osborne Wood Product’s Approach
On March 26, 2020, the U.S. surpassed 85,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, making the U.S. the leader in confirmed cases worldwide. Mundane activities were brought to a screeching halt as countries and communities were forced to address the highly infectious virus. Osborne Wood Products has taken, and continues to take this situation very seriously. They are continuously adapting with new procedures to ensure the safety of their employees, our customers, and our community.
Osborne Wood Products began responding to COVID-19 in early February. On February 5, the Head of Safety and Maintenance, Keith Anderson, held a safety meeting to inform all employees of the novel coronavirus through a slideshow presentation and handouts, with a follow-up meeting held on March 6. Both meetings were centered on informing employees of the dangers and prevention of the novel coronavirus. Employees were also given the opportunity to receive a pneumonia vaccine administered off-campus at a later date at no cost.
Before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), Osborne Wood Products CEO, Leon Osborne, had already planned a meeting with local health professionals to help address employee questions. Based on the ongoing guidance from federal and state authorities, that meeting was re-imagined to be available via video which seemed the most natural fit for allowing the informative session to continue while maintaining social distance.
On March 16, the same day that the WHO declared the COVID-19 pandemic, Osborne was joined by Stephens County Hospital’s Infection Control and Joint Commission Coordinator Carmen Kisner, Chief Nursing Officer Alicia Witt, and CEO Michael Hester.
During their time at the Osborne facility, the medical professionals answered many questions from Osborne employees. In an effort to make the important information that was provided available to all employees and to the community at large, the session was recorded in an informative video that outlined the prevention of COVID-19. This footage was then released to the public to view on YouTube, Facebook, and Linked-In. It was also shared with Osborne customers who subscribe to their mailing list. As a result of this meeting and the guidance provided, Osborne Wood Products began implementing elevated health practices, including social distancing, assigned production work spaces, revised shipping practices, and increased digital communication.
Allowing Osborne employees the opportunity to work remotely was identified as an early goal. With confirmed cases becoming more prevalent in the US, Osborne wanted to be sure to keep employees and customers safe, while still providing quality products to our customers in a timely fashion. They tested the ability to allow front office employees, such as CSRs and marketing team members, to work remotely in the safety of their homes. With early testing showing promise, they began investing in equipment that would make the transition as smooth as possible, purchasing webcams and headsets for all employees to use at home (if needed) and in the office. Laptops were provided to employees who were unable to use their personal computers. IT purchased a new phone system that would allow CSRs to access their call group remotely from their computer or laptop. With these investments and the open minds of their employees, the front office was able to successfully transition to a “work-from-home” format.
Due to the nature of their jobs, shipping and production employees continue to report daily. However, Osborne recognizes that by reducing the number of individuals on campus daily, the benefit is extended to the entire workforce. Utilizing the most recent guidance from federal and state authorities, updated policies and practices were implemented across departments to minimize risk. The leadership team monitors the regularly updated “best-practices” and works to meet or exceed these guidelines. Recognized as contributing to critical infrastructure, Osborne Wood Products is determined to live up to the standard that their customers have come to expect, while emphasizing customer and employee safety. With no plans to delay shipping or production, Osborne Wood Products is working hard to continue to provide the right product with the right quality at the right price. The efforts of their team and business partners have allowed them to continue to ship products daily. Whatever your circumstance during the current crisis, Osborne hopes you and your loved ones are safe, and can look forward to better days ahead.