Workforce Changes & Supporting Employees
The pandemic put on hold the routine work of thousands of caregivers, while making demands on skill sets like critical care and respiratory care that were in short supply.
It required work to be redesigned around protecting caregivers against a deadly infection whose modes of transmission were not fully elucidated. It also brought with it the stress of caring for patients with a high risk of death for whom therapies were both uncertain and rapidly shifting. All of these demands required a workforce that was flexible and committed, which in turn required uncompromising support from their leaders.
Employee Health Services was one of the first areas to take on a large volume of new duties, including testing of employees, staffing a 24/7 hotline with nurses and social workers to deal with issues of stress, and certifying employees for new assignments.
I&T collaborated with Human Resources in creating a robust remote work program that swelled from 500 to over 4,500 in less than two weeks. This required both hardware and software implementations as well as coaching of managers on how to lead in this new environment.
A WorkWell app was developed by engineers and designers in I&T that enables employees to self-screen before they arrive to work, helping to reduce screening lines at our sites. WorkWell has also been recently upgraded to be the application for our employee COVID vaccination program. It is being used to register and schedule employees who are receiving two doses of the vaccine.
Multiple programs to support wellness and work-life balance were put in place, including enhancements in child care options, parking on site, employee assistance programs, “Tea for the Soul” from Spiritual Services, “Psychological First Aid” and a “Resiliency Workshop” from the Department of Psychiatry, problem solving through leadership rounds, pop-up markets for employees to buy essential supplies, Town Halls, and memorial services to honor the lives of those lost in the pandemic. Local restaurants donated over 10,000 meals to staff at BMC on all shifts in a program coordinated by the BH Foundation.