As restrictions begin to ease over the next few days and more Vancouver residents are expected to return to work after the long weekend, we understand this raises questions for some of you and possibly increases your concerns regarding personal health and safety.

We also heard questions at the PHC Virtual Town Hall Staff meeting held earlier this week; therefore, we have answered some of the key themes we are hearing right now:

Do I need to return to the office or can I continue to work from home?

To be clear, staff who have been successfully working from home, should continue to do so unless your work requires you to be onsite. We’re following the provincial government’s advice, and we are not asking for staff to return to the office; however, some teams have made pragmatic decisions about needing to be at work on some days, but not other days.

For staff who wish to return to the office, please speak with your leader/manager so arrangements can be made in conjunction with Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S).

I have been working from home, but my work requires me to be onsite. How do I proceed?

Speak with your leader/manager if your work requires you to be onsite. Leaders who have staff who need to return to the workplace need to connect with OH&S so they can assess what spacing is required. OH&S will look at each set of circumstances to ensure we maintain physical distancing.

Do I need to wear a mask in the office?

While some property managers strongly encourage anyone walking through building lobbies or common areas to wear a mask, the advice at this point from Dr. Henry is that as long as you can follow physical distancing recommendations (including in the elevator), wash your hands frequently and stay home when you are sick, you should not need to wear a mask for the short period you may be in a lobby or common area.

If you feel you are unable to follow physical distancing recommendations, please contact OH&S. In circumstances where there is not an ability to maintain that physical distance, we will provide masks.

With the push to have staff work remotely, how will this shift into a new norm for work at PHC in areas where remote work is feasible?

Providence will, of course, follow public health instructions in terms of how to bring people safely together. We need to ask ourselves what we are learning during this time around flexibility. We are reaching out to leaders and staff to better understand how we can work remotely. Looking ahead, Providence will consider future long-term opportunities to enhance options and create more flexibility for staff (e.g. telecommuting/virtual offices, etc.).

We know there will be many more questions as we move forward. Our goal is to learn from this experience and apply these learnings as we envision our best way forward, which will include more flexible work environments.

If you haven’t already done so, for those staff who have been working remotely during the pandemic or who work in areas where remote work may be feasible, please complete the staff survey on working remotely before it closes at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 15. The survey is anonymous and should take around 15 minutes to complete.


Next week, we will be providing results of the survey along with additional support for leaders with staff who are off site. We also remind you that there are several resources on working remotely available on the staff COVID website here.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Tammy Young, Executive Director, People, or to Sandy Coughlin, Director, Occupational Health and Safety

This page last updated May 18, 2020 6:33pm PDT