Looking back. Working forward.

Hans and Sam share the latest on Work Forward, vaccine mandates and storm recovery.

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On today’s special Wednesday episode of Up To Speed Live, host Diana Alvear welcomed CEO Hans Vestberg and Chief Human Resources Officer Sam Hammock. They shared the following updates:

Storm recovery update

Communities in the Midwest that were recently ravaged by tornadoes have started the long process of recovery. Verizon’s network performed well, and we are on the ground keeping our customers and those assisting them connected. We have a text, talk and data relief offer for customers in affected areas. And to bolster recovery, yesterday we announced the Verizon Foundation is making a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross. Our donation will be dedicated to regional disaster relief for communities impacted by these tornadoes. It’s such a devastating tragedy there and we are keeping all of these families in our hearts.

Work Forward update

On the Work Forward front, Hans shared that we are navigating a very fluid environment which includes ongoing changes from local, state and federal officials. “We continue to put the V Team and their well-being at the center of our strategy,” said Hans.

As we continue to monitor developments, we are still targeting early 2022 to officially activate Work Forward hybrid schedules and will make sure employees have advance notice.

Sam talked about how V Teamers can prepare to put Work Forward into action and embrace our new ways of working. She reiterated the purpose and vision of Work Forward: to define a future of work that works for all of us and to listen to what V Teamers have been asking for — greater flexibility and stronger work-life integration.

Now is the perfect time for hybrid employees to speak with their directors and make any adjustments to their work schedules ahead of the new year. It’s critical that every hybrid V Teamer has their schedule set, published and ready to go.

Sam encouraged employees to revisit the Work Forward microsite for a training refresher and, if you haven’t already, start integrating the principles. For example, follow best practices for distributed meetings. Bring your devices to in-person meetings if you have folks on video, so that it’s a more equitable experience for everyone. Get familiar with the Book-a-Space tool and check out how to make reservations for desks, meeting rooms and collaboration spaces.

COVID-19 developments

As communicated last week, given the temporary injunctions, the requirement for current employees to be vaccinated is suspended for now. However, we are still requiring V Teamers to verify their vaccination status. So, any U.S. Verizon employees who have been asked to submit the Vaccine Verification Form must do so or risk being placed on unpaid leave.

While our offices are open, all employees accessing our workspace must abide by on-site requirements and policies, including additional requirements for those not fully vaccinated.

As Sam reiterated, this is a rapidly-changing situation. Depending on developments, the vaccination requirement may be reinstated. Additionally, there may be local vaccination requirements that apply in some areas. We will keep you informed as new details emerge.

We are monitoring the development of new variants like omicron and will keep employees posted if there are any changes to our policies or procedures. As we watch these developments continue, one thing is clear: vaccination remains a critical step we can take for our own health and the health of our families and communities to limit the severity of the virus.

If you have any questions, please refer to our COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ, which is updated often to reflect new developments and information based on questions from employees. And you can always submit your questions through the Ask HR form.

Resources available if you need them

Sam stressed that it’s understandable if the amount of breaking news and constant change in information has resulted in crisis fatigue and a heavier mental load. That’s why we have support services in place should you need them. She also encouraged all of us to keep an open dialog with our managers as well as give ourselves some much-needed grace.

Final thoughts

Hans reiterated that we have a big year ahead — the biggest year ever for Verizon. He thanked everyone who is currently working so hard in all parts of the business and helping us to close out the year on the highest note. He urged us all to share the excitement and pride we feel with friends and family, and to stay focused on what we need to achieve during these final weeks of 2021 so that we are set up and ready to go in the new year.

Get the latest information on our Coronavirus Resource Page.

If you have any questions, email them to live@verizon.com.

Click here for a transcript of the webcast.

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