Today’s been one of the most crazy and, in my opinion, unprecedented days we’ve ever seen covering public accounting, where three of the Big 4 and a slew of other firms are ditching their U.S. offices and going strictly remote work for the time being because of COVID-19.
A tipster let us know this evening that RSM US is going full work-from-home mode as well, starting tomorrow. Here’s the missive RSM CEO and Managing Partner Joe Adams sent everyone earlier today:
We are in unprecedented times, and I am so proud of how we have worked together to meet this challenge. The situation around COVID-19 has evolved rapidly over the weekend with widespread school closures and new federal, state and local guidance. I urge you to follow our firm’s guidance to continue to protect the health and safety of our people, families, clients and communities.
Effective tomorrow, March 17, we will be shifting to a mandatory remote working environment until further notice.
This means that you should not work in the office. You may go to the office to pick up any critical items you need to complete your work through the end of the day on March 17. Any subsequent office visits require permission from your local line of business or solution set leader, and you must sign in and out so we can keep track of who has been in an office.
It also means that you should not be working at a client site. Activities at a client site should be kept to the minimum critical activities necessary to complete our work as outlined in the line of business remote working guidelines and messages sent on the evening of Friday, March 13.
We have already seen exposure in a number of our office buildings through other tenants, and we expect this trend will continue. While we know this will make it more challenging for some of you to get your work done, we believe this is a necessary step to protect you, our clients and our communities while also doing our part to flatten the curve and reduce the spread of the virus.
We are fortunate to have technology and a culture that enables us to work remotely. Guidance is available and regularly updated for each of our lines of business (Audit, Consulting, U.S. Tax, Canada Tax). For ICS professionals, we ask that you continue to work with your direct leader on how to best complete your work remotely.
If you need a monitor or other IT equipment to work effectively when you are remote, you may take one from your office to use for the duration of the time you will be working remotely. Please be respectful, recognize that this equipment is property of the firm, and return it when we return to normal operations.
We are working with our office leaders to ensure continuity for critical business activities that will minimize or eliminate the need for people to be in an office, such as receiving mail and packages. We expect everyone will leverage the ability to use electronic documents to the extent possible. In addition, our receptionists are able to manage phone calls remotely during regular business hours. We are also working with our national teams on critical business operations for our firm, and we will provide a separate communication for those groups.
We must support one another and communicate.
We understand that many of you will require flexibility and may need to work unusual hours as you manage multiple personal and professional priorities. Please stay in touch with your team about the support you need, when you plan to be working and the progress you are making on your work assignments. Teamwork is one of our core values, and I am confident that together we can make this work. It will require communication and flexibility on everyone’s part.
Our restrictions on air travel and hotel stays remain the same.
Any exceptions for travel must be granted by your national line of business leader. If you are currently traveling on any domestic long-term assignment, we request that you come home as soon as possible. We are working with our expats and others overseas on an individual basis. We are seeing increasing international travel restrictions, including several provinces in Canada, and we anticipate domestic travel restrictions may begin to occur as well.
Taking care of your health is critical.
We are currently experiencing change that is unlike anything we have experienced before. It is important that we all take care of our physical and mental health, and RSM has resources to help.
- If you or a member of your household is feeling ill, please seek appropriate medical attention. We have published details on benefits that are available to help you.
- If you or a member of your family need to speak to someone about how you are feeling in this rapidly changing environment, our Employee Assistance Program provides confidential counseling resources.
- If you have concerns about your access to a place to work, a place to live, or food for yourself or your family, please contact employee relations for assistance.
Thank you all for your individual and collective leadership during this critical time. This is a new experience for all of us, and I know that together we will meet the challenges of the weeks ahead.
Managing Partner and CEO