DESFA Initiatives to establishing a sustainable way of working remotely
DESFA started early on to address the issue of a possible pandemic, adapting the Emergency Response Plan and preparing detailed measures, to set the company’s readiness. The company’s top priority is to protect the health and safety of its people and to guarantee the continuous operation of the National Natural Gas System in Greece. Together with other companies of the energy sector, DESFA also contributed and will continue to contribute to the medical supplies need of the Greek Health Care System.
Below a summary of all the activities that have been implemented and planned so far.
- On February 24th, 2020, a day before the first case of Covid-19 was officially reported in Greece, an Emergency Response Team (ERT) was created, composed of senior management members under the leadership of the Chief Executive Officer, with the aim to follow and assess all relevant developments on the topic, cooperate closely with all competent authorities, raise awareness among employees and stakeholders, and ensure business continuity by implementing appropriate measures.
- Since March 6th, 2020 DESFA is participating, together with the other Greek energy infrastructure companies, in the Coordination Group formed by the Minister of Energy, whose aim is to monitor the application of the Public Authorities’ guidelines and providing a framework for the coordinated efforts to minimize the spread of the infection.
Protection and Safety of people and infrastructures
- Since March 10th, additional measures have been applied to guarantee the Operation and Maintenance of the National Natural Gas System and ensure continuity such as: modification of the shift program -only 2 out of the 3 shifts activated- of the Natural Gas Control and Dispatching Centers in Patima and the Control Room at the Revithoussa LNG Terminal; transfer of personnel only with one car per person, avoiding car sharing and buses; technicians reaching directly from their home to the plants to carry out maintenance activities, avoiding any gathering at the maintenance centers; maintenance schedule of the National Natural Gas Transmission System implemented as scheduled with no interaction with the offices, while reducing non critical activities.
- From March 16th DESFA started remote working for the majority of our employees; only a small number of the critical personnel remains at the offices, which follow a rotation principle and avoid any interaction; almost 95% of the employees are currently working from home.
- Travels in Greece and abroad were banned, as well as visits to plants and offices by personnel and third parties;
- Access to all DESFA facilities is strictly controlled with clear instructions on meal deliveries, couriers, parcel, and technical equipment delivery, using dedicated "contactless delivery" points outside the buildings.
- The LNG Terminal in Revithoussa and the Dispatching Centres in Patima and Nea Messimvria continue their normal activity, operating at maximum security standards and following strict protocols of hygiene, segregation, and traceability.
- DESFA has made safe all control rooms, plants, and local offices with adequate precautionary measures and remote management systems to ensure the country's normal operation and security of natural gas supply. Physical presence has been reduced to the bare minimum with all necessary protection in place (masks, gloves, special suits) as per official guidelines and protocols.
- Fever screening at entry points of all personnel entering all DESFA premises across the country.
Welfare, Engagement and Training
- Trainings had been performed by the Company Doctors early on, with hygiene advice in particular and on creating general awareness on COVID-19.
- DESFA regularly communicates internally through emails and SMS; a dedicated DESFA hotline has been set up for clarifications and instructions for handling ill-suspected cases of COVID-19, as well as DESFA medical support lines with specialized doctors and health professionals on a 24-hour basis. Pocket-sized cards with the above hotlines were distributed to employees (1135 of the EODY and the above-mentioned telephone lines), so as everyone could have the relevant information with them at all times.
- A platform was set up to send bulk SMS texts to all personnel and communicate important messages.
- A health application was developed, the “WeCareDaily”, accessible by mobile phones, for all employees to interact with the company and to notify, on a daily basis, their health status. The application will be further expanded for other communication purposes.
The company started preparing for remote working at an early stage by applying the Business Continuity Model. From a technological point of view, the IT department ensured that all operating systems work through remote access. Almost 100% of the workforce is now telecommuting, taking advantage of the VPN (Virtual Private Network) that was already in place by the company. In total, 380 new laptops and 55 new mobile devices have been ordered, configured, and distributed to personnel, thus enabling connectivity and business continuity at all levels. A huge effort was done at the very beginning of the preparation, before entering into the home working mode, to avoid any physical bottleneck requiring the direct intervention of personnel in the offices, including but not limited to, paperless procedure and electronic invoicing and payments.
- DESFA donated €200K for purchasing more than 166.500 protective and surgical masks, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, to be distributed to hospitals across Greece, joining its forces with other three major Greek companies in the national battle against the Coronavirus emergency.
- Other ways of supporting the community are currently being evaluated and will be deployed in the few coming weeks.
March 31st, 2020