Yext’s mission is to help every business everywhere be Answers-ready including providing mission-critical facts to their customers and employees about COVID-19 and the coronavirus.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, Yext has made protecting the health and well-being of employees the highest company priority. With the progression of the disease and as new information about COVID-19 has developed, it has been necessary for Yext to update guidance to employees and to customers.
This post is intended to put employee guidance in one publicly available document. Because every employee situation is different, everyone at Yext is relied on to take every necessary precaution to limit the risk of exposure and transmission.
Employees Who Feel Sick
It is imperative that employees experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms — having a fever, cough, or are experiencing difficulty breathing — stay at home if they feel unwell. It is also important for employees to seek medical attention and call in advance, as local medical authorities will have information to help direct those with symptoms to the right health facility and help prevent the spread of viruses. If employees are experiencing symptoms, they should:
- Follow the requirement to self-quarantine (below)
- Avoid close contact with others
- Cover mouth and nose with a tissue while coughing or sneezing, then dispose the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
Protection and Prevention
Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person to others: i) through the air by coughing and sneezing, ii) through close personal contact such as touching or shaking hands, and iii) through touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching the mouth, nose or eyes before washing hands.
There is currently no vaccine available to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, however, the risk of infection can be reduced by:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least twenty seconds
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.
Self-quarantine means remaining at home and limiting exposure to others, including not entering a Yext facility or attending an offsite meeting with other Yext employees or customers.
Self-quarantine is required for any employee who:
- Has traveled to a high risk area such as China, Korea, Italy or other regions with high incidence of coronavirus
- Is experiencing signs of illness
- Has been exposed to someone showing cold-like symptoms
- Shares a household with someone whose travel or activities have placed them at a high risk of exposure.
Working from Home
Through the end of March 2020, employees are strongly encouraged to work from home to minimize the risk of exposure and transmission. It is expected that employees whose jobs entail keeping Yext systems operational will be in the office as needed during this period.
Yext offices remain open primarily for maintaining business-critical operations. Many employees will be impacted by travel suspensions, working from home, or self-quarantine.
- Visitors to Yext Offices – Visits by those outside the company to Yext offices should be postponed and work accomplished through phone or videoconference
- Essential Services – The Yext Workplace Team will continue to maintain its level of office services and support, however, employees should anticipate that there could be unavoidable impacts from supplier disruptions or contractor availability
- Enhanced Services – The Workplace Team has deployed hand sanitizers in the office, and arranged for enhanced office cleaning.
Commuting To/From Yext Offices
Given Yext office presence in large urban areas with mass transit as the primary means of commuting, until further notice, Yext employees can, when required to be present in the office, choose an alternative mode of commuting such as using a taxi or other similar cost car service that reduces the risk of the transmission of the virus.
Eligible reimbursement is the actual and reasonable commuting cost up to US$30.00 per origination to destination trip, up to two trips per day and expensed with required documentation and approval per the Yext T&E Policy (note that under the T&E Policy, the use of Uber is restricted to Uber X or a comparable lower cost alternative).
Caring for Dependents
Several countries and regions have closed schools so being present at home to care for and oversee dependent children while working is required.
Internal meetings will continue to be held, however, the requirement to attend internal meetings in-person is suspended. All internal meetings are to be enabled with phone and video conference; offsite meetings should be suspended until further notice.
Meetings with Prospects and Customers
Employees on the Revenue Team should work with their manager on determining in which circumstances customer meetings are essential. Customer meetings that can be enabled through videoconference are strongly encouraged. Revenue employees should coordinate with their contacts, as it is very likely that prospective customer organization policies will restrict in-person meetings with outside visitors.
Yext-Sponsored Customer and Partner Conferences and Events
The Revenue Marketing team has and will continue to provide company-wide updates on each planned upcoming conference and event.
Customer-Sponsored Conferences, Events and Speaking Engagements
Representing Yext at customer events is important to facilitate ongoing operations, however, most of these events have been or are likely to be cancelled or suspended. If an event is not cancelled, employees should work with their manager to determine whether an event meets the definition of “business critical” travel.
Travel Guidance and Restrictions
While guidance to Yext employees is focused on business travel, employees should reduce or eliminate travel generally in order to lessen the risk of contracting or spreading disease.
All non-essential business travel is suspended until further notice. Examples of “non-essential” includes travel:
- To attend internal meetings in-person
- That does not involve providing support to a customer
- That does not involve keeping Yext systems and infrastructure operating (for both customers and employees)
- That does not involve keeping Yext programs and services undisrupted (e.g. payroll, health and welfare benefits).
Because of the geographically concentrated nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, Yext travel guidelines are necessarily general in nature. More restrictive local guidelines for those impacted must be monitored and followed.
Country Travel Bans
For Yext employees based in China and Italy, international work travel is banned until further notice. Travel within the country should be based on local guidance including areas to be avoided.
For all other Yext employees, travel to, from, and within Mainland China, South Korea, Iran or Italy is banned until further notice. Employees who have recently traveled (whether work or personal travel) to the above countries are required to observe the fourteen day self-quarantine.
Business Critical Travel
Travel that is necessary for continued business operations and/or damage to the company is likely if travel does not take place, is considered “business critical.” Employees should discuss with managers whether travel is business critical and every reasonable alternative to travel should be used to postpone travel.
Changes to Travel Bookings
Whenever possible, employees should seek to receive full or partial credit for or otherwise re-book travel for a future date. Change fees and penalties incurred as a result of travel bans or suspensions will be considered allowable expenses under the Yext T&E Policy.
Further Guidance and Updates
The Yext COVID-19 Task Force has been in place since the week of 17 February 2020, and will continue to meet daily to monitor information from scientific organizations and government sources, and to review policies being implemented and shared by other companies and organizations. Yext employees will be given resources and information as it becomes available, and can access support at any time through their HR Business Partner or by contacting the HR Operations team through this link: https://yexthr.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/requests/new?ticket_form_id=360002330294