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Port of Vancouver. Credit: flickr/Edna Winti
Enacting pandemic restrictions at a busy port authority is no small feat, and at Canada’s largest port, the Port of Vancouver, these changes were significant. With more than 300 employees and contractors working from the port authority’s office at Canada Place in Vancouver, compliance with physical distancing restrictions required substantial changes.
“We made a company-wide leap to remote working virtually overnight, with only operational staff remaining on-site throughout the pandemic,” says the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Christine Eriksen, RI.
The logistics were considerable.
“From technology and security needs to the mental wellness of our employees, there were a lot of moving pieces to manage during a time full of immense uncertainty,” says Eriksen. “However, thanks to the swift action of our executive leadership and the dedication of our internal teams, we were able to adapt to this new normal quickly, without compromising the quality of our work or the level of service we provide to our external customers.”
The port authority established a COVID-19 task force early on, responsible for evaluating issues, finding solutions, and communicating with staff. This approach helped to keep all staff in the loop, no matter where they were working from, and also maintained connections. “Clear communication, both internally and externally, was key to this success—particularly during the early days,” says Eriksen.
Though it has been challenging, the port authority has seen positives outcomes resulting from its adaptation to pandemic measures in the workplace.
“It has pushed us to innovate and re-evaluate the ways we do our jobs,” explains Eriksen. “For us at the port authority, the surprising success of remote working, both in terms of productivity and the positive impact on the work-life balance of some employees, has led to the creation of a new flexible work program.”
|Download Fall 2021|
Read more about port authority operations at Port of Vancouver in “Managing Trade, Growth, and COVID-19 at Canada’s Largest Port” in the Fall 2021 edition of Input. Download Fall 2021
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