COVID-19 COMMUNICATIONS

 

CHESCOBUS Passengers Must Wear Masks

May 6, 2020: ATTENTION: PASSENGERS MUST WEAR MASKS ON THE BUSES AT ALL TIMES (In keeping with the Governor’s “Universal Masking” requirements.) Thank you for your cooperation.

 

Regional Rail Service Frequency Will increase to Hourly Service Beginning Monday, June 29

With most of the region preparing to enter the Green Phase of reopening this weekend, SEPTA will increase service frequency on Regional Rail and restore service to all Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line and Trolley stations.  These service enhancements are being implemented as part of SEPTA’s phased return-to-service plan.

 

SEPTA’s measured approach to restoring service -- beginning with the resumption of normal transit service on May 17th -- has allowed SEPTA to add capacity in response to the region’s changing travel needs while preparing for eventual increases in ridership.  Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, SEPTA service has been driven by employee and customer safety.  As travel restrictions are lifted, and more customers return to SEPTA’s buses, trains and trolleys, our return-to-service plan remains focused on those same priorities.

 

REGIONAL RAIL FREQUENCY INCREASES TO HOURLY SERVICE

Beginning on Monday, June 29, Regional Rail will increase to hourly service on most lines, with Paoli/Thorndale and the Airport Line operating every 30 minutes throughout the day.  The Chestnut Hill West Line will remain suspended to accommodate track and right-of-way improvements, and service on the Cynwyd Line will also remain suspended until further notice. 

 

Following are links to the new Regional Rail Schedules.  Detailed service information is always available on SEPTA’s website at http://septa.org/covid-19/service-information.html and customers are encouraged to download and update the Official SEPTA App which is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.

 

Schedules --

Airport -- 1/2 Hour Service

Trenton

Chestnut Hill East

Warminster

Fox Chase

West Trenton

Lansdale/Doylestown

Wilmington -- No Service to Newark

Manayunk/Norristown

Glenside Combined

Media/Elwyn

*Chestnut Hill West -- Suspended

Paoli/Thorndale -- 1/2 Hour Service

*Cynwyd -- Suspended

 

* Customers who normally travel lines that are suspended are encouraged to visit the Regional Rail Alternate Service page -- http://www.septa.org/stations/rail/stations.shtml -- for travel options to and from Center City.

 

Fares --

Regional Rail Conductors are not accepting on-board cash fares.  Customers will have several options to pay for their fare using SEPTA Key, including:

  • Monthly and Weekly TrailPasses loaded onto a Key Card

  • QuickTrips purchased at outlying Regional Rail Ticket Offices.  Please visit  http://www4.septa.org/service/rail/outlying-stations.html for a list of outlying stations opening on June 29

  • QuickTrips purchased from SEPTA Key kiosks in Center City Regional Rail Stations or Sales Offices

 

Safety Reminder --

With these services returning for the first time in two months, SEPTA is reminding all customers, as well as pedestrians and motorists who use walkways and roads that cross the tracks, to be aware that trains will be operating on these lines and with greater frequency.

 

REOPENING OF MARKET-FRANKFORD LINE, BROAD STREET LINE, TROLLEY STATIONS

Also, on Sunday, June 28, all Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line and Trolley Stations will reopen to passenger service, except for 5th Street / Independence Hall on the Market-Frankford Line and Susquehanna-Dauphin on the Broad Street Line, which will be closed for construction into July.  Select transit stations have been closed since early April to allow cleaning crews to concentrate their efforts at open stations.  Prior to passenger use, SEPTA crews are cleaning and sanitizing each station in preparation for reopening.

 

CUSTOMER AND EMPLOYEE HEALTH & SAFETY

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), SEPTA has implemented Authority-wide cleaning and sanitizing protocols.

 

With Regional Rail service frequency increasing and transit returning to near-full capacity, we wanted to highlight some of the many health and safety measures SEPTA is taking to provide a clean and welcoming travel experience, including:

 

  • Requiring customers to wear a face covering on all SEPTA vehicles and at stations and bus loops

  • Sanitizing every vehicle at least twice a day

  • Creating a dedicated high-touch wipe down team for enhanced frequency of disinfecting wipe downs of high-touch surfaces on vehicles and stations

  • Reallocating resources to work around the clock cleaning, disinfecting, and overnight power washing at all open stations

  • Installation of protective shields for operators across the transit fleet.  Operators on all SEPTA modes are protected by shields or work in enclosed cabs separate from customers.

  • Establishing rider limits on buses, trolleys and the Norristown High Speed Line

  • Continuing distribution of masks and face coverings, gloves and hand sanitizer to operators and other frontline employees

  • Maximizing opportunities for contactless payment with SEPTA Key to reduce the use of cash for fare payment

 

How to Create a Successful Work From Home Space

March 2020  |  Cathy Colson | Pure Visibility  

Hello fellow telecommuters! Whether you’re newly-minted or an old pro at this, there are definitely more of us today than a few weeks ago. 

If you’re facing this for the first time, you may feel a bit disconnected or distracted, and if you’re used to WFH (working from home/work from home) from time to time, you may wonder if you can make it for the long haul. It will take some adjustment, but the good news is there are technical support systems available for remote collaboration that simply weren’t around even 10 years ago. We have the resources to make this work! In this post we are sharing our best tips and strategies to help you and your team make the adjustment to WFH and keep business running smoothly.

9 Working from Home Tips

  1. Get up at the same time everyday.

  2. Get ready for the day as normal.

  3. Set regular hours (and stick to them).

  4. Create a buffer between “work” and “home.”

  5. Dedicate a work zone in your home.

  6. Limit distractions.

  7. Take frequent breaks.

  8. Talk to people!

  9. Don’t take work “home” with you.

7 Effective Ways to Work From Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

March, 2020 | Lexie Sachs | Good Housekeeping Institute

As more and more companies implement work-from-home policies due to the spread of COVID-19, employees are now tasked with trying to be just as productive without their normal resources and routines. While working from home sounds like a luxury in theory, it's certainly no vacation and being productive is easier said than done.

Every job is different and the amount you're able to achieve will vary between career types, employers, and internal policies, but there are some key strategies to working from home when it comes to getting your tasks done efficiently (not to mention, staying sane and healthy while doing so!). Here are the best tips to working from home according to people who have successfully worked remotely for years and from our own Good Housekeeping editors and product experts who are working from home amid the coronavirus outbreak.

1. Stick with your routine

Just because you're not commuting and going into an office doesn't mean you should skip your weekday morning preparations. Wake up at your normal time, shower, and get dressed in real clothes (not pajamas!). It may sound trivial, but this helps you mentally prepare for the day ahead and get into the "I'm going to work" mindset.

It's also helpful to keep a set schedule. If you typical work nine-to-five hours, keep doing it at home. It's easy to lose track of time and if you can't stick to a typical work-life balance, you may find yourself getting easily burnt out.

2. Create a work space

Although it's tempting to stay in bed or head to your sofa, those who successfully work from home agree that you're best off setting up a station. If you don't have a desk, use your dining room table. Besides making you feel like you're at an "office," this helps you maintian good posture, avoid distractions, and leave your work behind at the end of the day.

3. ...but don't just sit there

Sitting all day isn't healthy even if you're at the office, but working from home means you skip your commute and have fewer reasons to get up from your chair throughout the day. You can invest in a standing desk if you prefer to work on your feet, but otherwise make sure to stand up regularly to stretch or move around.

If you've gained an extra hour or two from not commuting, it's a good opportunity to exercise, either by working out at home or going for a walk outside. A lunchtime walk can also help you feel like you're not stuck inside all day.

4. Get some fresh air

Since experts advise to limit contact with people who may be sick and many companies are urging employees to stay home, you're likely going to spend a lot of time indoors. Open your windows to let in as much natural daylight and fresh air as possible, and take short walks if you live in an unpopulated area — and be sure to wash your hands as soon as you return home.

 How to Wash Your Hands Correctly

5. Stay connected with your colleagues

If you work on a team, make sure to check in regularly just like you would in the office. Create to-do lists to keep yourself organized and focused, and share the status of your lists with your supervisor so they know you're on top of your work. Besides email and messaging programs like Slack, it's a good idea to set up regular check-ins via phone or video conferencing like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom.

6. Fight the urge to multitask

This may seem like a convenient time to catch up on chores around the house, but it's easier than you'd expect to get distracted. Carolyn Forté, the Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute's Cleaning Lab, says now's not the time to straighten up or start a load of laundry. "There’s nothing wrong with taking a little break, but don’t let chores distract you from being productive. You wouldn’t be doing them if you were at work," Forté advises.

The same goes for other at-home distractions. If you meal prep or pack snacks ahead of time for the office, do the same at home so you don't get preoccupied in the kitchen. Chances are you don't watch TV at work either, so try not to leave it on, even if it's just background noise.

7. If you have kids, prepare for disruptions

It's difficult enough to get work done if you have children at home, but even harder with younger kids like babies and toddlers. Still, it's not impossible if you have plan ahead and have some flexibility. Here are tips from real parents who are mastering the work-from-home challenge:

  • Get help, if you can. It might not be the best choice for your family with the social distancing advisory, but if you have someone that can help out (e.g. a family member that can stay isolated with you), you'll be able to get the most amount of work done. If you co-parent, take turns between watching the kids and working. When you're working, hide in a separate room so your kids don't know you're there.

  • Mix up your hours. If your job allows for it – especially with companies being more lenient around COVID-19 – try to squeeze in work when your baby or toddler is asleep, like early morning, nap times, and at night. It's not ideal, but you'll be more productive if you have quiet time to yourself.

  • Explain the situation. It's a good idea to talk to your kids about coronavirus, especially older ones who can better understand the impact it'll have on your day-to-day life.

  • Try new activities. Fun toys and games that kids haven't played with before will keep them entertained longer. Time-consuming projects, like crafts, stickers, puzzles, and legos, are sure to buy you some time.

20 Tips on Working From Home

March, 2020 | Jill Duffy | PCMag.com

 

The global spread of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, is keeping people at home. Major conferences, including Mobile World Congress and Google I/O have been canceled to decrease the risk of infection. Some employers are encouraging or requiring people to work from home for an indeterminate amount of time. If you're new to the work-from-home lifestyle, whether due to coronavirus or because you've managed to find a remote-based job, you'll need to change some of your habits and routines to make working from home a success.

I've worked 100 percent remotely for more than five years, and I have some friends and colleagues who've done it, too. We all face unique challenges, not only because we have different personalities, but also due to our various lifestyles and the type of work we do. Still, many of the core issues we face as remote employees are the same.

Everyone who works remotely has to figure out when to work, where to work, and how to create boundaries between work and personal life. What about office equipment, career development, training opportunities, and building relationships with colleagues? Working remotely, especially when working from home most of the time, means figuring out these issues and others. Here are 20 tips for leading a better and more productive remote-working life, based on my experience and what I've learned from others.

 

1. Maintain Regular Hours

Set a schedule, and stick to it...most of the time. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone else's time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it.

Automatic time-tracking apps, such as RescueTime, let you check in on whether you're sticking to your schedule. They can also help you figure out what times of day you're most productive versus when you slack off. You can use that information to your advantage by reserving your hours of high focus for your most important tasks.

 

2. Create a Morning Routine

Deciding you'll sit down at your desk and start work at a certain time is one thing. Creating a routine that guides you into the chair is another. What in your morning routine indicates you're about to start work? It might be making a cup of coffee. It might be returning home after a jog. It might be getting dressed (wearing pajama pants to work is a perk for some, but a bad strategy for others). A routine can be more powerful than a clock at helping you get started each day.

I say "morning," but not everyone who works from home follows a nine-to-five schedule. Yours might be a "getting started" routine at another time of day.

 

3. Set Ground Rules With the People in Your Space

Set ground rules with other people in your home or who share your space for when you work. If you have children who come home from school while you're still working, they need clear rules about what they can and cannot do during that time. Additionally, just because you're home and can let service people into the house or take care of pets doesn't mean other family members should assume you will always do it. If that's how you choose to divide up the domestic labor, that's fine, but if you simply take it all on by default because you're home, you may feel taken advantage of, and your productivity may suffer.

4. Schedule Breaks

Know your company's policy on break times and take them. If you're self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone. A lunch hour and two 15-minute breaks seems to be the standard for full-time US employees.


5. Take Breaks in Their Entirety

Don't short-change yourself during breaks, especially your lunch hour. You can use an app, such as TimeOut for Mac and Smart Break for Windows, to lock yourself out of your computer for 60 minutes. Or you can just launch a simple clock or timer on the screen when you take a break. If you return to your desk after only 40 minutes, walk away for another 20.

 

6. Leave Home

You don't have to eat out every day, but try to leave your home or work space regularly. The same advice applies to people who work in traditional office settings, too. Leave the building at least once a day. Your body needs to move. Plus, the fresh air and natural light will do you good.

You don't have to go to crowded public spaces to get away from your solo workspace. Take a walk. Weed the garden. You get the picture.

 

7. Don't Hesitate to Ask for What You Need

If you're employed by a company or organization that supports your work-from-home setup, request the equipment you need as soon as you start working from home, or within a day or two when you realize you need something new. It's extremely important to set precedents early that you will ask for what you need to get your job done comfortably, including the right monitor, keyboard, mouse, chair, printer, software, and so forth. Organizations that are accustomed to remote employees often have a budget for home office equipment. Ask what it is and how often it's renewed. It also doesn't hurt to ask whether there's a loan agreement or who will pay for return shipping or disposal of outdated equipment.

If you're working from home unexpectedly due to coronavirus, ask for what you need within reason. You could be working from home for weeks on end and you should be comfortable, but ordering a new office chair and desk might be asking too much. Consider a mouse and keyboard, plus a back-supporting cushion instead.

 

8. Keep a Dedicated Office Space

In an ideal world, remote employees would have not only a dedicated office, but also two computers, one for work and one for personal use. It's more secure for the employer, and it lets you do all your NSFW activities in private. But not everyone has a separate office in their home, and keeping two machines isn't always realistic. Instead, dedicate a desk and some peripherals only for work use. For example, when your laptop is hooked up to the monitor and external keyboard, it's work time. When it's on your lap, that's personal time. You may want to go as far as partitioning your hard drive and creating a separate user account for work.

 

9. Maintain a Separate Phone Number

Set up a phone number that you only use for calls with colleagues and clients. It doesn't have to be a landline, second mobile phone, or even a SIM card. It can be a free VoIP service, such as Google Voice or a Skype number. Similar to some of the other tips, having a separate phone number helps you manage your work-life balance.

 

10. Use a VPN

Use a VPN whenever you're connected to a network that you don't control. That includes Wi-Fi at co-working spaces, cafes, libraries, and airports. Some organizations have their own VPNs that off-site employees need to access certain servers or websites that store information meant only for internal use. In those cases, you'll also need to use a VPN at home. In any case, it's a good idea to get into the habit of leaving your VPN connected as often as possible because it's always safer to have it on than not.


11. Socialize With Colleagues

Loneliness, disconnect, and isolation are common problems in remote work life, especially for extroverts. Companies with a remote work culture usually offer ways to socialize. For example, they might have chat channels where remote employees can talk about common interests, meetups for people in the same region, and in-person retreats. It's important to figure out how much interaction you need to feel connected and included. Even if you're highly introverted and don't like socializing, give a few interactive experiences a try so that you're familiar with them if you ever decide you want them. If you're not at a company with a strong remote culture, you may need to be more proactive about nurturing relationships.

 

12. "Show Up" to Meetings and Be Heard

Certainly, you'll take part in video conferences and conference calls, but it's a good idea to attend optional meetings sometimes, too. Be sure to speak up during the meeting so everyone knows you're on the call. A simple, "Thanks, everyone. Bye!" at the close of a meeting will go a long way toward making your presence known.

 

13. Get Face Time

If your employer is lax about getting you in a room with other employees, ask to have an annual or semi-annual trip in your contract. It could be for annual planning, training, or team building. Or, tack it onto some other business event, such as a yearly fiscal meeting, nearby conference, or office holiday party. Don't wait around for someone to invite you to the office or an event. Be proactive.

For those unexpectedly working from home who are also trying to reduce face-to-face contact, set up a video call with your colleagues or manager once a week to check in.

 

14. Take Sick Days

When you're not well, take the sick time you need. If sick days are part of your compensation package, take the time off that you need. Not taking it is like throwing away money. If you're a freelancer who doesn't have paid sick days, it can be very easy to fall into the opposite time-is-money trap and try to power through illnesses. Keep in mind that sometimes it's best to rest and get better so that you can be your most productive self in the long term.

 

15. Look for Training Opportunities

When you're not in an office with your fellow employees, you might miss out on training and skills development courses that are taught in person. Your company might even forget to add you to its online training courses. It can be tempting to regard this a dodged bullet, but you might be missing out on an opportunity to learn something useful. Speak up and make sure you're included.

In addition to top-down training, you can request online or in-person courses, training, and coaching if you need it. For people who work remotely 100% of the time, look for learning opportunities that are taught at the company's headquarters or your closest office. That way, you get training and face time with colleagues.

16. Overcommunicate

Working remotely requires you to overcommunicate. Tell everyone who needs to know about your schedule and availability often. When you finish a project or important task, say so. Overcommunicating doesn't necessarily mean you have to write a five-paragraph essay to explain your every move, but it does mean repeating yourself. Joke about how you must have mentioned your upcoming vacation six times already, then mention it again.

 

17. Be Positive

I like succinct and clear messages, but I know that the less face time I have with people, the less they know how to interpret my tone in writing. When you work remotely full-time, you must be positive, to the point where it may feel like you're being overly positive. Otherwise, you risk sounding like a jerk. It's unfortunate, but true. So embrace the exclamation point! Find your favorite emoji :D. You're going to need them.


18. Take Advantage of Your Perks

Every week, I bake a loaf of bread. Why? Because I work from home and I can. Plus, I enjoy it. When I worked in an office full-time, I struggled to find the time to pop something into the oven that often. Working remotely comes with unique perks. Take advantage of them. You deserve it.

 

19. Don't Be Too Hard on Yourself

The most successful remote employees have a reputation for being extremely disciplined. After all, it takes serious focus to do any full-time office job from an unconventional space. That said, everyone lets their attention drift sometimes. If you find yourself working one minute and booking flights for your upcoming vacation the next, don't reprimand yourself too harshly. Instead, ask yourself whether people in an office setting do the same thing. If the answer is yes, cut yourself some slack, then get back to work.

 

20. End Your Day With a Routine

Just as you should start your day with a routine, create a habit that signals the close of the workday. It might be a sign off on a business messaging app, an evening dog walk, or a 6 p.m. yoga class. Something as simple as shutting down your computer and turning on a favorite podcast will do. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.

 

Make It Personal

Above all else, figure out what works best for you. Sometimes the answer is apparent, but other times you might need some inspiration from other people who are in the same boat. A supportive community of remote employees does exist, whether you find them in your organization's Slack channel or online through blogs or Twitter.

Best Telework Tips From Around the Country

The Coalition for Smarter Transportation (CoaST) has posted its own resource page on the best telework resources from around the country, from programs that have provided commuter assistance for many years.  These tend to be from communities with robust telework communities, such as Seattle and Washington, DC.  You can find links for materials from these programs at http://www.smartertransportation.org/resources/telework-resources-page/.