I hope that you, your families, friends and colleagues are all safe and well.
Like all businesses, we are responding to the rapidly changing situation of the COVID-19 pandemic with the interests of our staff, our global crowd of skilled contractors and our customers as our primary concerns.
Appen is a people-first business. From day one, concern for the wellbeing of our employees and our 1 million plus remote Crowd workers (both curated and on-demand) – the individuals all over the world who do the data collection and annotation for our customer projects – has been just as important as delivering for our clients. We immensely value our global contractors and proactively created a Crowd Code of Ethics to enshrine remote worker wellbeing into the fabric of our organization and set a precedent for the industry. While we created the Crowd Code of Ethics in 2019, its tenets are more important now than ever before, as more people take up remote work.
So how are we responding to the COVID-19 pandemic? A large majority of our Crowd already works remotely. The most qualified individuals for a given project are selected with care and work from their place of choice, enabled by secure remote workplace processes and platforms. In addition to practicing our Crowd Code of Ethics, we constantly promote work-from-home best practices and regularly communicate with our Crowd on issues of worker safety and wellbeing including the immediate urgency around ensuring everyone is healthy during these times.
Given the current global situation, our communications with our Crowd now include relevant tips for avoiding the virus, such as minimizing travel, responding to government advice, and avoiding large gatherings. We have made provisions to promote social distancing in our secure facilities, where we have significant space made available, so people don’t sit close together, and we have added doctor and nurse support in locations where it is needed. We are working with our customers to transition projects to a work-from-home workforce, where applicable, using secure solutions software.
We are also recommending our full-time employees who usually come into an Appen office to work from home, and we are accommodating the need for flexible hours and/or sick leave.
The Appen team is currently partnering with each of our valued customers to ensure we maintain continuity on their projects. Our team has Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) in place for each of our customers, and we are fully functioning and committed to delivering on customer projects with minimal interruption due to the nature of our crowd being remote.
I hope everyone and their families will stay safe and healthy in these challenging times; we encourage social distancing where local officials deem that to be the best course of action. If we can help in any way or you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or anyone on the team via www.appen.com.