1 May 2020 key update
You told us, we heard you! Keep MBIE informed with the COVID-19 MBIE People Survey 2
The Alert Level 4 disruption to our normal ways of working have been substantial. In order to understand how MBIE people were feeling, the first in a series of COVID-19 MBIE People Surveys was rolled out and almost 3000 people had their say.
While the first survey, just over three weeks ago, showed that around 70 per cent of those who responded were feeling ‘good’ or ‘really good’. MBIE has listened and acted quickly on those recurring themes that were highlighted as issues. Since the initial survey, MBIE’s Senior Leadership Team has implemented the following actions:
- ICT has delivered three VPN upgrades to provide additional remote working capacity for our people. This has now been rolled out to all Windows 7 users. All workers with Citrix/ remote capable devices can now connect at any time.
- MBIE people are now able to request ICT equipment and furniture while working from home.
- A wide range of wellbeing resources, including financial resources, have been published on Te Puna Ora(external link).
- There have been security enhancements to Zoom to make sure MBIE people and information are protected when using this application.
On Monday 4 May, you will be sent a second survey link via email and through Send Word Now (on Te Taura) on your mobile phone (for people who are already registered). Your responses will help MBIE understand whether things have improved for you in the past couple of weeks since the first survey, and what further follow-up action is required in order to ensure you get the right amount of support.
As before, no-one from MBIE will have access to your individual survey responses. Please be assured that confidentiality of the survey responses and demographic profile are taken seriously and your personal information will be managed in accordance with MBIE's Staff Personal Information Standard.
We appreciate your honest feedback, as we Mahi Tahi - by respecting the experiences of others - in quickly changing conditions. This helps MBIE make meaningful and impactful improvements.
The survey closes at midday on Friday 8 May.
Supercharge your lockdown – a toolbox
Te Puna Ora, MBIE’s wellbeing hub, has a new toolbox to help us all deal with the uncertainty and challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 response, as we all try to take care of our own wellbeing and provide support to our colleagues and those in our bubbles. The toolbox focusses on the pillars of Keeping Healthy, Working Remotely, Staying Connected and Managing Anxiety. Please take a look at the variety of content found on Te Puna Ora here(external link).
EAP’s new offering
EAP Services now includes video counselling as an option for receiving support. The advent of COVID-19 has served to fast-track EAP’s efforts to provide a safe and secure medium and process to offer counselling via video.
Using Doxy, all data is encrypted, client sessions are anonymous (i.e. no ‘footprint’ on the device) and no client information is stored persistently. EAP assure us Doxy is so simple and easy to use - no downloads are required and no add-ins need to be installed – simply click on the link! Visit eapservices.co.nz(external link) or Te Puna Ora on how to arrange a booking.
29 April 2020 - Pay restraint in the public sector
Today the State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has published a letter he has sent all Chief Executives of the Public Service and Crown Entities which outlines his expectations of how they should approach pay & remuneration from now until June 2021.
The letter refers to the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of a pay reduction for senior leaders in Government and the Public Service. Cabinet has now agreed that visible pay restraint in the public sector is an appropriate response to the COVID-19 context.
Peter Hughes’ letter says that pay restraint in the Public Service and Crown Entities is the right thing to do in these unprecedented times when many in the private sector are losing their jobs or facing significant pay reductions.
He acknowledges in his letter that these are difficult times and public servants are stepping up to serve New Zealand in the best way they can.
The letter outlines a set of key principles of how Chief Executives should give effect to this approach, highlights those who are impacted, the status of Collective and Individual Employee Agreements plus guidance on any bargaining about to commence. It also includes expectations around remuneration of senior leaders (Tier 2 and 3) and other highly paid staff.
Further guidance will be provided by the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) by the end of next week, once we have further clarity and work what the implications are for the different employee groups across MBIE. This will include a comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions on Te Taura and here on the MBIE People pages.
The implementation of the career progression framework has been delayed and the progression round scheduled for April has also been delayed. This is largely due to the Covid-19 response and we are in the process of revising new timelines.
We are not anticipating returning to ‘normality’ in the immediate future – so will need to work through a number of things as we assess what the medium term impact of COVID-19 is on implementation dates.
If you have any questions or queries, please email the Remuneration and Reward team within People and Culture via Remuneration&Rewardteam@mbie.govt.nz.
29 April 2020 Carolyn's update and other key updates
Staying well, safe and connected under Alert Level 3
Although Anzac Day meant a break for most of us, I’d like to say thank you to our people who were working over the long weekend, including our Service Centre staff, who continued to manage a number of All-of-Government COVID-19 phone lines.
I have been reflecting on a comment by the Prime Minister recently made about Anzac Day. She said, decades ago they came together in the most testing of circumstances half a world away and helped forge who we are today. It was a very different battle than the one we are in now, but the character of who we are as a country remains exactly the same.
We shouldn’t forget this as we continue to respond to COVID-19, across the public sector and as an organisation, whilst planning for our recovery.
Working at Alert Level 3
As we move into Alert Level 3 today, it will look and feel largely the same as our current approach.
MBIE ICT has been working extremely hard to make sure that those of you who can work from home, are able to access the network. Everyone who uses Citrix to access the MBIE network are now able to connect at any time, including during business hours.
For the small number of MBIE people working at our sites, further information and guidance has been issued around the protocols that are in place to keep them and their colleagues safe.
Last Friday, my SLT colleagues and I were delighted to be able to talk to more than 2,800 of you at our two webinars. It was also the first time I had been able to talk directly with such a large number of our offshore Immigration New Zealand teams.
We were joined by MBIE people from our offices in Washington DC, Canberra and Manila. I’m so glad you were able to attend, despite the various time differences.
These webinars were a way for us to address some of the issues that were raised in the recent pulse survey and I want to thank the 70 of you who sent us questions prior to the webinars.
While we may not have answered every single one, we hope we got to the main themes and you feel much better placed on where we are at as an organisation.
We’ve held some webinars for people leaders recently too. We still need to do some more refining to make sure we get the balance right, to allow for information sharing while still ensuring people can ask their questions live, as some of you have told us that’s what you’d prefer.
We will also continue to do some further short pulse surveys, to help us stay across the issues and concerns that are affecting you. We have heard you and we will continue to listen.
Unprecedented times for New Zealand
Those of you who attended on Friday might also have been as surprised as I was to learn there were zero arrivals in New Zealand last Wednesday. For context, under normal circumstances there are several thousand arrivals in the country each day.
This was the first zero day in New Zealand since the 1800s, which I think is a real example of how extraordinary this situation is, and how we at MBIE have had to be agile in our work.
A thank you from the State Services Commissioner
This agility and contribution to the public service is reflected in the open letter(external link) State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes has sent to all public servants and I want to again echo his sentiments.
He expresses his pride at the way the public sector responds in uncertain times and goes the extra mile. He states unequivocally that you have all done a tremendous job.
I am immensely proud of how we have operated as a Ministry, but also as individuals supporting one another.
People have been checking in on colleagues who live alone, offering support to people working long hours and thinking of new and innovative ways to stay connected.
The month of Ramadan
I also want to acknowledge our MBIE Muslim community who are adjusting to a very different Ramadan this year, who are also having to think of new and innovative ways to stay connected – kia kaha.
Staying safe and well
Before I finish, I’d like to encourage you to take a couple of minutes out of your day to look at some of the great resources and podcasts that have been developed, to ensure your health and wellbeing remains a priority, even if you just pick up one small tip, it’s well worth it.
The NZ Police has kindly shared a video(external link) they’d worked on with Nigel Latta for MBIE people to watch, and John Kirwan’s new app Mentemia has recently been launched. And of course Te Puna Ora is available to everyone, which has a wealth of resources for you.
Stay safe and keep looking after yourselves and your whanau.
Process for retrieving laptops left on-site
At Alert Level 3, the MBIE Incident Management Team (IMT) is able to facilitate a process to retrieve laptops left on-site.
Please provide the following information to your people leader: office building address, floor number, pod and desk numbers (if known), contact phone number, and a physical delivery address. Other personal belongings may not be retrieved at this stage.
MBIE people who are working on-site under Alert Level 3 must not take ICT equipment or office furniture home for themselves or for their colleagues who are working remotely.
Requesting ICT equipment and furniture
You may now request ICT equipment and furniture to comfortably work from home. You can request ICT equipment through ICT self-service and furniture through the COVID-19 furniture request form found on Te Taura.
Due to limited supply, requests must only be made if you have a specific need and meet the criteria. More information is available on Te Taura.
Please keep in mind that requests will be sent to your People Leader for approval, however this does not guarantee your request will be accepted. If you are working at an MBIE site more than one day a week and require Working from Home equipment then you must seek GM approval prior to making a request. MBIE IMT will make the final decision on requests.
ICT guidance for Remote Connection
ICT can confirm that all essential workers and BAU staff with remote capable devices can connect remotely at any time, using their usual method such as:
- Windows 8/10 laptops which use Direct Access
- Windows 7 laptops using VPN
- Citrix either from a personal device or from a work device
ICT have completed a number of upgrades to Citrix and VPN and are happy that they are performing well. If you experience any issues connecting, or using any applications, please check your home WiFi first and if problems persist contact the MBIE Service Desk.
24 April key update
Thank you from the State Services Commissioner
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes, has issued a letter of thanks to public servants, in light of the tremendous amount of work that has been done over the past four weeks during the Alert Level 4 lockdown.
Peter Hughes has acknowledged that public servants have been at the forefront of the Covid-19 response effort, one of the biggest challenges New Zealand has ever faced.
He says, “You have done a tremendous job. Right across the system you have shown how much you care, how you are willing to help and how much initiative and determination you have.”
Peter Hughes says, “It is in times of crisis when the spirit of service that unites you as public servants comes to the fore. Your commitment and leadership in these last few weeks have been the embodiment of that spirit of service.”
MBIE’s guidance for transitioning to Alert Level 3
New Zealand is transitioning to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday 28 April. What does this look like for MBIE?
A move to Alert Level 3 looks and feel largely the same as MBIE’s current arrangements. This means that the majority of us will continue to work from home, and MBIE will continue to support us in doing this.
Business Groups are beginning to move to a more normalised work pattern, a 5-day working week. MBIE people that have been identified as required to be working on-site have now been contacted. The MBIE IMT will work with Business Group IMTs and Business Group Directors, to further identify people who will need physical access to MBIE premises.
In order for MBIE to meet its obligations to operate safely, protocols for building and floor access, physical distancing and additional cleaning apply.
The overarching rules under Alert Level 3 for all New Zealanders can be can be found on the Covid19.govt.nz website(external link).
Update on Citrix for people working remotely
MBIE people working from home using Citrix can now connect to the MBIE network at any time, including between 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday.
ICT troubleshooting and calling Service Desk
If you are having problems logging in, please see the ICT guide available on Te Taura before you call the MBIE ICT Service Desk. The guide has fixes to known issues, so ensure you check there in the first instance.
To further avoid waiting times, the Service Desk now has a call back feature on their phone service. This allows MBIE people to log a call and request a call back, rather than waiting on the phone. The call back option is offered when in the queue.
21 April 2020 key update
Moving to Alert Level 3 and what it means for MBIE
The Prime Minister has announced New Zealand will move to Alert Level 3 from Tuesday 28 April.
Staying at Alert Level 4 for another week gives New Zealand and our economy the best opportunity to recover. By maintaining lockdown, we continue to protect our taonga and minimise the risk of having to return to lockdown in the future.
The following information sets out how we are preparing for Alert Level 3.
For us at MBIE, a move to Alert Level 3 will look and feel largely the same as our current approach, on the basis that limiting our interactions with others is still our best defence against COVID-19 and keeping people safe. This means the majority of us will continue to work from home. There is ongoing work to enhance support for remote working and we will update you on this in the coming days.
Access to MBIE premises under Alert Level 3 will only be permitted for those whose work cannot be done at home and where we can accommodate people safely. Please visit Te Taura for information on this criteria, and what will be done to ensure those in our offices are safe.
The MBIE Enterprise Incident Management Team (IMT) will work with group IMTs and Business Group Directors as appropriate over the coming days to identify who will need physical access to MBIE premises. Only those who have received written approval will be allowed to enter the premises.
Please do not enter your site to pick up equipment or belongings. This poses significant risks around travel and breaches the bubbles of anyone already working in that office.
Check the wealth of tools available on Te Puna Ora(external link) that suit different people and personalities and don’t forget to look at some of the great sites that provide advice and support, like the Mental Health Foundation website(external link) or Ministry of Health Mental Health Support(external link) page.
You can call EAP on 0800 327 669 or use the Online Booking Form, through Te Puna Ora(external link).
You can still access EAP services while practicing social distancing. If you wish to talk to someone, EAP provide telephone counselling.
If your need is more acute, EAP also provides a higher range of services, such as access to a clinical psychologist. You can discuss this with EAP or, if you prefer, in a confidential conversation with the Wellbeing, Health and Safety team.
Alternatively, if you are having feelings of isolation or loneliness, you can find tips on how to combat those feelings at Loneliness NZ(external link).
Celebrate the Values via Signal
We know how you and your teams our living our Values in these challenging times. To help you appreciate your team’s efforts and stay connected, we have developed Values stickers. These are now available on Signal as a sticker pack.
Download the stickers and send them to your team. To use the stickers, your team will need to click on the stickers and press install.
There are a few different versions of stickers available for you to use. To download open these links on your phone:
Share your story with our MBIE whānau
To ensure our MBIE People feel connected, we invite anyone who is willing to share their COVID-19 experience. This is a great way of keeping our people in the loop of what our Ministry is doing to support New Zealanders during this time.
Want to share your story with your MBIE colleagues? Simply answer the questions below and send them to MBIE.PIM@mbie.govt.nz with a landscape photo of yourself. If there are others in the photo, please ensure they are happy to have their image displayed on Te Taura.
- Who is in your lockdown bubble?
- What is your usual role at MBIE?
- What are you doing now?
- How are you keeping in contact with your team and friends and family?
- What are the challenges you face? (this could be where childcare or keeping boredom at bay might be what people choose to add into their response)
- What advice would you offer to others?
- What are you grateful for?
MBIE's current vacancies are available on the MBIE jobs site(external link). Please note, this is for MBIE employees only and is not to be shared with external people, friends or family.
18 April 2020 key update
MBIE People korero
This unprecedented time has given us an opportunity to find new ways to come together, through different tools and apps to connect. On Friday, nearly 500 People Leaders joined Carolyn Tremain and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), in two separate sessions, for the first People Leader Webinars using Zoom.
Following the success of the Zoom webinars, two MBIE people korero webinars are being scheduled for 10am and 1pm on Friday 24 April 2020, and you are all invited to attend one of these sessions.
This is an opportunity for Carolyn and SLT to provide you with an update on what’s been happening, and what’s being planned for the upcoming weeks. It is also a chance for you to influence the discussion, by submitting questions, concerns or success stories in advance. Please send these to the MBIE Public Information Management (PIM) team via MBIE.PIM@mbie.govt.nz by 12 noon, Tuesday 21 April 2020.
You will be receiving a calendar invitation from Carolyn please accept one of the times, and decline the other.
Carolyn and SLT look forward to the opportunity to connect with you all and get an understanding of what you want to hear about most.
Thank you for completing the Covid-19 MBIE People Survey - 2798 of you gave us your feedback.
Almost 70% of you are feeling 'good' or 'really good' about the way MBIE has supported you throughout the Covid-19 response.
Network issues, equipment and connectivity were identified as the primary concerns that MBIE people are facing. This is valuable feedback as we prioritise our resources, time and effort over the coming weeks.
From a wellbeing perspective, a recurring theme has been working hours that differ to the normal and combining this work with carer duties. It is okay to feel and be less productive, and MBIE understands this.
There is a real sense of people wanting to stay connected through communications, especially by the Senior Leadership Team. Key topics of interest include what post-Covid-19 looks like for MBIE people and for MBIE, as well as the work that MBIE is contributing toward the wider government Covid-19 response.
We are paying close attention to the direction of the government, any change in alert levels, and what this may mean for the workplace. We are planning a series of webinars to stay connected, minimise uncertainty, and ensure MBIE people have an opportunity to ask questions.
Finally, we have received a lot of feedback that MBIE is doing a great job and that you were proud of the contribution MBIE was making amid the Covid-19 response. We appreciate your honest and open feedback, as we Mahi Tahi in quickly changing conditions.
17 April 2020 - Influenza vaccination programme 2020
When New Zealand moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 4, we had to make changes to MBIE’s influenza vaccination programme, however the programme will go ahead.
16 April 2020 key update
Additional guidance on record management
The current remote working scenario has increased the use of instant communication tools such as text messages, Signal and phone or video calls to conduct business. This creates some unique challenges to fulfil our recordkeeping obligations under the Public Records Act.
The ICT guide on working remotely has been updated with advice on best practice information and records management when using these tools. The updated ‘A guide to staying connected remotely’ is available on Te Taura.
Staying on top of news about essential services and supply chain workers
Do you need to keep track of stories about essential services and supply chain workers in your role?
Two new Isentia Media Alerts have been created for MBIE staff:
- Covid-19 Essential Services
- Covid-19 Supply Chain
These alerts send a daily digest of media items that relate to these topics. There’s also a general ‘Covid-19 Coronavirus’ alert for all COVID-19 coverage.
You can sign up for these alerts by searching ‘Covid-19’ on the Journals and Alerts page on Te Taura, or by emailing your request directly to LibraryOnline.
Week 4 of lockdown is probably our toughest yet as ‘we are coming round the bend but still can’t see the finish line’, as the Prime Minister recently put it. Uncertainty is mentally draining so with so much beyond our control try to focus on what you can control.
Connecting with people around us, family, friends, colleagues and neighbours, is good for us. We do need to keep our distance but we don’t need to be distant, so use maybe it’s an opportunity to learn about new applications or ways to keep in touch, and do add a bit of fun as we can all do with a bit of lightness.
You can call or text 1737 to speak with trained counsellors, it’s free and confidential, or you can contact EAP on 0800 327 669 or use the Online Booking Form, through Te Puna Ora.
Connecting with nature can alleviate anxiety, improve our mood and revitalise cognitive function as well as reducing blood pressure. Make the most of whatever outdoor space you can access locally. Gardening can be a mindful activity, it’s a hopeful act.
The government is working to support the economy, however many will find themselves in changed financial circumstances. Financial stress can cause considerable hardship.
Banks are encouraging customers to get in touch to discuss your changed circumstances, as you may be eligible for additional support. Banks are willing to make things work for you and help deal with financial stress. You could also talk to a financial expert, through Te Puna Ora, MBIE’s wellbeing hub or use the budgeting tool.
Challenges we face
Some of us may not be as busy while working from home as we would like. We appreciate this is challenging and at times frustrating. It’s understood that for some it’s not as easy to work from home, and that’s ok.
Some will have children at home so we appreciate that you can’t be as productive as you would working in the office, and that’s fine. Do what you can.
Others will be missing their work set up, however it’s not possible to pop into the office to collect equipment or furniture as it poses risks of breaching bubbles of those essential workers who have to work in the office. Remember it is temporary, so please be patient. It’s understood you may not be as productive and that’s ok too. Do remember to take breaks frequently through the day.
Mahi Tahi to Pae Kahurangi
By staying in your bubble you are playing your part in breaking the chain of transmission and stopping the spread of COVID-19. If we maintain the discipline to remain in our bubble, we will save lives and speed up the return to more normal living.
14 April 2020 key update
Be kind and look after yourself
The status quo is being challenged now for everyone. For many of us, these new challenges and the loss of our regular routines is causing stress. All emotions are normal.
Remember staying at home is an action in itself and you are helping New Zealand contain the spread of COVID-19 and saving lives.
It’s okay to reach out your colleagues and people leaders if you need to - we all need a bit of support from time-to-time. Call or text 1737 to speak with a trained counsellor anytime - it’s free and completely confidential. You can also call Lifeline on 0800 543354 or text HELP to 4357. Check out Mental Health Foundation’s website(external link) if you'd like some further advice on how to stay mentally well during this time.
We have an important role to play now and an even more important role in the recovery which will follow. There will be a lot of work to be done to support New Zealand’s economy to get back up and running. We appreciate all you and your teams are doing to keep New Zealand safe.
Remember to remain off-site if you are changing rosters
As we work through our response, some of you may be assigned to the COVID-19 incident response and essential services teams on new rosters. If you are changing rosters, you must remain off-site for 14 days before commencing on the new roster. You cannot go from one roster or location to the other immediately as it poses a high health risk and breaches existing bubbles.
More information is available in our FAQs available on Te Taura (see question 10 in the COVID-19 Frequeently Asked Questions document).
Commit to maintaining trust and confidence during our response
While we are currently working remotely, it’s important to note that our internal MBIE policies still apply and are part of keeping our people and organisation safe.
Handling of personal information in our care is key to retaining and building trust and confidence to enable us to build our future. Let’s hold ourselves and each other to account and ensure our work is protected. Importantly, this helps us ensure we maintain the trust and confidence of New Zealanders in MBIE’s integrity.
For a full list of MBIE's internal policies, see the Policy Library on Te Taura.
Here are some quick tips to keep in mind:
- The MBIE Code of Conduct and all other internal policies such as Privacy, ICT Acceptable Use, Declarations of Interest and Sensitive expenditure still apply whether we work on site or from home.
- Remember to treat information with care and use and disclose it only for its intended purposes.
- Declare your conflict of interests and manage conflicts.
- Take care when sending emails, particularly when using the auto-complete function in Outlook. It’s a good idea to double-check that you’re clicking on the correct recipient, and if you’re intending to send an email to a team, make sure you’re not accidentally sending it to a similar-sounding distribution list of individuals instead.
- Exercise judgement when interacting on your personal social media accounts. Do not make any comment on MBIE’s behalf on social media channels or when speaking to the media.
- When accessing MBIE information outside work, it’s good to consider the following:
- Make sure you keep MBIE information safe at all times, and don’t leave it unattended.
- Beware of reading sensitive documents in places where people can read over your shoulder.
- Don’t send work documents or other information to any personal email address.
- Remember to classify your documents(external link) and emails as appropriate
Share your working-at-home tips
For many of us our homes may be our new workplace. We know some of you have nailed the working from home, balancing other priorities hat. Let’s mahi tahi and share our knowledge.
For this quarter's Te Puna Ora competition, we want to hear your tips on how you are getting work done while living in the same space with others. There is a $50 Visa gift card up for grabs for the best entries.
One entry per person. Competition closes 15 May 2020. For more information please visit, Te Puna Ora(external link).
Be curious and explore new ideas
Grab the opportunity to take up some new learning that relates to your role or personal development goals. Learn@MBIE and our partner site Percipio has a wealth of resources for you to pick up a skill or two.
Here are some integrity related courses for you to get started
- Guide to Privacy
- Understanding Declarations of Interest
As part of MBIE’s Covid-19 response, Finance has activated its Business Continuity Plan. This has resulted in several changes.
Invoices in FMIS
Invoices will continue to be centrally coded by the Finance Support team and approved by your business groups’ Finance Business Partner Manager. We ask that you do not go into FMIS to approve invoices.
Please ensure that invoices continue to be sent to MBIE invoices for input into the system. If you have any concerns about the processing of a specific invoice, please discuss this with your Finance Business Partner manager.
If you have any specific requests for the coding, please email Finance Support. It is important to note that Finance Support are dealing with a high volume of invoices and are working hard to process these.
Not all requests will be able to be actioned but these transactions can be reviewed and amended once we return to BAU.
Purchase cards and expense claims
We encourage you to action all Flexi Purchase claims via the mobile app.
Where these claims cannot be actioned through the mobile app then purchase cards and expense claims can continue to be coded centrally by Finance. They will also be approved by your business groups’ Finance Business Partner Manager.
If your role has changed since the initiation of MBIE’s Business Contingency Plan, please ensure you have the appropriate Financial Delegation to approve this expenditure.
Please continue to ensure that all expenditure is in line with the Payments Policy and Sensitive Expenditure Policy.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Finance Support.
Arrangements over Easter
If you have worked Good Friday or are rostered on for Easter Monday, it’s important a timesheet is completed and returned to MyHR by 5pm on Wednesday 22 April.
Overtime, Time off In Lieu and Penal claims relating to the COVID-19 response can be made, dating back to Monday 9 March, provided you have kept a record of your hours worked supported by your People Leader.
More information about working over Easter, and the bulk timesheet, is in the 8 April 2020 update.
Entering your building
We’ve had some requests to pop into the office over Easter to pick up IT equipment or workstation furniture to be able to better work from home.
Please do not enter your site if you have not been asked to by your People Leader. This poses significant risks around travel and breaches the bubbles of anyone already working in that office.
This is a temporary situation and we are asking our people to be patient and work with what they have and to manage their health and safety through frequent breaks and exercise.
If you have a significant operational or health and safety need and cannot manage without, please discuss this with your People Leader. You are able to log a request with MBIE.Operations@mbie.govt.nz for consideration if required.
9 April 2020 - Carolyn's update and other key updates
MBIE’s ‘new normal’ work amid response to COVID-19
I hope everyone is well and adjusting to your new way of working. This situation has raised an opportunity for us to come together like never before and we are being bold and brave in finding new ways to connect. I know many of you are keeping in touch with your teams through virtual forums and I and SLT are keen to follow the trend. On Wednesday I hosted a webinar with our ELT, and we are working through the technology to open this up to everyone across MBIE. I look forward to rolling this out to a wider audience and connecting with more of you.
The last two weeks have seen us focus on our immediate response to COVID-19. We’ve had people across the business working long hours and on a roster system as we responded to the crisis. We’re now developing plans to return to a “new normal” approach and roster. From next Tuesday, SLT will commence its new normal, with a return to its regular series of weekly meetings but with an agenda also focussed on the recovery phase.
Now, as well as starting to return to our new normal roster, we’re turning our attention to medium and long term planning. As an economic agency, we have teams of people thinking about how we support New Zealand and the New Zealand Government transition from crisis to recovery.
While the shape and short-term success of our immediate work may change, our focus is on coming out the other side in as strong a position as possible. What’s involved in the recovery and beyond may mean doing things differently to ways we’ve done things in the past. We have a group of people working through different scenarios and thinking about how we set ourselves up for whatever the new normal looks like.
During this time of rapid change, we would like to understand how we can best support you, our taonga, in our ongoing communications and collective effort to put your wellbeing first during these unusual and challenging times. We want you to help us understand your current environment so we can better support you immediately and in the future. Look out for more communications on this shortly.
I want to continue expressing my thanks to everyone as we support the Government’s COVID-19 response. We are all playing an important role, and will have an equally important role in helping plan and support the recovery to help get New Zealand’s economy back up and running.
The Prime Minister announced that the Easter Bunny is an essential service, and I hope you will all get a chance to have a rest and spend time with your family or those in your bubble over the coming Easter break.
The general principle for expenses incurred by employees during COVID-19 is that employees should not be out of pocket but neither should they profit or take advantage of this situation.
Any claims for reimbursement of expenditure during this time should, as usual; align to our Sensitive Expenditure Policy, be actual and reasonable, be pre-approved, and supported by the production of receipts.
No expense claims or requests for ICT/office accessories should be made during this time for use while working remotely.
If you have a staff member who is undertaking a critical function and has specific health and safety equipment needs (identified through a workstation assessment), please contact MBIE Operations. Requests will be appropriately addressed, subject to availability.
Borrowing IT or workstation equipment for home
Working from home is a temporary situation and we are asking you all to remain patient and work with what you have, and manage your health and safety through frequent breaks and exercise.
Popping into the office to pick up IT equipment or workstation furniture poses a significant risk around travel and breaching the bubbles of anyone already working in your office as an essential worker.
If your operational or health and safety need is significant and you cannot manage without, please this with your manager. You are able to log a request with MBIE Operations for consideration if required.
Remember to report so we can support
A reminder for our existing contact centre teams and those new to contact centre work (helping with the COVID-19 response),in order to support our people dealing with abusive calls we need to know each time they receive such calls. This can be done through the Event Reporting Tool found as an App on your MBIE mobile or on your desktop. By using 'Form 6 – Threatening Communication' the Wellbeing, Health and Safety team can make sure the support is directed in the correct way, as well as provide accurate reporting to inform the relevant DCEs.
Setting an out of office
With teams across MBIE implementing different rosters or doing different roles, it’s important to ensure your colleagues know when you are rostered ‘off’ or if there is someone else they should contact.
To set up an automatic reply via Outlook click ‘File’ then ‘Automatic reply (out of office)’. Alternatively, you can use your MBIE mobile device to set up an automatic reply while you’re on the go. Go onto your settings and select ‘Passwords and Accounts’ then ‘MBIE ActiveSync’ to create your automatic reply.
Stay connected and check-in
We appreciate it’s a difficult time, as we deal with these unprecedented times at work and at home. Checking-in on each other is important now more than ever. Send a text, set up a Zoom meeting, a group chat on Signal and keep in touch.
To make this more exciting, we also have some Values Stickers that you can use to appreciate your colleagues and cheer for your team that is living values every single day. Save the stickers on your phone and use them in your next chat.
Declaring interests and managing any conflicts
As we work to respond to COVID-19, it’s natural that possible conflicts of interest may arise. We want to keep you and MBIE safe, and to do this, our Declarations of Interest Policy and Procedures continue to apply. If you think you have a real or perceived conflict of interest in the work you are doing at the moment, declare it in the normal way in our online Declarations of Interest Register and we can work together to ensure we have agreed plans in place to manage this. Please speak to your People Leader if you are not able to access the policy and procedure via Te Taura.
If for some reason you can’t access the Register, let your People Leader know.
MBIE’s flu vaccination programme
MBIE's field staff still currently working in the field, such as Border colleagues, are considered a priority for the flu vaccination programme as "frontline workers". These workers may access the vaccination now as a priority. Please direct them to their health provider or local pharmacy whether they can deliver the vaccination to you, and MBIE will reimburse the cost of the vaccination. See Te Taura for more information.
To claim back the vaccine the Finance team need the following information:
If you/they are already set up in FlexiPurchase:
- A photo or scanned copy of your vaccine receipt
Please note that if you have the FlexiPurchase app on your phone already, you are able to claim your vaccine through the app. If you get stuck, just send us the receipt and we will claim it for you.
If you are not set up in FlexiPurchase:
- A screenshot/image of your bank account number and account name, or a bank deposit slip
- Your cost centre number if you know it (or just state what branch you are in)
- A photo or scanned copy of your vaccine receipt
Email any of the above to Finance Support. They will process the claim on your behalf. Please allow 5-10 working days for your request to be processed as we are reliant on network availability to process it.
If you're not sure if you have access or not, please contact Finance Support and they can confirm this for you.
Getting Through Together – Whāia E Tātou Te Pae Tawhiti
A joint campaign with the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand and Community and Public Health, 'Getting Through Together', shares tips and messaging designed to help Kiwis cope better and get through COVID-19.
It focuses on providing people with the tools they need to be able to manage their worries, look after their mental health and connect with loved ones, despite operating from their own bubbles. It includes wellbeing tips for managers who are leading teams through the pandemic, and advice for parents with school children at home. It’s been developed by Kiwis who are living this right alongside us.
Information for MBIE people working over Easter
If you are working over Easter, there's some important information you need to know in relation to your pay and benefits.
Regardless of whether you are on the PSA Collective Agreement or the 2014 Individual Employment Agreement, if you are on salary band 19 or lower, you are entitled to double time and an alternative paid holiday for working a rostered shift on either Good Friday or Easter Monday. MBIE Managers (salary band 20 and above) are entitled to time and a half and an alternative paid holiday for these days.
In order to be paid your correct entitlement, you will need to submit a timesheet for the time worked on the public holiday. This is available below or via Te Taura(external link).
The timesheet should then be submitted through the myHR portal(external link) using the "timesheets" portal form. If the portal is unavailable, you should ask your manager to email the completed form to myHR@mbie.govt.nz.
This timesheet must be submitted by 5pm on Wednesday 22 April in order to be paid in the next pay run on Wednesday 29 April. Please note though that based on current prioritisation of the work in payroll during COVID-19, there could be a delay for timesheets to be entered and processed.
MBIE people who have been working on COVID-19 are able to make Overtime, Time Off In Lieu and Penal claims dating back to Monday 9 March, provided you have kept a record of your hours worked and is supported by your manager.
4 April 2020 key update
As ‘Zoom’ is a publically available platform, we each need to think about how we keep our information safe. We’ve developed some safe practices below to consider:
- Do not discuss or share Sensitive or Restricted content using ‘Zoom’
- Follow good practices to keep meetings secure:
- Don’t share public links; instead generate a random meeting ID and include in the meeting invite to only the required people
- Use meeting passwords and send the password separately from the meeting invite i.e. send the meeting invite information via email and the password via text message
- Limit reuse of access codes
- Use a ‘waiting room’ to control who can join
- Disable file transfer
- Remind your meeting participants to remove sensitive content from their screen before they share
- Only accept or share content that you are expecting
- Only allow remote control of your screen sharing session by known participants you specifically invited
- Turn off other ‘listening devices’ that may be in the room such as Alexa, Bixby etc.
- Be aware of ‘Zoom Bombing’ - follow the good practice tips above and find out more via Zoom blog(external link)
- Learn about Zoom via Zoom Help Center to ensure you’re not caught out
Find out more about working remotely:
If you are having connection problems while working remotely, it may be due to your home connection. We’ve included below some common resolutions and advice to consider before contacting the Service Desk:
- What's the status of your Internet Service Provider's (ISP) service? See below for ISP service outage notifications. If there is a network outage in your ISP the Service Desk will not be able to resolve this and you need to wait until the issue is resolved.
- Could you stop other activity in the house and try again? E.g. is someone streaming HD video or playing games impacting your capability to connect to the Datacom remote access service? If possible, stop this activity and try again.
- How many devices are connected to the WiFi at the moment including phones, game consoles, and smart devices? Usually the routers and devices that internet providers support only a limited number of connections, generally 16. Check how many devices you have connected.
- Are you using a WiFi repeater? If yes, test the connection from the primary WiFi SSID.
- Do you have the same issue when tethered from the phone on mobile internet?
- Do other apps work on your phone connected to the same network?
Your internet provider usually has information online with information on how to set up and troubleshoot your home connection. Please visit your internet provider’s website for additional information and troubleshooting advice.
MBIE ICT continues to monitor this fluid situation and further ICT guidance will be provided as and when it is required.
More information on how to stay secure while working remotely, is available on the CERT website.
MBIE BAU teams with Windows 10 or Windows 8 devices can now log in at any time, including during the hours of 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday.
MBIE BAU teams with Windows 7 devices can login using Citrix or Big-Edge IP outside the hours of 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday and upload or download documents or emails then log off and work offline.
MBIE essential workers or those rostered to work onto the COVID-19 response can log in at any time.
2 April 2020 key update
ICT guidance for BAU teams
MBIE BAU teams with Windows 10 or Windows 8 devices can now log in at any time, including during the hours of 8 am and 5 pm Monday to Friday.
MBIE BAU teams with Windows 7 devices can login using Citrix or Big-Edge IP outside the hours of 8 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and upload or download documents or emails then logoff and work offline.
MBIE essential workers can log in at any time. MBIE ICT continues to monitor this fluid situation.
The working from home information has also been updated.
31 March 2020 key updates
ICT update: remote access for BAU teams
At this time we are prioritising network space for the COVID-19 Incident Response and Essential Services teams. MBIE BAU teams working remotely should not log in by any method during core business hours (8am – 5pm) until they have been advised otherwise. You can log in outside of these core hours and upload or download your documents or emails and then log off and work offline.
MBIE ICT guide to working remotely
MBIE ICT has created a go-to guide providing key information and guidance to support individuals and teams who are working remotely. The guide includes details of new tools that have been made available to help MBIE people stay connected during our response to COVID-19, in addition to providing guidance on how to access the MBIE network using a range of devices.
If you do not currently have access to Te Taura, you can request the guide from your People Leader.
Staying connected during our COVID-19 response
As we settle into our new way of working, connecting with others is more important than ever. Staying in touch can help to make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious.
MBIE’s Staying connected kete offers advice around how to set up your new work space and find alternative ways to communicate during our Covid-19 response, in addition to some helpful tips from the Mental Health Foundation.
If you do not currently have access to Te Taura, you can request the guide from your People Leader.
What to do if you are diagnosed with COVID-19
As we see COVID-19 new or suspected cases increase we must unite and work together to make sure we manage the risk to our people.
If you are informed of a positive test, follow the instructions provided by your health professional and let your People Leader know.
People Leaders have been given guidance on the steps to follow in cases where members of their team are being tested.
Influenza vaccination programme 2020
With New Zealand currently at COVID-19 Alert Level 4, we have had to make changes to MBIE’s influenza vaccination programme, and the adjusted arrangements need to remain flexible as we adapt to the current situation.
Frontline workers, i.e. MBIE’s Field staff who are still working in the field, are considered a priority for the flu vaccination programme. These workers may access the vaccination prior to 13 April 2020. Discuss with your health provider or local pharmacy whether they can deliver the vaccination to you early. MBIE will reimburse you for the cost of the vaccination. Ministry of Health will confirm details soon.
Anyone who is vulnerable (Over 65, pregnant or who have a pre-existing condition such as diabetes or heart disease) is also considered to be a priority and should contact their local pharmacist or GP to arrange a vaccination when it is available. MBIE will reimburse the cost of the vaccination.
The flu vaccination doesn’t prevent COVID-19, however improving the population’s protection against the flu will improve the ability to manage the increased demand on health services as a result of COVID-19. While we are ‘in our bubble’ the risks of catching the common flu is reduced.
Ministry of Health is encouraging us to register for the flu tracking survey to help their surveillance efforts, by providing early detection of community spread of the flu and also of COVID-19 symptoms.
27 March 2020 navigating our way through Alert Level 4
New Zealand is in alert level 4 of the COVD-19 Alert level system. This can be an unsettling time as people adjust to a new way of working and adapt to measures put in place by the Government.
Your wellbeing remains our priority and we’re sharing some tips and tools you can use to help keep you and your whanau safe over the coming four weeks as we all do our bit to stop the spread, break the chain and save lives.
MBIE ICT have created a new guide to staying connected when working remotely. This includes details of the new tools that have been made available to help MBIE people stay connected during our response to COVID-19. This guide is available on Te Taura and has also been distributed to MBIE leaders. Please contact your People Leader if you are not able to access the guide via Te Taura.
At this time we are prioritising network space for the COVID-19 Incident Response and Essential Services teams. MBIE BAU teams working from home should not log in by any method during core business hours (8am – 5pm) until they have been advised otherwise. You can log in outside of these core hours and upload or download your documents or emails and then log off and work offline.
Getting settled into our new way of working
The last few days have required us to look at new ways of working as we implement physical distancing. This has placed us in a different work environment and we understand that all the changes may be unsettling.
Connecting with others helps make us feel safer, less stressed and less anxious. When we are physically distant, it’s really important to stay connected and check in on each other.
Here are some quick tips to get to you started:
- Make sure you have regular catch-ups with your team members through video calls or by phone. Don’t forget to check-in and see how what you have put in place is working for your team.
- Connect and collaborate – Check out ICT’s new guide to see what tools your team can use to stay connected. Video call and instant messaging apps can be downloaded on MBIE or personal devices. Make sure you separate your work and social conversation threads so that your team members aren’t overwhelmed with messages.
- Be Māia and acknowledge that it might be hard for your colleagues to navigate through all the changes. Enquire about their wellbeing and create the space for them to share their concerns, whether it’s work or home related.
- Celebrate success - Set simple challenges for each other to achieve and celebrate every milestone. Using Values shout-cards is great way to show how we live our Values and help others feel valued (available via the MBIE network).(external link)
For more tips and guidance, visit Te Puna Ora(external link) - MBIE’s wellbeing hub.
Looking after yourself when working from home
Our Health and Safety team have created a Working from home checklist to help you identify and minimise risks
Please continue to report any wellbeing concerns or incidents so we can work together to find alternatives. You can use Zambion, found on your desktop or on the app on your MBIE device, to report any incidents. If you are unable to access the app, you can also email the Wellbeing, health and Safety team on firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, your concerns and requests will be treated in confidence.
Planning your journeys
The Government is advising people to stay at home unless they need to make essential journeys and to keep those to an absolute minimum. The following tips may be helpful when planning an essential journey and help reduce stress.
- Make a list of the items you need. This avoids having to make additional trips and enables an efficient shop, minimising the amount of time spent in public.
- Coordinate with others. What does your family need? If you live in shared accommodation check the needs of all in the home to reduce the number of trips away from the address.
- Plan your route there and back, know what stops you need to make and keep them to a bare minimum.
- If there is space available, park a reasonable distance apart from other vehicles. Remember to keep the recommended 2 meter distance away from other people if possible.
- If available use hand sanitiser and follow all recommended personal safety guidelines.
- If you only need a few essential items consider purchasing them from quieter, smaller retail outlets with less customer traffic i.e. dairy or fruit and vegetable stores. One stop shopping for items such as milk or basic goods could also be made at the same time as refuelling a vehicle. The idea is to reduce the need to visit multiple locations.
- Think laterally, be aware of alternatives before making your trip. If you feel uncomfortable due to the presence of large crowds/queues at your intended destination, have an alternative outlet in mind that might not be as busy.
Please contact MBIE.PIM@mbie.govt.nz if you have any questions or ideas for information that will be useful to you and your colleagues.
26 March 2020 update for MBIE people
Guidance on childcare arrangements for essential workers.
Essential workers will need to use their existing networks for in home care, for example a neighbor, relative, friend or current carer/nanny who can come to their house, or provide childcare in their own home.
There are Public Health rules you need to comply with:
- the person providing care of your children of essentially become an extension of your self-isolating household group
- this group must remain the same for the whole 4-week period
- the carer should not care for children from other households (other than their own) over the same period
- if a child or carer becomes unwell, they must stay at home.
If you are unable to access childcare to perform your essential service, the government has agreed that it will fund other licensed childcare providers (for example through PORSE, Barnados and Edubase / Home Grown Kids) to provide in home care to the children aged 0-14 of essential workers. The carer would be subject to the same Public Health rules as set out above.
For the purposes of providing care to children of essential workers, the in-home carer will be classified as an essential worker.
List of contact details for providers
Edubase / Home Grown Kids
0508 44 54 37
0800 023 456
More information is available on the COVID-19 website(external link).
23 March 2020 update for MBIE people
The Prime Minister has today announced New Zealand is moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – Restrict for 48 hours, then we will move to Alert Level 4 – Eliminate nationwide, for a period of four weeks.
Moving to Alert Level 4, reducing our contact between people by staying at home, with school and business closures, we can slow the spread. Reducing contact is important as New Zealand works to reduce the spread and protect our people and communities.
Some of the measures that have been implemented are:
- Supermarkets, Doctors, Pharmacies, service stations, essential banking services will be available throughout NZ at all alert levels. Shop normally, there is enough for all.
- Non-essential businesses in NZ must close, including restaurants, cafes, bars, libraries, playgrounds etc. including takeaway services.
- All indoor and outdoor events will not proceed.
- People must work from home, limiting contact with others.
- Schools close from Tuesday, except for the children of essential workers such as medical workers and police. Schools close entirely from midnight on Wednesday.
- Travel will also change, including for public transport which will be limited for essential services only.
Last week we announced a new way of working, and your People Leaders will have advised you which teams you are in.
From Monday, 23 March 2020 all those working on business as usual work will need to stay at home until further notice. No BAU work will take place on site.
COVID-19 Incident response and essential services staff
COVID-19 Incident Response Teams and team who provide essential services and support functions still rostered to work will continue to do so, with additional physical distancing, and hygiene precautions in place. Where possible, these teams will also work from home.
ICT Access – Guidance for all MBIE people
At this time we are reserving network space for the incident team and essential services. MBIE BAU teams working from home are reminded not to use remote access services unless you have been given express approval.
If you are in an Incident Response Team or Essential Service and are working on site, please make sure you take your laptop home at the end of each day.
EAP had already made a precautionary decision to transition all existing in-person EAP sessions to Telephone sessions in order to mitigate the risk of infection. All EAP sessions from 07.30am Monday 23 March will be delivered via Telephone. EAP will be contacting all our people who have existing In-person appointments with them to advise of this but they do stress they are very much open for business and willing to take your call.
Remember that Te Puna Ora(external link), MBIE’s wellbeing hub, is available to you even if you can’t log in from an MBIE device, if you have already registered. There is a wealth of resources and information available, and we also provide regular updates on the home page.
We will continue to update Te Taura(external link) (available via the MBIE network) with the latest updates and also on this site for those of you who can’t access online services.
The Prime Minister said this is our opportunity to reduce the spread, a time where we can all play our part to protect our people, whanau and communities. Be kind, support each other and stick together.
22 March 2020 update for MBIE people
On Saturday 21 March, the Prime Minister announced a 4 level COVID-19 alert system for New Zealand. You can find details of the alert system and other useful information around the response at covid19.govt.nz(external link)
The Prime Minister also announced that New Zealand is entering level two of the four-level alert system, which has been put in place to guide our actions as a country as we navigate our COVID-19 response.
Moving to level two means that the disease is contained, but the risks of community transmission are growing. New Zealanders over 70 years and those with certain medical conditions are encouraged to stay at home as much as they can to reduce risk of contact with the virus. If you think you fall into these categories and you feel the measures that we have put in place on Friday to reduce person-to-person contact at MBIE are not sufficient, please discuss this with your manager in the first instance.
As we are in level 2, employers are being asked to start alternative ways of working if possible e.g remote working, shift-based working and physical distance. This is consistent with MBIE’s decision announced on Friday for our new ways of working including the split shift system for our business as usual teams. If you are rostered to be at home, you must not come into work, or go to other MBIE sites or shared offices. This helps reduce the risk of the virus being spread between the two teams.
At this point in time, we are not aware of public transport being impacted under the requirement to limit non-essential domestic travel. If you use public transport to get to work, and services are impacted at some point in the future, please talk with your manager about working from home.
Until we advise otherwise, MBIE people will not be able to travel by air domestically for work purposes unless it is absolutely essential. Your DCE will need to approve all critical domestic travel.
To note, the Prime Minister has confirmed that schools will stay open unless there is a confirmed case.
The level of COVID-19 alert will be reviewed daily by the Government, and could change quickly. We will provide further advice as to how MBIE will respond to a Level 3 or Level 4 alert level. However at this stage, if we move to an Alert level 3 – all MBIE BAU teams will work from home - that is no BAU will take place on site. COVID-9 Incident Response and Essential Services Teams will continue to operate on a roster, with additional physical distancing in place.
As this event unfolds, it is very likely that we will see cases of COVID-19 in MBIE people or their families. We have been notified that a non-MBIE public servant in an Auckland shared office space - has tested positive for COVID-19. All staff in that office have been notified. The person and their managers have taken all of the appropriate measures and placed themselves in self-isolation as soon as they had signs of any symptoms. All staff in this office have been notified. The relevant public health authorities are involved and managing the contact tracing process and working with the staff member's close contacts.