The safety and well-being of our employees and their families have been top-of-mind at Silicon Labs as we have tried to navigate through a world of shifting uncertainty carefully. I would like to take a moment to share where Silicon Labs is in the evolution of this new environment, how we got here, and how we are preparing for future phases.
Let me start by saying that in times like these, I feel fortunate to work for a company like Silicon Labs. Back in January, when the pandemic had just starting to hit our Asian offices, our executive team assembled a global COVID-19 Response Team (CRT). The CRT included our COVID Taskforce in Austin, our Global Site Health Leaders (GSHL), and key individuals from our offices around the world. I am honored to lead this team and have had the opportunity to work with great, caring people across our global sites to identify and implement the right measures at the right sites at the right time.
Our Asian sites were the first to experience lockdowns. Our parts support critical and desperately needed communications, infrastructure, and medical products. As such, we were deemed an essential business. Fortunately, most of our global workforce could work effectively from home. However, there were still several key activities that required ongoing access to our facilities and equipment to support our customers and our products, including our testing operations in Singapore. Finding a way to perform these functions while minimizing risk to our employees was crucial. Our team collaborated with the local governments to quickly implement guidelines for on-site operations, including split shifts, limited office staffing, social distancing, temperature checks, face mask requirements, enhanced cleaning procedures, and many other precautionary steps.
These precautions became a model for our other sites as COVID-19 continued to spread across the globe. By sharing our global experiences, specific actions and procedures were defined by the CRT and then tailored for each individual office by site leaders based on local regulations and health conditions.
By the time the pandemic reached Austin, TX where our global headquarters is located, we had had the opportunity to learn extensively from our global experiences. Our Austin HQ is our largest site and consists of two buildings, each with six floors, some of which are occupied by non-Silicon Labs tenants. Our test floor and our labs house specialized equipment that often requires in-person attention. Our IT and administrative offices are the nerve center of our worldwide operations. While the majority of our employees could work from home, we had a small percentage of “essential” workers who needed to be in the office regularly to access and maintain our specialized equipment.
To protect those who need to be in our HQ buildings, we adopted several preventative measures that continue today. We limited access to only a small authorized list of individuals divided into “orange” teams. These teams were each based in restricted access areas. Segregating teams helps mitigate potential contagion concerns by limiting the number of individuals any worker comes into daily contact.
Employees check for symptoms before coming to work, check their temperatures twice a day, wear face masks in all public areas, and practice social distancing. There are temperature check and no-contact material transfer stations on every floor, hand sanitizer stations, cleaning supplies, and disinfectants in all common areas, and visual separation reminders in break areas, conference rooms, and service desks. We have adopted strict cleaning and disinfection standards, have moved workstations, installed clear dividers, and closed gyms, and other common areas. We also have partnered with the Ascension/Seton Hospital System (Seton hospitals, Dell Children’s, and UT Medical School), to conduct audits of our facilities and processes and to give us access to health experts who help guide our decision making.
From the beginning, the Silicon Labs Executive team has been cautious and thoughtful about how and when we return to the office. The GSHL team continues to monitor infection, testing, and hospitalization metrics to ensure our decisions are measured, science-based, and data-driven. As an example, when the metrics in Austin indicated a favorable trend earlier this summer, the Austin Task Force and orange teams leaders evaluated a plan to slowly increase the number of individuals who could access our facilities (Phase II). However, once the rate of cases and hospitalizations began to increase, we quickly made the decision to remain in our essential-personnel-only on-site levels (Phase I).Doing the right thing is one of our core values. We will continue to protect our employees and their families without compromise, and provide a safe environment for the minority of employees who must access our facilities. At the same time, we also support all of our employees working from home. Because of early action and ongoing health and safety protocols, we have had no known transmissions of COVID-19 in the workplace. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure we keep it that way.