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An energy CEO considers how to ‘reopen’

April 29, 2020, 12:59 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want to pause mergers and acquisitions, men’s and women’s tennis could come out of the pandemic as a single organization, and an energy CEO explains how she’s tackling the question of reopening. Have a nice Wednesday.  

– An energy CEO considers ‘reopening’. An especially-pressing question these days is how and when to reopen business. It’s being debated at the state and federal level in the U.S., with individuals firms having to contend with resulting the patchwork of policies. One CEO navigating the maze is Duke Energy chief executive Lynn Good, No. 19 on Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women list, who spoke with Fortune‘s Susie Gharib in an interview published Monday.

Good took a stab at the overarching question of reopening, walking Susie through Duke’s approach. It starts—like so many things these days—with a in-house task force, which will evaluate how to bring employees back to their physical workplaces in a manner Good described as “gradual, staggered, deliberate, thoughtful.” Safety of employees, she says, is the guiding principle.

“I see scenarios where we’re staggering hours, we’re staggering days, different states are coming back at different times,” she said. Duke is already employing temperature checks and voluntary coronavirus testing of employees who aren’t working from home—those at power plants, for instance—to give workers “confidence” about their own wellbeing, and she expects those practices to continue, at least in the short term.

Communication too is key. Duke has created videos, podcasts, and open forums to keep employees informed, and it’s gone as far as sending fliers to workers’ homes as a way to share safety information with their households. “We’ve found that family members are also concerned,” she said.

No doubt it’s an unprecedented time for any leader, with no event in modern history providing a blueprint for how to respond. Good says she’s narrowed her focus; it’s two-fold—taking care of customers and taking care of employees. In times of crisis, she says, “priorities become very clear, very quickly.”

You can watch the entire interview here.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe


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