Workplace Policies

Attendance

Centratel is a 24-hour, 7 day-per-week operation and relies on a high level of employee-to-employee support and cooperation. Our success depends on teamwork; when one is absent or tardy, someone else must adjust his or her schedule and assume duties. If an employee is unable to report to work on time for any reason, he or she must notify their supervisor at least three hours before the start of their shift. In the telephone answering service, staffing is scheduled according to expected call traffic. In the event of an unforeseen absence, management must often arrange for a co-worker to work the absentee’s shift which requires as much notice as possible.

It is critical that the Telephone Service Representative arrives at work on time. TSR’s must arrive early enough to check in and then settle into work stations and be ready to enter the call rotation at the precise beginning of the scheduled shift. This means putting lunch away, hanging up coats, making visits to the restroom and all other personal needs before the scheduled shift begins. If you are going to be late, you must contact your supervisor real-time and as early as possible so arrangements can be made for someone to cover. The TSR must never leave their station until the schedule relief TSR arrives. If the relief TSR has not arrived by the end of the shift, the TSR to be relieved must notify the supervisor immediately so that substitute arrangements can be made. Incoming calls will not decrease because a Centratel TSR is tardy or absent!

For administrative job classifications it is also necessary to be “up and running” at the start of the work-shift. Again, if one is going to be late, the supervisor must be contacted one-on-one and as soon as possible. Being late inconveniences co-workers, clients, potential clients, vendors and/or associates.

An employee not at his/her workstation prepared to work at the beginning of a scheduled shift is considered late. An unexcused absence or tardiness will result in an informal warning. A subsequent incident within 30 days will produce a written warning. Informal and written warnings are placed in personnel files. A 3rd incident in 30 days will lead to termination of employment. A chronic pattern of absences or tardiness beyond the stated 30-day period is also cause for concern and can also lead to disciplinary action or employment termination.  

While all employees are expected to be at their workstations prepared to work at the beginning of a scheduled shift, we also realize it’s impractical to expect employees to punch in and out at the exact minute their shifts begin or end. For that reason, the time clock rounds to the next quarter hour when punches are made within 6 minutes before or after the quarter hour. In other words, if a shift begins at 8AM and ends at 5PM punching in between 7:54AM and 8:06AM and punching out between 4:54PM and 5:06PM will still show that you worked from 8AM to 5PM and your total time worked is figured at 8 hours. Overtime is only paid when punches are more than 15 minutes outside of your regular shift schedule, and the total time worked is over 40 hours in a week, and the overtime is approved by your supervisor. Note that punching in more than 6 minutes late will take you to the next quarter hour.

If an employee is absent because of an illness for three or more successive days, and before returning to work, management may request a written doctor’s release stating the employee is able to resume normal work duties.

Computers, the Internet, E-mail and Voice Mail

Centratel property, including computers, electronic mail and voice mail systems, are for conducting company business only. Internet access is provided solely for conducting business related activity. Instant Messaging and Email communications for any reason other than legitimate company business are expressly prohibited.  We take this very seriously. In the past, Centratel has terminated employment for violation of this policy.

Centratel provides one computer in the company break room for use by employees during meal breaks and other break periods.  This computer maybe used by employees for personal use such as web browsing, games and outside communications via Email.

All computer information, voice mail and electronic mail messages are considered company records. Centratel maintains the right and has the ability to enter any of these systems to inspect and review data. Do not assume messages are private and confidential.

Centratel incorporates a very sophisticated IT activity reporting system (this is to be expected, considering the confidential nature of the work we perform for our clients). These reports provide precise details of each internet or internal transaction (web browsing, IM, email, file access, etc) including but not limited to time of transaction, transaction details, individual involved, etc.

Here are the reports that are regularly generated:
Web Sites Visited Most Frequently
Web Sites Where Users are Spending the Most Time
Users Consuming the Most Internet Bandwidth
Users Spending the Most Time Within Applications
Users Sending the Most Email
Applications where Users are Spending Most Time
Users Spending the Most Time Chatting
Users Typing the Most Keystrokes
Users Downloading the Most Files
Users Printing the Most Documents
Users Transferring Files to Removable Media
Users Frequenting Webmail

The electronic mail system may not be used to solicit for commercial ventures, religious or political causes, outside organizations or other non-job related solicitations.

In addition, the electronic mail system is not to be used to send or receive copyrighted materials, trade secrets, proprietary financial information, or similar materials without prior authorization.
Nor should the electronic mail system be used to create offensive or disruptive messages. Among those considered offensive are any messages that contain sexual implications, racial or gender-specific comments, or any other comments that offensively address someone’s age, sexual orientation, religious or political beliefs, national origin or disability.

Displaying, downloading or distributing offensive images or files is contrary to our standards and will not be tolerated. Downloading any software or files without the express permission of the President/CEO is prohibited.

All employees are required to abide by this policy as an on-going condition of employment.

Dress Code

At Centratel, the dress code is “casual professional.” Examples of clothes not considered appropriate are sweat pants, sweatshirts, T-shirts, short-short skirts, faded or “holey” blue jeans, bare midriff outfits, see-through garments or clothes with holes. Dress shorts (linen, and reaching down to just above the knee) are OK in the summertime only. A guideline for men is to wear a shirt with a collar and shoes as opposed to “tennies.” For women, and men, avoid clothes that would be “worn around the house on a Saturday afternoon.” We are a professional office and our casual/professional dress code is built around our organizational aim of “looking as professional as we perform.” It is important to remember that we routinely have clients and vendors in the office. If there is a gray-area decision to make as you prepare for work, consider the upscale choice. If your manager feels your appearance is not acceptable on a given day, he or she will discuss the matter with you one-on-one. “If in doubt, upgrade…”

You are allowed to wear neat looking tennis shoes. The rule of thumb regarding wearing tennis shoes and jeans is to ask, would your tennis shoes look appropriate with slacks or pants? Would your jeans look appropriate with leather shoes?

The Air we Breathe / Smoking

We work in close proximity to each other. It is essential that the employee does not use perfume or cologne or carry a heavy smoke odor (one should especially avoid smoking in his or her car before entering the office either at the beginning of the shift or after breaks). Again, because it is very important: It is essential that perfume not be used and that smoking in one’s car before entering the workplace doesn’t happen. Understand in advance that if you carry an odor your supervisor will discuss it with you: Please don’t be personally offended.

Also, please do not smoke on the balcony just outside the break room. Descend the stairs, please. Do not leave butts behind.

Wash your hands when you come back from taking a break so that it lessens the chance of introducing smoke odor.

In keeping with our intent to provide a safe and healthful environment for our staff and clients, all of Centratel is a smoke-free facility. Smoking is permitted outside during regularly scheduled breaks. Note that it is not OK to take a “smoke break” at other times. Be courteous and clean up after yourself when smoking outdoors. Let’s keep our grounds clean and free of tobacco residue. Keep in mind that nicotine is a drug and is clearly linked to health problems.

Personal Property / Privacy

Use the following guidelines as it pertains to the respect for your co-workers privacy and personal property.

The company is not liable for lost, misplaced or stolen property. Employees should take all precautions necessary to safeguard their personal possessions. Employees should refrain from having their personal mail sent to the company because mail may be automatically opened.

Employee work areas and any other company property are subject to inspections and searches at any time, with or without notice. Desks and office areas are to be kept as net and organized as possible.

  • Never take or use anything within a co-worker’s equipment box, drawer or any other space assigned to them without their permission. This includes the use someone else’s headset, etc.
  • Initial and date every item that you place in the refrigerator. All unlabeled items are subject to disposal when the refrigerator is cleaned out. Do not eat or drink someone else’s food from in the refrigerator. Be respectful. You may be eating their lunch or dinner!
  • Food left on the kitchen table is for everyone unless your initials and date are on it.

Headsets

updated: 10/1/2015 (arf)

A new TSR will be supplied with a new single or double Smith Corona headset.

Repairs and replacement costs are also the responsibility of each TSR.

Drug & Alcohol-Free Workplace

Due to the nature of the service Centratel provides, we maintain a strict, zero-tolerance policy regarding drug and alcohol abuse.

Job offers are contingent on negative drug test results.

For the employee, a first violation will result in immediate job termination.

An employee’s alcohol or drug abuse on or off the job affects the workplace and presents risk to the employee, co-workers, clients and their callers and the very viability of Centratel. It is our goal to maintain a work environment that is absolutely free from the effects of alcohol, illegal drugs, or any other performance impairing substance.

It is company policy to perform random, unannounced drug testing numerous times per year. Sometimes tests will be months apart. Other times, just days or weeks. Sometimes we will test everyone in the company. Other times it will be by department or part of a department. We will also test anyone who we suspect is using illicit drugs or who seems to be under the influence of alcohol.

Reporting for work under the influence (“any detectable level”) of intoxicating liquor or illegal drugs, or the use or possession of a non-prescribed controlled substance by an employee on Centratel property during work hours is strictly prohibited (for the purposes of this policy, “work time” shall include lunch and break periods, whether the employee is on premise or off premise during such periods).

Employees who violate this prohibition will, unquestionably, lose their jobs and the reason for the employment termination will be a matter of record. We are very serious about this issue.

As mentioned above, if Centratel has a reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the employee will be asked to submit to testing. Reasonable suspicion may include (but is not limited to) unusual behavior; physical symptoms (i.e. breath, slurred speech, etc.); poor performance, substantial loss of productivity or attendance problems; or an accident involving property damage or physical injury.

Typically, testing is performed on-site via saliva sample. However, at Centratel’s discretion, testing may initially be performed at an off-site medical laboratory. If an on-site test suggests illegal drug use, a medical laboratory of the company’s choosing will perform additional testing at company expense to verify/negate the initial findings (employee MUST report for this second testing immediately. No exceptions). Failure to consent to initial testing, failure to submit to secondary testing or tampering with a specimen are also grounds for employment termination. 

Expenses

Expense reimbursement must be approved and arranged in advance by your manager. Expenses must be submitted on a Centratel expense form with receipts attached. Travel for non-exempt, hourly employees is compensated according to Oregon state law. Details can be found on the BOLI website, located at http://www.boli.state.or.us/technical/tatrav.html.

Centratel uses a Purchase Order system for expenses over $25.

Harassment-Free Workplace

Centratel is committed to providing a workplace free of harassment. Harassment is contrary to the basic standards of conduct between individuals and is prohibited by federal and state laws and regulations as well as by Centratel.

Harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, conduct of a sexual nature, or conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of race, skin color, sexual orientation, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability. If such conduct interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, it may be considered harassment.

All of us share in the responsibility for a workplace free of harassment and are obliged to report any situation of harassment or suspected harassment. We will always investigate any allegation of harassment. After a prompt and thorough investigation, we will take appropriate corrective action. Any violation of this policy will result in disciplinary measures, up to and including termination of employment.

If you are subjected to, witness, or suspect any violation of this policy, please report the matter immediately to your supervisor, any manager or our CEO. If management doesn’t know a problem exists it will be difficult to cure the problem! We will discuss our investigation procedures with you at the time of your complaint. Appropriate confidentiality will be maintained.

No employee will be discriminated or retaliated against for bringing a question or complaint to our attention.

Kitchen/Break Room & Food

At Centratel we provide a kitchen/break room with coffee pot, coffee, tea, cocoa, creamer and sugar. It is your responsibility to clean out your items from the refrigerator and microwave. Please don’t leave cups or silverware in the sink for someone else to clean up. Eating at workstations* is expressly prohibited (with the exception of graveyard shift personnel.) Covered container drinks not to exceed thirty-two ounces are permitted at workstations and in offices. Please don’t bring sweets into the office for the rest of the staff. It’s okay for special occasions, or of course for your own consumption, but let’s keep the temptations to a minimum and keep treats healthy with low sugar muffins, fruit platters, wraps, etc. This is sedentary work: An extra dose of personal self-discipline coupled with a minimizing of temptation are important for staying healthy.

*Holiday exception: If management has provided food for the holiday (typically Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter and the 4th of July), TSR’s can eat and drink at consoles. There are folding tables for this purpose. Please don’t talk to callers with your mouths full, and be careful with your beverages! For this relaxed policy, certain holidays can be extended, (e.g. The day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve). Once the holiday is over, we return to the strict black-and-white policy of “no food in operations.” 

Regular Breaks and Bathroom Breaks

For each 8 hour shift there are two 10 minute Regular Breaks. Bathroom Breaks are at your own discretion. Here are guidelines built around your needs but also designed to not short-change your co-workers should traffic get busy.

1. Take your breaks only from 15 minutes after the hour to 45 minutes after the hour.
2. Don’t take a break if there are more than 2 waits indicated on your display
3. There are two “Regular Break” fobs, and two “Bathroom Break” fobs hanging on hooks the west wall of operations.
4. If there are two fobs hanging, take one (Regular Break or Restroom Break), leave it on your keypad and take your break! Return your fob to the hook afterwards.
5. If there is only one fob, take the second one to your station and resume taking calls until the first fob appears back on its wall hook. When it does reappear on the hook, leave your fob on your console and take your break (this way only one person at a time is “off the phones. ” Clever, yes?) Return your fob to the hook afterwards.

Idle Chatting

At Centratel, we owners do not ask employees to work long, long hours so it is important that the hours we DO work are maximized for efficiency. It’s natural to want to socialize with each other but that is not the function of this workplace. The focus is on getting the work done. In the course of the day there is plenty of conversation happening just accomplishing the work (TSRs especially, while taking calls!) So we ask that you keep idle conversation to a minimum while you’re working, or with people who are working when you are on a break. (Are we banning personal conversation? Of course not, we’d just like to keep it at a minimal level). Let’s keep our heads down and get our work done, maximizing efficiency. If your supervisor ignores your personal-life banter, or even asks you in a nice way to “stop being so friendly,” it’s not because he or she doesn’t like you, it’s because they have work to do. Trust that Centratel’s owners notice efficiency-gains, and are anxious to share when there is a good bottom line. Here is an Operating Principle from Sam’s book, Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less: “We strive for a social climate that is serious and quiet yet pleasant, serene, light, and friendly. Centratel is a nice place to work.” (BTW, if you would like a copy of Sam’s book, just ask!). Updated 12/10/2012

Office Comportment & Social Climate

We want to offer an office atmosphere that is serene, friendly, happy and calm. At the same time, we are serious about our work and we work hard, avoiding idle chatter with co-workers. Remember that the owners of the company “expect 110% and will, as part of the deal, compensate generously.”

Office Cleanliness and Safety

It is of paramount importance that we keep the entire office spotlessly clean and orderly. Also, it is company policy that Centratel has no hidden “rat’s nests” in closets, under desks, behind consoles, etc. When you are finished with materials and paperwork put them away. Be respectful of the employees around you by keeping your space organized and uncluttered. A workspace in disarray is neither conducive to personal/group efficiency, or a positive reflection on you personally. Do not burn candles in any area of the office. Open flames create a fire hazard and are an insurance violation.

Cell Phones,  Tablets and Reading

Centratel may provide some employees with communications equipment for business and/or personal use. The equipment is the property of Centratel and must be kept in good working condition. In the event that your employment with the company should end, this equipment must be returned in good working order.

If call traffic is slow and all other tasks have been completed such as taking out the trash, dusting, cleaning the stations, etc… and there is zero effect on your response time and performance, you may read a hardcopy book at your console (but no magazines, newspapers, etc.). Your Supervisor may ask you to cease reading if call traffic or other conditions warrant.

For liability reasons, electronic tablets (Kindles, etc.) and personal cell phone use, either voice, texting or internet browsing, or internet browsing on your console, is strictly prohibited in operations. This is a serious matter: The 1st violation will result in either a disciplinary letter or termination of employment, at the Supervisor’s discretion. To avoid the appearance of usage, we ask you to turn your phone off and place it out of sight while at work. Yes, of course you may use your phone on your breaks in the training room or in the break room.  Note that a Supervisor may have his/her phone on as this is an easy form of communication with other Managers outside the office. (updated 7/20/2013)

 

Telephones, Voice Mail & Voice Logging

Personal telephone calls during work hours disrupt operations and distract co-workers. Use company telephones for business purposes only. Although personal calls may be necessary at times, we ask that you limit incoming and outgoing calls during your regular work hours to emergencies. Limit outgoing calls to your breaks or meal periods. This applies to personal cell phones as well as company telephones. If you must make personal calls, make them from the break-room on regularly scheduled breaks or from outside the office during lunch breaks.

You will be provided with an email address. Email is a vital component of our internal communications system. It is important that you check for messages at the beginning of your shift. Use the system to ask questions, respond to questions or to give suggestions.

Centratel routinely records telephone answering service calls for quality assurance purposes during the course of ordinary business. Company owners, management, or designated representatives review recordings for legitimate business purposes, including training and performance evaluation purposes. Understand that calls may be monitored at any time during or after business hours.