24 Mar 2020

Effective 24 March 2020

At Urbis, our highest priority is the health and wellbeing of our people, our clients and our communities.

As the world navigates this unprecedented COVID-19 global pandemic, we are taking an informed approach that is sensible, balanced and respectful of our diverse community.

Our response measures are aligned with the advice provided by the official Australian Government COVID-19 guidelines, World Health Organisation (WHO) and other trusted authorities. Moreover, our team is conducting ongoing and real time reviews to determine if additional measures are needed.

In addition to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our extended community, it is also important to maintain a sense of continuity. Across all offices, we are implementing measures that enable our staff to continue to deliver the high standard of care and competency our clients expect of Urbis. We are still very much open for business

Remote working

Effective Tuesday, 24 March 2020, we’re heightening our healthy workplace and business continuity measures through the introduction of a remote working arrangement for all Urbis staff.

We have taken this decision with the confidence that we will be able to continue to deliver exceptional service to all our clients. We already leverage digital platforms across our practice areas in collaborating with each other, and our clients, and so are well positioned to maintain business as usual. Our people will be permitted to attend essential meetings at client premises, subject to the appropriate measures being taken.

Should any scheduled meetings be affected by remote working, we will seek to reschedule, conduct these virtually, move offsite or hold at your premises, if permissible and convenient

Travel and self-quarantine

All non-essential business air travel is now suspended. Any travel considered essential requires extra internal approval.

Clients, guests, suppliers and contractors

The Australian Government advises that anyone who has recently returned from overseas or has come into direct contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days must isolate themselves (other than to seek medical advice) and should monitor their health for 14 days from the date of departure or contact. We ask that our clients, guests, suppliers and contractors follow this advice to ensure their own safety as well as the safety of our other clients, guests, suppliers and contractors, our people and the public.

For Urbis clients, guests, suppliers and contractors who have travelled from or transited through any international location in the last 14 days, we ask that you advise your preferred Urbis contact and conduct virtual meetings (rather than in person meetings) for 14 days or cancel/defer the meeting.

If you are an organisation with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 and Urbis clients or people may be affected, we ask that you immediately contact your preferred Urbis contact or email businesscontinuity@urbis.com.au directly.

Supporting health and wellbeing practises within Urbis offices

In line with our all-staff remote working arrangement, all Urbis offices will be publicly inaccessible until further notice. 

However, should a situation arise where access to an Urbis office is deemed necessary, all guests will be required to complete a pre-screening health questionnaire specific to their recent travel and health. Participation is mandatory and important to help us take precautionary measures to protect you and everyone in our community. 

Urbis provides hand sanitisers and disinfectants in all offices to promote a healthy workplace, and we encourage everyone to adhere to normal handwashing and hygiene practices. Urbis are also working closely with building management to ensure greater hygiene practises in our offices. This includes the addition of hand sanitisers throughout the building and stricter cleaning routines. 

Events and meetings

Until further notice, all scheduled Urbis hosted client events will be cancelled, rescheduled or delivered in another forum.

Any Urbis meetings or events with clients, guests, suppliers and contractors hosted outside our offices will include the following control:

  • Urbis will confirm with host venues that they have taken reasonably practicable steps, including implementing the recommended Australian Government COVID-19 guidelines to protect our clients, people and guests, so far as they are able.
  • Urbis staff will be unable to attend physical client meetings unless Urbis project director determine them and the proposed physical meeting as business critical. In which case, you will appreciate that Urbis will need to ensure that the appropriate health and wellbeing measures (as outlined above) are in place before the physical meeting can take place.

Urbis business continuity management system

Urbis has in place a business continuity management system to reduce the impact of a pandemic event on client work. This includes a dedicated working group tasked with analysing and implementing fact-based measures in accordance with the official Australian Government COVID-19 guidelines.

Urbis’ business continuity management system aims to ensure:

  • the safety of our people and visitors
  • the continued provision of key client services and operations.

Urbis has mobilised a COVID-19 response team to continually monitor, review and manage our response to the evolving situation. Ongoing reviews by the team, and supporting working groups, include managing the current and potential impacts on our people, office locations, operations and client services.

Due to the geographic spread of our people and offices around Australia, Urbis is very resilient to the impact of a disruption in any single location. 

Client engagement and project continuity

It remains our priority to continue providing clients with our services in accordance with the terms of the set Client Engagement Agreements. Should we encounter any difficulty with satisfying delivery timelines or scheduled meetings, then unless otherwise agreed or communicated, the Urbis project directors (or project managers) will contact clients directly to make alternative arrangements including agreeing extensions.

The Urbis’ billing and payment terms and conditions remain as set out in the applicable terms and conditions governing the engagement. Should you have any issues or concerns relating to our existing payment terms, please contact your Urbis project director (or project manager) immediately.

Be assured that all Urbis’ quality assurance protocols remain in place and we are committed to ensuring the same quality of service and product across all projects.

Data security, confidentiality and privacy

Urbis has established robust IT systems to facilitate its personnel working remotely and to ensure the confidentiality of client data and information is maintained and that personal information is protected. Our IT security includes the adoption of multi-factor authentication and the access to client files using FortiClient, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.  

If you have any questions or need further information about Urbis’ response to COVID-19, please contact us