This post was last updated on August 12, 2020.
As the spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19 continues to affect lives all over the world, Grammarly remains committed to supporting the health, safety, and well-being of our team members and their families. We are also working to minimize any contribution to the spread of the virus and to take proactive measures in support of our communities. In the spirit of transparency and awareness, we want to share some information about these ongoing efforts as we continue to serve Grammarly’s users around the world.
We have shared several resources with our team across North America and in Ukraine to support access to reliable, up-to-date information about COVID-19 and its spread. Here are a few helpful resources we’ve circulated:
- CDC Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
- Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE
- CDC Travel Health Notices
- World Health Organization Travel Guidelines
- Ministry of Healthcare of Ukraine
- Government of Ukraine: FAQ about COVID-19
Supporting our team’s health and safety while minimizing risk
Grammarly has offices in San Francisco, New York City, Vancouver, and Kyiv, where we are following the below precautions. These measures are provisional and may change as new data and guidance emerge.
1 We’ve asked team members in all offices—San Francisco, New York City, Vancouver, and Kyiv—to work from home
All team members at Grammarly have the option to work remotely at least until August 2, 2021. And while we prefer team members to minimize risks by working from their homes, we are now providing office access for those in Vancouver and Kyiv who have expressed overwhelming need. This office space is available for individual use only, not for team use. (We will not be providing access to offices in San Francisco or New York City at this time.)
We are offering office space with an abundance of caution—team safety has been and continues to be our highest priority—and may need to end all access if there are further outbreaks, additional governmental regulations, or other developments. We have communicated to the team that the offices are functioning very differently, with added health and safety protocols in place. Team members are required to wear masks, practice social distancing, and limit conference room use, along with other measures. All interviews and events are still being conducted remotely.
For the sake of transparency and clarity, here is how our temporary work-from-home policy has evolved: Our initial precautionary measure was to ask all San Francisco, New York City, and Vancouver team members to work from home from Monday, March 9, to Friday, March 20. On March 11, we made the decision to ask our Kyiv team to work from home until March 20 as well. A few days later, we extended this period through April 3 for all locations. On March 24, we updated the projected end date to May 1. On April 16, we extended our remote-work period until at least June. On May 4, we announced that team members could work remotely until at least the first week of September. On May 18, we extended this until at least the end of 2020, and on August 10, we extended this to August 2, 2021.
2 We’ve suspended all business travel and are strongly discouraging personal travel
Although Grammarly places a high value on community involvement and in-person interaction, we have canceled all interoffice travel and other business-related trips. This includes canceling our global team offsite, which had been scheduled for this May.
We originally asked for caution with personal international travel, and we updated that guidance to strongly discourage domestic air travel as well. As country-specific restrictions continue to evolve quickly, we cannot predict what further changes will be made or when. We may see additional border closings or openings as well as shifts in domestic travel restrictions. We are monitoring the situation closely and have asked team members everywhere to exercise extreme caution. If team members or members of their households do travel, we are continuing to ask the team member to quarantine for at least 14 days after returning home in order to ensure they do not develop any symptoms.
3 We’re working to reduce exposure and transmissions throughout our community
We canceled all in-person meetups and are conducting all meetings with vendors and business partners via video conferencing. We are also holding all interviews with prospective team members remotely, via video conferencing, to ensure that all candidates are able to take whatever precautions they feel are necessary for the health and safety of themselves and their families.
While continuing to take all possible precautions, Grammarly is co-organizing the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL) conference, which is slated to take place in Kyiv in April 2021. This conference will take place both virtually and in-person, and as co-organizers, we expect to have some presence at the conference site.
Following best health practices
We’ve encouraged all team members to follow responsible health procedures to protect themselves and the people they come into contact with. We have circulated information about available medical resources and, where possible, have provided free access to remote medical care, mental health resources, and telehealth. We are also providing resources to support physical fitness, including free access to remote exercise classes.
While we’ve established the above measures as a company, we have also circulated the below tips to promote safe practices among individuals.
- Wear a mask when you’re outside your home.
- Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer throughout the day.
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes. Sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hands, and avoid shaking hands.
- Stay home as much as you can—even if you have no symptoms—to protect against transmission.
- Practice social distancing when leaving your home for essential activities by maintaining a distance of at least six feet (two meters) from others.
Promoting a positive and productive remote work experience
We have circulated—and are continuing to add—remote-working tips for our team, including best practices for holding productive meetings over video conference and advice for communicating effectively and thoughtfully on Slack. We have created and continue to update a company-wide FAQ, hold regular virtual town halls with leadership, and maintain Slack channels specifically intended to facilitate situation-specific communication. We’re also reimbursing team members for purchases of office equipment that help them improve their workspaces at home. We’ve designated contacts throughout the organization on our People, IT, and Communications teams, among others, for team members to contact directly with needs, questions, and concerns.
We are aware that many schools and childcare facilities are temporarily closed, and we are working closely with parents and caretakers on our team to provide support during this period. We know that individual team members have varying needs, depending on their role or household situation, and we are working to address those needs for each individual, including by enabling people to be flexible in their work schedules.
We believe that our team members need time away from work to be able to recharge, and we want to ensure that they are able to do so without being concerned about work piling up in their absence. To facilitate a healthy break for everyone, we gave the entire global team May 11 and May 25 off.
Offering support and resources
We believe it’s important to support our communities in the ways we can. We’ve engaged in several initiatives to date and will continue to update this section as we take further action.
Free product access for nonprofits and NGOs worldwide through 2020
Through December 31, 2020, we’ve made key Grammarly features free for qualifying nonprofit organizations and NGOs around the world. This offering includes access to all Premium-level writing suggestions, an administrator dashboard, centralized reporting, and integrations with key workplace tools.
Nonprofits and NGOs deliver crucial services and programs, but many are being forced to tighten budgets and cut expenditures right now. From our current nonprofit customers, we know that such organizations rely on our product to better connect with their audiences, raise the quality of staff communication, and save time to focus directly on furthering their mission. So we created this free tailored offering with the hope that we can do our part in supporting important charitable work worldwide.
Leaders of nonprofits or NGOs can sign up for the offering at grammarly.com/nonprofits-ngos.
We’ve donated to COVID-19 relief efforts based where we are—in San Francisco, New York City, Vancouver, and Kyiv. In North America, we donated to these local initiatives: Give2SF COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, the New York Community Trust Emergency Fund, and the Vancouver Foundation Community Response Fund. In Kyiv, we donated to the Tvoya Opora Charitable Fund, the Happy Old Charitable Fund, the Tabletochki Fund, and the Krab Fund.
Updating our product
We strive to support conscientious writing and discourage bias in our product. We’ve released a new suggestion that flags the phrase “Chinese virus”—along with similar terminology—and recommends the writer instead use official nomenclature from the World Health Organization: either “coronavirus” or “COVID-19,” the name of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This follows guidelines put in place by WHO in 2015, which discourage naming diseases using geographic locations, group names, and other nomenclature that can lead to cultural stigmatization.
We are out to support people’s communication—and part of this is helping them feel they can get started in the first place. On March 30, we added small messages of support and encouragement in the Grammarly Editor for users to encounter when they open up the application to begin to write.
Offering communication advice
We know that many in our communities—including people who use our product—are struggling right now to find the right words to say and ways to communicate. As a gesture of support, we’ve collected some of the articles we’ve published over the years that might be helpful for people navigating this confusing and difficult time.
- On March 24, we published “Letter from the Editor: Supporting Our Community with Communication Resources,” for which our senior content strategy manager collected advice to help us stay connected digitally while we distance ourselves physically.
- On March 25, we published “Supportive Resources for Leading with Empathy and Care” to assist business leaders as they guide their teams through new communication norms. This includes advice on navigating tone, communicating at a distance, and showing appreciation.
- On June 12, we published “Tips for Building Professional Connections While Working Remotely” to provide guidance for managers about staying connected with one’s team and developing positive workplace communication habits.
- On July 10, we published “How to Improve Your Focus While Working from Home” to support our community through the difficult task of creating healthy boundaries during a sustained period of remote work.
- On August 6, we published “How to Build Routines into Your Work Schedule” with tips about creating necessary space to get work done while staying at home.
- On August 11, we published “Can You Truly Focus When Current Events Distract You?” with tips for concentrating during a period of fast-changing and difficult-to-process world events.
Letter to California leadership
On March 13, joining CEOs from more than 170 other technology companies, Grammarly CEO Brad Hoover signed a letter asking California state leadership to provide free drive-through or walk-up COVID-19 testing. The signatories offered assistance in the effort of making testing widely available.
Being transparent about our efforts
We want to keep our Grammarly team—including their families—and our communities safe. We believe it’s important to be prepared and to be transparent about these actions in case they are useful to others trying to do the same.
If you are looking for resources to create your own response plan, you might find it helpful to review the additional recommended strategies for businesses and employers by the CDC.