We are OMES – COVID-19 special edition

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COVID-19 updates and reminders

Find Oklahoma’s COVID-19 count and affected counties at coronavirus.health.ok.gov.

Highlights from Gov. Kevin Stitt’s statewide Safer-at-Home executive order:

  • Individuals age 65 and older and people of all ages with compromised immune systems are instructed to shelter at home unless fulfilling essential needs like groceries and prescriptions.
  • Nonessential businesses must close in all 77 Oklahoma counties until April 30. Here is a list of businesses deemed essential.
  • Nonemergency medical procedures are suspended for two weeks.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
  • Visitors restricted at nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities.

Important reminders:

  • You can call the Oklahoma 2-1-1 hotline for screening public health support for COVID-19.
  • Labs at Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma are allowed to perform COVID-19 testing.
  • State income tax payments are deferred until July 15 without late fees or interest.
  • All accredited pre-K through 12th grade public schools are closed until April 6.
  • Expirations on Oklahoma driver’s licenses are delayed until further notice.
  • Real ID compliance on driver’s licenses is temporarily suspended.
  • Be on high alert for scam artists trying to sell or administer at-home testing kits for COVID-19.

As positive COVID-19 cases increase across the state, we are committed to serving Oklahomans and keeping our community safe in this time of need.

Information on COVID-19 as it applies to Oklahoma

Visit coronavirus.health.ok.gov to find the latest information from the Oklahoma State Department of Health on Gov. Kevin Stitt's executive orders and COVID-19 in Oklahoma.

Social media reminder

Live Chat

OMES wants to keep you safe and informed. For recent updates on COVID-19 and helpful resources, follow OMES on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Visit our webpage to find our new Information Services live chat feature and have your IS-related questions answered in real time.

Information for HealthChoice members

Your health and well-being are important. During the COVID-19 pandemic, HealthChoice will temporarily expand the following services for its members:

  • Testing and office visits for COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Telehealth visits.
  • Telemedicine.

Details can be found on the Information for HealthChoice members and providers on COVID-19 page.

HealthChoice continues to monitor new developments about COVID-19 to provide you with the most current information. Members are encouraged to utilize all available online and mobile resources, including healthchoiceconnect.com and the HealthChoice mobile app, as well as all additional benefit programs available.

HealthChoice members with questions or concerns can call Customer Care at 800-323-4314.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, steps to prevent illness, what to do if you are sick, and how to keep work, schools and communities safe, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Oklahoma State Department of Health websites.

Time reporting code reminder

Remember to code your time differently if you’re working on any COVID-19-related material. If you wouldn’t have worked on it – e.g., this special edition newsletter – under regular circumstances, use the following codes:

Time Reporting Code: CV19P (most employees)

CV19X (employees who split time for alternative work schedules)
Project ID: 090P006124
PC Business Unit: 09000
Activity ID: 090

If you have questions about the codes, email payroll.service@omes.ok.gov.

Password reset – it's easy!

Password reset

It’s easy to lose password reset emails among time-sensitive work information flooding your inbox.

However, it’s better to address it quickly to avoid being locked out of your accounts and waiting for the OMES Service Desk to resolve your case.

Now that OMES employees are teleworking, the process of changing your password might be different than what you are used to. This means it could take longer than expected to change your password, so if you are doing it for the first time since working from home, you should start the process as soon as possible to ensure there are no complications, and your work continues unabated.

Help the Service Desk by resetting your password at passwordreset.ok.gov.

Watch this video to find out how.

IS contributions to COVID-19 readiness

IS video

The OMES Service Desk is committed to helping Oklahoma remain strong and succeed. In the past weeks, Information Services has started a trend of setting new records for workflow accomplishments and then turning around and beating those records the next day.

The Service Desk established a record number of VPN connections and substantially increased VPN capacity, enabling more than 6,000 OMES employees to work from home and continue serving the state through this challenging time.

IS has not only helped OMES flourish but has also supported other agencies via technological innovation and hard work. Watch this video to discover more of the extraordinary things we have contributed to COVID-19 readiness.

Telework toolkit

Telework toolkit

As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop in Oklahoma, OMES is establishing alternative plans to ensure we are able to continue serving Oklahomans. We take a broad approach to service continuity and are committed to safety for all Oklahomans.

With that in mind, we assembled this telework toolkit to guide you through the tools OMES offers to help make teleworking seamless. We are working closely with our cloud partners to ensure our increased usage of tools, like O365, will continue to result in a positive customer experience. 

Work out at home while you work from home

Although gyms are closed until further notice, exercise is still essential for relieving stress and boosting happiness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, YMCA is promoting at-home exercise with free virtual access to YMCA360 and Les Mills. Practice social distancing and complete an online workout!


Classes and seminars cancelled or postponed

If you are planning to attend an upcoming seminar or class, please call ahead or check websites to make sure it isn’t postponed or cancelled.
Visit the Statewide Learning Services webpage for schedule updates and free online learning resources.
EGID cancelled insurance seminars through April 16, 2020. In case of further cancellations, consult the Insurance Seminar Schedule prior to attending.

FEATURE – OMES teleworks during coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 hasn’t slowed down OMES employees’ dedicated service to Oklahomans. Teleworking inevitably impacts workflow, but through collaboration and hard work, OMES divisions have been able to shine and continue #GSD over the past few weeks.

State Comptroller Lynne Bajema said things are going well for Central Accounting and Reporting thanks to her employees’ willingness to work together and help one another.

Information Services has also helped the division substantially, she said.

“Our division had many individuals without laptops and some without home computers or internet,” Bajema said. “The biggest challenge was getting everyone equipped to work from home. IS did a great job helping equip us and employees really stepped up, loaning personal laptops and helping each other.”

CAR Statewide Payroll certified public accountant Lisa Raihl and shared services supervisor Marianne Sanchez said their department has changed how it does business in a few ways. The primary change has been from hard copies to email because the division receives many items by fax or paper.

The division has also changed its processes to get vouchers approved for payment, payroll warrant cancellations processed and distribution of employee legal notices to agencies, they said.

Teleworking hasn’t stopped anyone in Human Capital Management from completing their job, but it has altered the process for many.

“I definitely think our ability to innovate is limited without those great moments of putting our heads together,” training programs manager Liz Brandon said. “We are working to find new ways to communicate and collaborate while also finding innovative ways to continue serving our customers.”

HR assistant Robert Jeffery offers great advice during this trying time. “Be open to change, and assume positive intent,” he said.

OMES employees have accomplished many things at home. Capital Assets Management’s Construction and Properties department even said its productivity has increased with fewer distractions. But, some departments, like CAM’s Federal Surplus, require in-person interactions to meet expectations.

CAM Federal Surplus property reutilization administrator Roger Stone said a lot of his department’s work is physical. His employees must be present at certain locations to load Surplus items. To comply with current COVID-19 instructions, Stone has had to limit how many people – currently no more than three – can load items at one time.

“[We’re] having winning bidders call in and schedule pickup so we can control the amount of people … at the site at any given time,” he said. They’ve also had to cancel the public auctions, but all of that inventory is now available in the online auction.

Federal Surplus has been able to complete some jobs, but others are put on hold until the state of emergency ends.

“[We are] unable to pick up federal property that is not COVID-19- or mission-essential items,” Stone said.

Federal Surplus isn’t alone. CAM’s Interagency Mail department has had to make some drastic changes in how it receives and delivers mail. With telework leading to the lockdown of agency offices, IA Mail has been challenging, division officials said. They have established pickup sites at Central Printing and a contact list of all participating agencies, while other agencies have scheduled days for the mail to be delivered to other locations. A mail drop box has been added to the Will Rogers Building that is being used for the public to drop mail for many state agencies, and Interagency Mail is taking care of that, as well.

For employees who aren’t used to teleworking, it can take time to adapt. But even employees who often telework have faced unique challenges. Budget, Policy and Gaming Compliance’s Audit and Administrative Investigations unit is familiar with this paperless routine, but chief auditor JoRay McCoy said COVID-19 hasn’t made work seamless.

“We are running as normal,” McCoy said, “but it is very difficult to audit agencies when they are busy coping with the changes they’re going through due to COVID-19.”

The sudden transition to working from home might be confusing for some people. Employees are encouraged to search for guidance on how to adapt to working from home online and to ask colleagues for advice before consulting their supervisors. The telework toolkit is a good resource, as well.

Each division highlighted the importance of clear and fast communication to #GSD.

Bajema said working from home isn’t that different from being in the office, as it is still important to be accessible.

“Just be available by cellphone and respond quickly to email,” she said.

Raihl and Sanchez have found success in frequent communication with coworkers and maintaining positive relationships with other agencies, they said. They recommend having daily check-in meetings to see how everyone is doing. Additionally, they said good relationships with personnel in other agencies definitely helps while working remotely.

With a community like OMES, it’s no surprise that most of us miss the energy of interacting with our colleagues and achieving goals together in person.

“I miss the face-to-face collaboration,” Jennie Pratt from CAR Statewide Accounting said. “So much of what we do is the brainstorming of ways to solve issues. While we can talk by phone or Teams meetings, it doesn’t really replace actually working together in the same room and feeding off one another.”

CAM Facilities Director Mark Sauchuk offers this advice for everyone: "The biggest challenge is the reality of the situation and staying motivated. Be safe, stay positive, be proactive and COMMUNICATE. Even a simple email saying, 'Hey there,' can be helpful in this time."

Despite the circumstances, OMES continues to stand together to support our community. While certain responsibilities have been challenging to maintain at home, many people have adapted and found ways to overcome hurdles like technological issues and device shortages. Even though we’re maintaining our social distance, our teamwork and devotion to our state remains strong.