The accelerated pace of implementing tools and accommodating to the new features of daily work made companies and employees as well to speed their capacity of adjusting to the new workspace reality.
Laura Stefan, Managing Director Accace Romania shared her opinions and company insights in a recent interview with Outsourcing Today.
Reshaping the current workplace in the overall context of the work environment
The importance of business continuity through the pandemic has determined all companies to reshape the workplace, in order to make the employees feel supported, safe and able to do their jobs effectively. The easiest option has always been the remote work, but this is not an alternative for people working in various industries.
The main challenge in the following months is finding ways to design the workplace to respond not just to fear and anxiety (caused by the threat of germs), but to the full range of new behaviors and attitudes that people developed through the COVID-19 crisis.
Possible office transformation alternatives
We are exploring some alternatives, such as implementing flex desk or transforming our office into a “conference center”, a place where we gather to host meetings, conferences and other offline events or where we can go whenever we need to change the home scenario.
Enabling effective channels of communications
Our organizational culture has always been oriented towards flexibility, autonomy, transparency. We do not encourage micromanagement and we have adapted our tools to keep people close to each other and maintain fluid communication.
Thus, we have been organizing weekly meetings within the teams, bi-monthly meetings with the whole company, and trainings, we created channels for a quick and informal communication, and we encouraged managers to approach their teams in a friendly and supportive way outside the working schedule.
Before the pandemic, we used to organize many offline activities, therefore we wanted to keep a fun and optimistic atmosphere during the lockdown. In this respect, we initiated some contests, games, virtual parties, lounge discussions, cooking and gym groups, in order to keep people entertained and involved in mutual activities.
Regarding the newcomers, we had to rethink the recruiting and onboarding processes, so that we could find the right people and integrate them into the team remotely, with limited physical contact. The interviews and tests took place online.
The WFH system was quite familiar to us even before the pandemic, as we are promoting a flexible policy and we already had one day a week when we could work from anywhere we wanted. During the emergency period, all our colleagues worked from home, having at their disposal the necessary equipment, and the cloud infrastructure allowed us to deliver the same quality to customers, without delays.
In mid-June, we reopened the office, of course implementing all the necessary security measures, but we advised our colleagues to go only if the situation implied their presence exclusively. Thus, we developed a strong internal procedure, and the presence of the employees at the same time in the office was limited.
The main challenge was to synchronize the schedules, as we have many mothers who tried to juggle between children and tasks. However, a positive aspect that emerged from this experience was that the level of trust has increased, both internally – between colleagues and externally – from clients, proving that we are able to deliver quality even in times of crisis, driven by autonomy and proactivity.
Adjusting to a new style of communication
There is no need to be a tech-savvy to adapt to a new style of communication, but the daily virtual interaction somehow forced our colleagues to get more familiar with the online communication tools. Also, they practiced a lot on time management, creative thinking, teamwork and critical thinking.
What will be the differentiating factor, if most companies will transform the workplace into a virtual space?
As long as the employees will be able to work online from anywhere, with minimal interaction between them and receive the same benefits, will there still be a sense of belonging, loyalty, organizational culture and company-specific values? This can be a major challenge for employee retention and will reshape the workforce dynamics.
If until now efforts were made in the direction of digitization and automation, nowadays these concepts are becoming a reality. Globally in Accace, we have been aiming for a paperless office for some time, but only the current context has pushed us closer to finalizing this project.
The pandemic has caused an acceleration of some labor trends, and people will need to develop new skills in order to keep their jobs or to find new ones. With their digital transformation and different tools & systems, companies will need less administrative support.