The people-oriented world of thought is even more visible in the way our company manages its personnel
In the beginning of the year, we first heard about the COVID-19 virus, which at that time spread in Asia, and a few months later, it also became true here in Finland. Suddenly, an unexpected turn brought us companies into a new situation, where the safety and well-being of our staff had to be taken into account in a new way, and we had to be able to set our own policies within the company. And as fast as possible.
We at Quant have been working for a long time to improve safety, and I dare say that we are at a good level nowadays. For example, we always start remote meetings with safety issues, from which we recently received positive feedback from our partner.
Because safety orientation is inherent in us, we strived for a challenging operating environment in 2020 from a better-than-average starting point, as all our personnel are safety-oriented. We have not been paralyzed when, due to a pandemic, safety regulations have had to be changed on very short notice. Each of our employees understands that face masks, for example, are kept to protect each other, even though using it brings a new challenge to work.
How to tackle the mental well-being challenges posed by a pandemic?
However, the year has challenged not only our physical safety but also our mental well-being. The pandemic has, of course, raised concerns about the health of oneself and loved ones, perhaps even the person’s life. It has also caused a lot of uncertainty when trying to understand how to act properly in different situations. When can I come to work and when not? When can I take the children for day care and when can I not? Who pays me a salary or compensation if I have to leave work for various reasons?
Especially now that autumn is coming, reduced social contacts are also straining our minds as sunlight decreases. The maintenance’s coffee room may have a smaller number of people at a time than in the past normal, no more than absolutely necessary visits are made to the sites and some of the staff have switched to a permanent telecommuting model.
For a service company like us, our personnel are truly our most important resource and thus the company has a great interest in taking care of the well-being of the employees, in addition to physical safety. No one can give their best as concerned and depressed. We set out to tackle this in the spring, at the same time as we were first making sure we had the best possible instructions for each moment to ensure physical safety.
In the spring, we set up a crisis communications team which report to the management team. The team is responsible for ensuring that we have up to date COVID-19 related instructions and that those are available to everyone. We have tried to ensure that the new guidelines always reach all our employees. In addition to the intranet, we have also communicated new instructions to all personnel via text messages.
In addition, we have created a channel for our staff through which they have been able to ask corona related questions in confidence. A free-form Corona Clinic meetings have been held for supervisors through Teams, daily in the spring and now a couple of times a week in the autumn. Among other things, these measures have sought to ensure that uncertainty is kept to a minimum and that everyone is heard if they so wish.
Community for teleworking
During this year, the chances of face-to-face encounters have been lower. In addition to the Corona Clinics mentioned above, efforts have been made to maintain community spirit, for example through virtual coffee breaks. In these, it has even been noticed that we have been able to bring people together from different departments, who have not had regular coffee breaks with each other in the past.
Through Yammer, all employees from Quant’s global organization was challenged to playful health challenges (which our region once won!). Of course, not everyone gets excited about these, but for some of the employees, these are the few free-form contacts with co-workers during distance days.
A lot has happened and the time for «final results» for this year will come later. At this stage, however, it can already be said that after 2020, and partly because of it, the people-oriented world of thought will become even more visible in the way our company manages its personnel. This includes various encounters with staff, face to face or remotely, as well as genuine care that our employees are doing well.
We want to be present, we want to listen and develop our work community together. Our staff is still our greatest resource!
HR Director, Quant Finland