METRO SYSTEMS Romania, part of METRO, was among the first companies that took the initiative to work remotely and limit the effects of COVID-19: more than 800 employees were able to work from home since March 11th, five days before the declaration of a state of emergency in Romania. Now, the company aims to extend the work from home policy indefinitely, to provide safety and protection to the employees.
The METRO SYSTEMS initiative is a national premiere, thus setting the trend in working from home for an indefinite period. Forced by COVID-19, several international companies have adopted various protocols for "working from home". Most are in the field of technology, but also other organizations in more conservative sectors - such as real estate, accounting, and local government - are considering this possibility.
METRO SYSTEMS is, in fact, one of the few companies that offered great flexibility to employees even before the pandemic: from the possibility of personalize their working hours according to personal schedule, to short Fridays and work from home without an imposed limit, but within the need of the teams, which adopted the agile method of "self-organizing teams." This work style led to a digital infrastructure that allows remote communication and collaboration, an infrastructure that only needed an impulse to enable all employees to work from home in a state of emergency.
During the state of emergency, METRO SYSTEMS's concern for the well-being of the employees has adapted to the situation. The Well-being program started in 2016 went beyond the benefits offered by most companies, offering events and activities where the employees were able to deepen the areas they were passionate about. The training sessions and workshops were grouped into three main themes: health, education and hobbies and ranged from parenting conferences, nutrition workshops, financial education, to fitness and postural health sessions. Throughout this period of isolation and work from home, these activities not only continued online, but also intensified and diversified, touching on current topics related to the management of work from home, relationships and emotions triggered by the crisis caused by the pandemic. In addition, METRO SYSTEMS offered employees the opportunity to benefit, free of charge, from discussions with psychotherapists.
Despite that employees have the opportunity to work from the comfort of their home, METRO SYSTEMS Romania does not give up physical offices. Nevertheless, it analyzes the possibility of adapting them to the times, turning them into co-working or hub spaces, thus setting the directions of the future in terms of teamwork. "Even if the work environment is different and we miss our colleagues, the virtual collaboration in teams has led to excellent results. Our culture is one aimed at the employee well-being and performance; rethinking the future of teamwork through innovative methods, we will become more resilient and more adaptable. We are moving towards the organization of the future, successfully blending physical and virtual work environments for a brand identity suitable for all types of employees," says: Sidonia Barna, Human Resources Manager.