Teo Galea is Country Manager Romania & SME Europe Director, at Colt Technology Services in Sibiu.
Tell us about what happened with you & your company in the first weeks of this crisis.
At a company level, we realized from an early stage the importance of being united, the importance of helping each other out and the necessity to step up to the new situation. In the first weeks of the crisis an action plan was put into place to ensure the health and safety of the employees, to ensure we keep providing uninterrupted support for our customers and to avoid any possible blockages in our internal processes.
It was truly impressive to observe how a large global organization with over 4500 employees and operating in 20 countries managed to shift in less than two weeks from a standard work style in the office to a completely new style of working from home without facing major difficulties and always prioritizing the health and safety of the employees.
What are your company’ top 5 priorities in this period?
The number 1, 2 and 3 priority of the company is the health and safety of the employees and their family members. The reason why health and safety play such a huge role is because the employees are the main asset of the company. The business could not function without its employees and therefore the business is highly influenced by its employees.
Number 4 priority is to ensure usual level of proactive support that we provide to our customers and number 5 priority is to drive and assist the employees in setting up the most adequate work environment in their homes so that the highest level of efficiency possible can be met.
What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?
The obvious ones are those related to our employees and our customers, support people to stay healthy and productive and customer to stay operational. Still, behind each role, there is a person with its own feelings and thoughts that go beyond the role they represent in the company, with fears and worries. So, the key is how you balance those two areas. Bearing this in mind, my aim was to create a context for people to feel protected by the company and confident that the company’s actions and decisions are in their best interest. I took into consideration not only their needs as a business but also their personal needs.
How did you adapt to the new working conditions?
I live by a simple philosophy consisting of three principles that helped me adapt to the new working conditions: the first one is the prioritization of tasks and in order to set my priorities, I write down the key objectives and make sure I channel my energy in achieving these goals. The second principle is to do a good deed every day. I try not to let any day pass by without having done something good for either my clients or for the organization that I represent. The third principle is taking a step back in order to get an overall view of the whole picture and thus to avoid taking decisions acting on impulse.
How did you organize your workspace at home? How does your office look like?
At home I turned my daughter’s room into the designated work room: it is the only room I use as a home office and it is the room where I help my children with their homework. This helps to keep the work time separated from the family time. The desk is set at the window and so I was able to observe the transition of the trees outside from having no leaves to blossoming. Behind the trees, I can see the Fagaras mountains which is a very nice and calming view.
How do you stay motivated and productive? – tips & tricks of WFH
In order to stay motivated and productive, I believe that it is very important to take into consideration the state of both physical health and mental health. To achieve and maintain physical and mental health, one has to be well rested, to do physical exercise and to engage in activities that help the mind relax and disconnect. I established a night time and morning routine that help me feel energized and motivated: I go to bed and wake up at the same hours ensuring that I get enough sleep and I start my mornings by doing physical exercise, praying and then having breakfast.
On the other hand, the responsibilities that come with my role help me to stay motivated and productive. I fully commit to my responsibilities towards the people that I represent as a manager and my responsibilities towards the business and this helps me to stay highly motivated and productive.
What do you miss from the “old days” when you were at the office?
What I miss from the days at the office is the personal interconnection, being together with my colleagues, having a laughter together and the small things like a handshake or giving someone a hug for their birthday.
How do you personally manage work-life balance during this period?
I personally manage work-life balance by following a balanced routine that keeps me focused and energized. Apart from my night-time and daytime routine that I mentioned before, I also have an afternoon routine when I spend time with my three children. Being able to dedicate more time to my family and to myself, helps the work-life balance. Before, the work-life relation was out of balance as I was spending much time travelling for business.
How do you use in your advantage “the quarantine time”?
I use the quarantine time in my advantage by setting personal objectives such as personal development and daily exercise. I am taking advantage of the free time that I did not use to have before, I read more and take the time to work out every morning.
Looking back at the last month, do you have a favourite moment?
My favourite moment was durng a virtual coffee break with my colleagues. One colleague mentioned that she finally feels valued as an individual by the company she works for and does not feel like just a number in a spreadsheet as one usually does when working for a corporation. It made me feel very proud as this is one of my aims, to make people feel cherished at work.
What activities do you enjoy engaging in as a family or by yourself?
What I mostly enjoy is spending quality time with my family. We like having meals together and to engage in various activities such as playing Monopoly, Catan, chess, football and organizing talent shows. Playing different games with my children, gives me the opportunity to teach them different skills such as discipline, competitiveness and how to accept defeat. I also enjoy reading, right now I am passionate about three topics: how to help and assist others, religion, and investments. It might seem like an awkward combination, but they go very well together.
What habit, mechanism or idea will you preserve for your professional and personal life when quarantine will end?
I would like to preserve two ideas: that one is more capable to adapt than he is aware of and that happiness comes from the inside. The quarantine period showed me that I am more capable to adapt than I thought I was and taught me that happiness does not rely on the external world itself. Happiness comes from the inside and it is based on the reactions one chooses to have to the outside world. This way I manage to be as happy now as I was before.
What will be your company’ first 3 priorities when the lock down is over?
The company’s first 3 priorities remain the same as before the installation of the lockdown. The first priority is the keep the employees healthy and safe. The second priority is to appropriately serve our customers. The third priority is the development of mechanisms that help us be flexible and deliver as much added value as possible without being restrained to certain procedures.