Hays: Keep business going (while keeping the distance)

//Hays: Keep business going (while keeping the distance)

Georgiana Grama is Recruitment Team Leader in Business Services at Hays Recruitment.

Tell us about what happened with you & your company in the first weeks of this crisis.

When working in recruitment services, face-to-face meetings with our clients and candidates, is the most enjoyable activity of any Hays Consultant so therefore, after passing the challenge of moving our business entirely to our homes, the first weeks of the crisis for us at Hays, were about how to designing a plan to have a smooth transition between being in the office and working entirely remotely.

I can admit that we can name this period „test and learn” because if in normal times experimentation might sometimes seem a risky game, changing the working models to which employees, customers, or business partners are accustomed, have put us in the situation of finding a very fast and new digital initiatives to support our business and to help our customers.

What are your company’ top 5 priorities in this period?

One of the core imperatives for any company now is to take care of their employees, which I must say is our top priority at this moment: make sure they’re OK and make sure they have the tools and everything they need to be productive and be able to do their highest-priority tasks and not to feel this period as a heavy one.

Also, our focus now it to help businesses find new ways of working and support their workers and customers. In this regard we have launched an online training platform, Hays Learning, designed to improve worker efficiency when remote working and assist with planning working days and working with a remote team. The page can be accessed here: https://hayslearning.eu/.

Beside of the learning and wellbeing process, our main concern is the health and safety of Hays’s workforce and we are now analysing also the aspects we must take in consideration for the time we will come back to the office.

What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?

At Hays, people are largely self-organised and we’re quite used to managing ourselves but personally, the biggest challenge of this period it was to manage my team for such a long period of time, from the distance.  Even if remote teams were already common in today’s workforce, the truth is that managing a virtual team can be quite challenging, especially when you want to do “business as usual”. In order to overcome this challenge, we re-establish a clear structure of who people report to and which employees must be included in certain tasks as we saw the importance of having a clear image of every role during this period.

How did you adapt to the new working conditions?

By analysing what is happening around us and listening to the challenges of our customers and the personal stories of our candidates. This helped us to consolidate these perspectives from the market and we come up with solutions that now supports our team and also our clients.

How did you organize your workspace at home? How does your office look like?

I should start with an advice here as everyone is learning from the mistakes. Don’t think is not necessary to have an workspace at home because you can sit with your laptop wherever you want! I did this and in the end I was craving to copy my desk appearance from the office to home, which I finally did. What was my make-up table became a full real office-desk, where I even printed and pinned some of the information that I had on my board at the office.

How do you stay motivated and productive? – tips & tricks of WFH

Speaking of how we prepared our transition from office to home, at the beginning of the pandemic, I have made a video with tips and tricks to take in consideration when remote working, where I tried to emphasize how important is to have a clear schedule of working and not to forget to ram-up the day with your team on a virtual meeting.  What I believe is important in this regard is to reflect for a moment that now you are your own manager in terms of organizing your daily activity but also you are not alone in this. So don’t miss the change to ask questions and ask for help from your manager, you are not bothering him/her just because you are unable to see his presence as in the office.

What do you miss from the “old days” when you were at the office?

There are a lot of things that I have could not imagine I would miss from the office as they’re seems very insignificant back then, but I miss all the aspects related to the human interaction, from the office buzz to the kitchen talks and having a very energic and intense discussion with my team on a project in our board meeting.

How do you personally manage work-life balance during this period?

As previously said, I realize that for me the best way of enjoying this period is to think that nothing changed and in this regard I am following exactly the same schedule as I had when I worked from our office. This helped me a lot to organize myself and to feel like I really deserve a drink on my terrace after a working day, even if I worked all the in the same space.

How do you use in your advantage “the quarantine time”?

The quarantine time I think could be perceived also as that time that you dream off often that you will need just for you and some introspection and actually we never had until now due to so many activities we tried to include in our daily schedule. I am taking advantage of this period to learn a lot, both in the recruitment services but also about my personal hobbies and preferences. I am now more keen to research and analyse what is happening around me and how can I react to every situation that could be similar to the Covid Crisis.

Looking back at the last month, do you have a favourite moment?

I could not say an exact moment that I could choose as a favourite one but somewhere at the middle of this period I have realized how many things me and my team achieved in a such uncertain time from the way they react to all of the changes to how we come up with a lot of alternatives of doing our business that demonstrate a high level of innovation from every individual.

What activities do you enjoy engaging in as a family or by yourself?

As one of the challenge of working from home is that you probably stay more in front of the laptop and using technology, when I finish my work I am trying to keep distance from the online channels and to period to stay as much as I can on the terrace and enjoy the nice weather and a fiction book. And of course, speaking of test and learn, cooking became also a passion rather than a necessity that because I am trying to do now more complex recipes that I did when I did not had enough time to really enjoy this kind of activity.

What habit, mechanism or idea will you preserver for your professional and personal life when quarantine will end?

In this period I think I understood that from time to time we should give us an opportunity to rediscover basic values of humanity and the bonds that connect us. We have the technology and the means to come out stronger if we understand that human wellbeing and the health of the planet are two sides of the same coin. Digital access must be seen as a utility, like electricity and plumbing.

What will be your company’ first 3 priorities when the lock down is over?

We must organize a gradual return to the office, while prioritising the health and wellbeing of our people. The transition needs to be employee led. We also need to refocus our business to adapt and manage this new hybrid way of working –some people working from the office, while some remain working remotely.

On the other hand, the new era of work will lead to many changes within the world of work, including new ways of working, new team structures, new roles and new types of contracts. We must ensure we are able to identify the opportunities available to our business in this new world and make sure that we are supporting our clients in adapting and remaining agile to the situation. And of course, we cannot wait to visit our clients in their offices when will be possible and also to invite our candidates  in our location.