Michelin: Keep business going (while keeping the social distance)

//Michelin: Keep business going (while keeping the social distance)

Even though physically apart, we continue to #StayATeam. Taking a look at how we are adjusting to the current context, we wanted to underline both the things that make us unique and those that connect us all. So, this is a collective interview from the Michelin Corporate & Business Services Management Team, with all our shared experiences and different (but complementary) perspectives:

How did you adapt to the new working conditions?

Cristina Paveliu, HR Manager:

First, there was the enthusiasm of working from home and shouts of joy from my kids, who suddenly thought they were in an extended vacation. Then I realized that I had to do a lot more tasks daily, so boundaries needed to be set between work and family.

What helped me a lot was to try to keep my regular schedule: wake up as usual, prepare for the work day (dress nicely even if you #stayhome), get a big cup of coffee, get ‘comfy’ in front of my computer and start the day.

All the changes came at once, so we had to plan the space in the house: for the kids’ schoolwork and the parents’ privacy for video calls/team meetings/zoom webinars etc. It took a while for everybody to ‘learn their lessons’, but finally we’ve succeeded to adapt, and now we even have time to enjoy evening family activities.

We also adjusted to a new way of working within our teams. Fortunately, Michelin had already created flexible work arrangements; we had a work from home policy even before the pandemic, allowing us to take an unlimited number of home-office days. We still had the challenge of adjusting our own lives and homes to the new situation, as well as the way we interact as teams.

We’ve managed to find a balance that helps to ensure a ‘relative normality’. Aside from the regular activities, we continue to feed our curiosity through webinars or online learning sessions, to see what other companies are doing, what solutions come up, or to find new ideas to preserve our energy, physical and mental health, to keep our teams motivated.

What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?

Simona Stavrositu, Service Line Manager, Finance:

I’ve had 3 main challenges during this period. The first one: to keep team spirit with all of us working from home. We maintain frequent communication, including virtual ‘coffee and cakes’ and anniversaries. I expanded the audience of my meetings to all managers in Michelin CBS Finance (beyond my direct team), for agile communication and fast sharing of best practices.

The second one: to keep focus on our medium- and long-term objectives, in addition to addressing urgent crisis-related topics. We continue our key projects with remote workshops and benchmark exercises through Microsoft Teams, Whiteboard and iObeya.

The third one: to maintain a good balance between personal and work time. I start my days with 30 minutes of indoor exercising while listening to my favorite music; I end my work days with bicycle rides in the neighborhood and I enjoy spending time with my family, with homemade pizza!

I am happy to say that team spirit and collaboration have improved, our projects are advancing, and we are seizing more opportunities – and I also get to enjoy quality family time!

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

Victor Gurgu, Service Line Manager, Order to Cash:

From the “old days” I miss everything that is related to people: I miss shaking their hands in the mornings as I am doing the tour of my team. Also I miss the motivation and smiles of the people that I see during these tours – it is much easier to feel them when you are face to face. I miss having a coffee with different colleagues, when we used to also share personal details that help us to know each other better. So… yes, I miss my colleagues a lot!



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

Diana Dinca, Service Line Manager, Source to Pay:

It took me a few weeks to adjust to the new life in quarantine and it wasn’t easy. Once I accepted the new reality and that the situation was out of my control, I started to focus on what resources I could use to my advantage.

The first resource is the extra time saved, as I don’t have to commute to the office, so I joined an online gym class. This helped me to keep having a minimum level of physical activity and close my laptop on time, to keep a good work-life balance. Also, since I was forced to cook more, I started to eat healthier. To keep a minimum social activity, I organized some video calls with my friends so that we could keep in touch and share the concerns we all had.

I discovered that spending time with myself can be enjoyable, even though I am looking forward to the moment when we will all be able to go outside in nature. My approach during this time is: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

What activities do you enjoy engaging in as a family or by yourself? What habit, mechanism or idea will you preserve for your professional and personal life when quarantine will end?

Mihaela Maria Mihalache, Service Line Manager, Service Personnel:

My passion is flowers, plants in general. I love their diversity and wherever I am I try to enjoy them. Caring for them is essential for their lives, so I dedicate my free time to water them, change the soil, add fertilizer or place them in the right place for light and heat. Flowers cheer up my breaks during the working hours. I also like to cook, and I like it when the people I love enjoy the meals I prepare. Cooking is like a ritual for me, one that I enjoy every time, from start to end.

I start each day with a list of activities – both professional and personal, that need to be solved.
For me, being organized is essential. That’s why, at home or in the office, I plan every week and then every day efficiently, so that I can then measure the efficiency of my work – this brings me satisfaction. My daily list of professional priorities is carefully created, with breaks between them (breaks that allow me to solve my personal activities). Through this mechanism I ensure the balance between my professional and personal life.

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

Mauricio Manzano-Podversich, Michelin CBS Bucharest Manager:

Our first priority will be to ensure the safety of our employees, by implementing a series of measures aimed to protect them.

Secondly, to take care of the particular needs of our customers, who are also suffering from this crisis. They are also adapting the way they do business.

Thirdly, we will work to support our colleagues in the industry, commerce and support functions, to allow them to perform their activities as normal as possible.