More than a year has now passed since the Sars-CoV-2 virus completely changed the world as we knew it. In Spain, on 14 March 2020 the government declared the state of emergency, which would last until 21 June.
During these months, many companies have had to cope with a situation with which they were unfamiliar. The new dynamics and strategies that some of them had begun to put into practice before the pandemic suddenly became obligatory.
Today, one year on from that worldwide lockdown, we can begin to weigh up what it meant and what it still means to be stalked by a pandemic that has yet to be brought under control by the health authorities, and how important it is to look to the future. Because the future is now.
A success story: the example of Rosclar
Rosclar is one of the many companies that had to adapt to the new working situation. Eduard Vinyeta, Rosclar’s CEO, observes that this pandemic has led to “a change of paradigm with respect to the volume of work constantly required by our clients.”
The new norm of working from home
One of the most drastic changes has been the transition to working from home. Although many companies had begun to introduce this form of working, having the office at home was not an established practice in most companies.
“3 days before the government declared the state of emergency, we saw the tsunami coming and we decided to send our team home to work remotely. At the same time, we designed what form the work processes and flows would take with everyone away from the office. Obviously, as a leading consultancy, we were already prepared and we had run some tests of remote working and the technology required,” Vinyeta explains.
“At Rosclar, we believe that the rise of working from home has opened up opportunities for every person and every organisation. It is, without doubt, a fantastic option. Working becomes easier, more flexible, calmer…”
Nevertheless, you have to understand that everyone is different; remote working suits some people down to the ground, while others can become over-obsessive and never switch off… So it is important to look at each case and each organisation and try to strike the right balance with each individual, each section of the company and the organisational needs that exist.
New working dynamics
One of the keys to the success of this new working formula is flexibility. “People’s roles changed overnight and we concentrated on each part of the organisation doing what it had to do at the right time and in the right way. In the midst of a hostile environment, we decided to bring in more talent, since our clients’ needs were increasing and changing every 24 hours.”
Moreover, according to Vinyeta, “the wisest thing we did was to make sure we didn’t lose an iota of quality; we have noted that in the long term clients recognise, value and appreciate this and it fosters loyalty.”
In other words, the organisational restructuring designed to optimise roles, supply chains and workflows, together with Rosclar’s entrepreneurial resilience, helped to increase efficiency.
Another of the measures the company adopted to come to terms with the new situation was to manage teamwork with empathy and creativity. Before the pandemic, the uptake of remote working in Spain was only half the European average of 15%, according to EU data of 2018. To start remote working so suddenly has both logistical and emotional repercussions.
“In the beginning, it was a tsunami, both professionally and personally. I believe that even today, many members of the organisation miss working face-to-face and the human contact, in spite of being able to work remotely. When you are in contact with people and you form a good team, that human touch is appreciated. We are not animals or things, we have a heart and feelings; it’s all part of who we are and our value, so the absence of face-to-face work is tough,” Rosclar’s CEO acknowledges.
Technology, a key tool
Therefore, communication technology has been very useful for getting people together in the same meeting and for providing a means to give each client and employee some visible signs of affection. “All our clients and our employees were deeply affected by the fear of losing a member of their family (as has occurred, regrettably) and by the anxiety caused by coping with such a difficult situation from a professional point of view, either because of an overload of work or because of the disintegration of their previous activity, depending on the sector,” Vinyeta observes.
“This is why it’s fantastic to be able to communicate “face to face” with each employee and with each client.”
When the crisis becomes an opportunity
It cannot be denied that this pandemic has created many uncertainties and worries, as well as stress at having to adapt, with some companies requesting ERTEs (temporary layoffs), or even having to implement an ERE (a collective dismissal); but at the same time, new opportunities have been generated.
“When the state of emergency began, Rosclar had a clear perspective: we saw the opportunity to improve our processes even more and to add extra quality to our systems.”
We are in a virtuous circle of continuous improvement, in which more and more people are becoming involved; they have understood that the purpose of improving is not to cut back on jobs, but to better satisfy the internal and external needs of the organisation; in other words, to offer our clients and employees more and better help.
A look to the future: The new post-pandemic working norm
When Rosclar looks back over these last twelve months, the conclusion it reaches is that the professionalism of all the parties involved in the company hasn’t changed. “Fortunately, our work already had a strong decentralised component.”
One of the key elements of Rosclar’s service is a close relationship with the client, not to the point of smothering them, but seeking to understand their needs and adapting its responses to these needs, so the client can gain the greatest possible advantage. “If from the outset we are oriented towards others, things always work out better.”
Today, interaction with clients is different, neither better nor worse. “It is true that communication is important to build trust. One of Rosclar’s premises is “telling people what we are doing.” Our clients know this and greatly appreciate it. They know they can ask us anything, and this doesn’t mean that we know everything, but that we will always try and give a clear answer, conveying what we know, what we don’t know and where we would recommend looking for the best solution,” Vinyeta concludes.