Discover what have been the home office solutions used to keep the e.near Family as near as always: the online events, the online sports classes and more.
In March 2020, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. And, as most companies worldwide, we had to close doors and go home. Home office became our new paradigm. And it brought new challenges. You can read all about how we’re dealing with it here.
Fortunately, as an established nearshore company, we knew how to properly handle remote work. According to Inês Malheiro, the CEO, “It wasn’t easy at first. We had to deal with the unknown.” But thanks to the hard work of everyone, we were able to manage our structure through the pandemic. We knew what was fundamental to do in order to keep the workflow without compromising the security of our connections. And we were aware of the extra attention employees would need, being away from their comfortable desks, colleagues and, in many cases, having to work around children asking for their care.
And our group – Connect Enterprises – had a major role in how the situation was handled. “The group decided to keep every employee, no matter the company. This union was really important at the time.” explains the e.near’s CEO.[/vc_column_text]
How we work now
Due to Covid-19, Portugal has gone through 2 lockdowns. Almost all work has been done from everyone’s home since March 2020. At first, we had to adapt to our new workplaces. We organised with each employee and helped our office furniture get into their homes. Besides that, the office stays open for anyone who needs to do tasks that can only be done from there. This way we keep a continuous workflow and deadlines are not postponed.
We already used many online platforms for organisation purposes of our teams. Some of them were already used for working, while we always found ways of having online socialisation channels too. Everyone’s there. Each topic has its channel, and the topics range is wide. It goes from team closed channels used as a means of each team communicating rapidly until general channels where we discuss the news and share pictures or fun facts.
Besides that, all our meetings are now online too. Which created something new – video call fatigue. Shafik Mahomad, Business Developer, refers that one of the main problems with it is the lack of promotion of solutions to fight its adverse effects. “But video calls are here for good. We will have to find ways to properly deal with such side effects or make good practices more common and accepted.”
Although meetings with clients are not that different from what we were used to, Shafik mentions one difference: in-home office video calls we are somehow invading other people’s private spaces. As a big part of his work is to have online meetings with clients, he decided to get a screen so he can have a more professional background.
How we help our staff stay healthy & near each other
“In the beginning, people might even find the whole situation somehow “peculiar”, but after a while, the lack of socialisation with people outside the nuclear family, the lack of regular activities… All those changes evolved into concentration, motivation and guiding difficulties” explains Inês Malheiro, the CEO. That’s why e.near tried to do as much as possible to keep everyone healthy and happy despite the different levels of mandatory physical isolation.
Our HR team does everything to keep everyone happy. “A happy employee who has great working conditions is much more committed and productive”, reminds Maria João, part of our HR team. Let’s understand what we’ve been doing to achieve that.
Our monthly meetings held by our CEO, known as “Flash News”, are a long tradition of e.near. They’re meant to keep the team posted about the current situation of the company and each of its departments. It’s also a way of socialising and getting to know everyone. Now, these meetings are held online. For those whose work doesn’t require many video calls with other e.near members, Flash News is a great way of seeing and listening to other colleagues and the always present CEO, Inês Malheiro.
Online Sports Classes
Also, physical activity is essential to keep our bodies and brains healthy. Knowing that people can’t be as active as before, e.near now offers online sports classes 3 times a week. “We offered both yoga and military training classes before the pandemic, but they happened in the office’s area.” explained Maria João.
Now they are online, and our employees spread all over the country can access the classes easily and very safely. As we are teleworking for a long time now, both coaches are well aware of our staff’s needs. Some regular exercises are even aimed to help the staff recover from recurrent problems caused by being sat in front of a computer for long periods.
For a few months now, every Monday and Friday we have had yoga classes. “IT people work long hours on a desk, most times with a wrong body posture. Yoga is great to prevent posture problems and help our staff relax”, explains Maria João. And every Wednesday it’s Military training day. “We really want to incentivise physical activity. People are stressed. With these classes, they can relieve stress and work on their team spirit”, concludes the HR professional.
Activities and gathering-ups
All this helps everyone staying near, happy and feeling an active part of the well-known e.near family. The Human Resources department has been great in providing solutions for the new problems that came with this new reality. But this is not everything. Once in a while, e.near promotes team get-togethers.
It usually happens alongside some sort of activity, such as the one that happened on the first of those meetings. With Quizard of Oz, the e.near family spent an amazing afternoon in a quiz event that made us create costumes, sing and do mimics. You can watch the recap video available on our YouTube channel.
Besides these activities that should help everyone at e.near stay healthy and feel part of a real family of professionals, e.near is doing more. We provided a session of professional aid on how to cope with the psychological burden of the pandemic. Being locked at home for a year, dealing with insecurities about the future, not being able to have fun with friends and colleagues, being away from the usual routines, etc. But we’re committed to helping our staff deal with it easily.
We’ve scheduled a class with Juliana Martins, a holistic health coach. She shared numerous great tips. “Juliana helped us know more about the correct posture to work on our computers. She mentioned how we can easily have a healthier alimentation. And she explained how meditation could help us to keep a healthy mind” explains Inês Malheiro. And everyone was allowed to not only raise questions but also to have a private talk with her.
Alejandro Quesada, Desktop Publisher, is one of the many employees who joined us after March 2020. He became part of this family in September, so he still managed to travel to Zurich before restrictions were put in place. “I could meet my team at Leonteq office as well as some colleagues here at e.near office”, he refers.
We always do our best to make every new family member feel truly welcomed. That’s part of our culture: everyone tries to make others feel good. Our office – whether it is online or physical – should always be a welcoming and safe place for all.
One of the most important things for us to stay near as a team and a family is our culture. The relationships we always fostered. “e.near was different even before all this. We already had home office as an option, so employees could have a better work-life balance.”, mentions the CEO.
“We might spend less time in the office from now on, but e.near will keep being the big company it is. This shift will only mean exciting new opportunities and a few different challenges for us.” she adds.
Although our change into teleworking wasn’t perfect as we were learning in the process, it was very organised and took place very smoothly.
That could only happen thanks to the impressive will of everyone involved, from our holding Group, to our CEO Inês Malheiro, to every department and employee. Our amazing partners helped us a lot as well. From almost one day to another, they saw part of their staff changing from e.near’s workplace to their homes. And they trusted us to assure security standards. Their data was as safe as if the staff was in our office.
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