In general, IBM was well established to transition into a hybrid model as our colleagues were already utilizing remote working frequently. Having worked for almost two years now mainly online or in a hybrid model brought new challenges. These are mainly connected to employee well-being, work-life balance, engagement and the lack of social interaction, which is eventually hindering creativity and teamwork.
It was and is essential to provide increased support and tools for employees and managers to be able to tackle these challenges. These include – enhancing the employee assistance programs, increasing online well-being opportunities and providing the opportunity to meet in smaller teams while keeping legislative regulations. Finding a reasonable balance between these objectives remains a challenge in the turbulent pandemic environment.
Additionally, in the future we see a new challenge coming up and that is how to motivate employees to return to the office.
Holcim was already on a good track with the hybrid model before the COVID-19 outbreak so working partially from home was a natural part of our culture. During 2021 we moved to a new space, tailor-made to reflect the hybrid model, with more collaboration spaces, more meeting rooms, separated quiet offices and easy-to-book shared places. We established a good balance between meeting in the office and working remotely. Especially June to September 2021 proved to be a well working period with training sessions, team building and meetings happening both in the office and online.
With the increased number of COVID-19 cases, our teams are meeting less in person again and we perceive communication as the top topic in our spotlight. We are working with our teams to make sure we communicate more frequently, more transparently in smaller groups and engage both colleagues online and onsite, introverted and extroverted, from bottom up and vice versa.
If the hybrid works well (work from home is combined with the work from the office), I find it as an ideal model in the post-COVID conditions. However, there could be some employees in a team who would prefer to work full-time from home only. Here I see the challenges both for the manager related to the equal treatment as well as for the employees related to the loss of engagement.
Ivan Tomko, HR Manager / Talent Acquisition SK & HU IBM
Lea Bodnárová, Head of HR, Holcim EU Business Services
Martina Šebestová, Head of HR, Covestro (Slovakia) Services s.r.o.