Maxima Latvia is the biggest private employer in Latvia - being aware of its role on the national level, the company performs a number of initiatives for control of the virus. So that stores can continue their work, ensuring constant availability of products for Latvia’s inhabitants, employees of the office must continue their support function. In the current circumstances, it is of vital importance to reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible. Therefore, an order about working from home was issued for approximately 400 Maxima employees without delay after announcement of the emergency situation. As far as this is a completely new and challenging situation for both the company as well as its employees, Maxima Latvia shares its experience on how to effectively organize the remote work of a big team and to help colleagues to adapt more easily.
Provision of a convenient and effective work process
Technical provision. So that employees can continue their work without any obstacles, the IT team ensures the availability and enhanced safe operation of all internal systems also outside of the office - internet connection, computer, a safe connection to the work environment, and software nowadays provide the possibility of working from anywhere.
Information movement and communication. It is important to find the most convenient and easily understandable communication platform for users to perform remote work. Maxima uses the solution Teams provided by Microsoft, which has proved its functionality as a high-quality solution for remote work - its operation is convenient and simple. In order to reach colleagues, we use a number of other convenient tools for information exchange, which are already used on a daily basis and do not require additional training - especially the established Facebook group for publishing uniform information, individual WhatsApp groups, intranet, e-mails, phone.
Live streams from company management. Employees receive the most important news about current events and plans of the company directly from company management - regular live streams in the Facebook group provide a possibility not only to find out the latest information, but also to ask questions. Joint video conferences make it possible to discuss the current tasks and challenges together and to receive support, if needed.
Exploration of the needs of employees. Establishment of the wishes and needs of employees may make the transition to remote work much easier. For example, the supplying of comfortable office chairs for employees when working at home was promoted through recommendations among colleagues.
Defining priorities. The home environment may reduce the ability to focus on the work to be performed. Therefore, we have clearly defined the priorities of this time and arrangement, so that everybody, including also those who work remotely, can feel how their work supports any of the priorities and helps to implement the mission of the company.
Mutual support and building team spirit
Team building. When working far away from each other, it is important not to lose team spirit and to continue to perceive yourself as a part of the company. Therefore, a Facebook group has been created for Maxima employees, where we collect and share recommendations from experts for remote work, along with education resources and useful materials, to assist in the continued performance of self-education and without losing good fellowship.
Personal example. Every personal experience is very valuable. Therefore, every colleague is invited to share also his/her experience about how they are doing when working remotely - both achievements and successes and difficulties and challenges - encouraging others to also try new approaches, to search for possibilities, and to borrow good ideas.
Support for isolated and quarantined colleagues. We maintain close contact on a daily basis also with those employees who are forced to spend two weeks in a mandatory self-isolation - for example, after a business trip or vacation abroad. Taking care of them, colleagues purchase and deliver their necessary food or help to arrange the most important things on a daily basis.
Care for physical and mental wellbeing
Ergonomics. In taking care to set up an appropriate working environment at home, ergonomic office chairs were provided to Maxima employees. This helps workers not only feel comfortable and care for health of their backs, but also better focus on work tasks.
Online exercises. Being aware of the fact that one of the challenges of remote work is to maintain regular movement, once a day employees have the possibility of exercising under the leadership of a certified trainer and to have exercises for the neck, hand joints, back, and other parts of the body, exposed to tension due to an unusual working environment.
Breaks at work. When working hard, we do not forget about joint breaks, occasionally exchanging jokes, inviting each other to accept challenges, and participating in creative activities.
Professional support. We plan to organize remote coaching possibilities, so employees can use this time also for professional growth.
Remote Easter. Joint celebrations are one of traditions of the company and they will also happen this year: thanks to a creative approach and the advantages of the digital age, we will celebrate Easter together - though remotely, still in a funny and springy mood.