Responsibility towards employees crucial in dealing with corona crisis
(Karlsruhe, ) Ensuring a safe workplace in times of Corona for the more than 115 employees of the IT and consulting company has become one of the most important factors. As early as February 2020, when the Corona virus had not yet been declared a worldwide pandemic, the Managing Directors Jochen Rieg and Marcus Weiss initiated the first steps to be able to offer their employees at the Karlsruhe, Munich, Nuremberg and Timisoara in Romania work locations the greatest possible security. “Besides worrying about your own family members, you have the company permanently on your mind,” says Jochen Rieg.
Even before the outbreak of the pandemic, employees were familiar with working across sites. The introduction of solutions that would enable holistic working from the home office could therefore be implemented quickly. “At the beginning, we could not yet estimate the dynamics of the entire situation,” says Marcus Weiss. For this very reason, it was important to the managing directors to additionally strengthen the previously already very transparent communication between management and employees. In monthly updates, all employees working on various projects throughout Germany were informed about the latest case developments and new measures in the offices. Together with the company’s Workplace Security department, they worked out measures that could be derived from the current infection situation, recommendations from the RKI and occupational health guidelines. The goal was to find a solution that would provide the greatest possible security without restricting employees too much. By mid-March 2020, most of the virtual7 offices remained empty. Employees were advised to carry out their daily work from the home office as far as possible and to come into the office only in urgent cases and in compliance with the guidelines, such as wearing a mouth/nose protection mask and maintaining the safety distance. The restructuring of activities in the projects was associated with a significantly higher challenge. In the end, the managing director and employees were able to convince the customer with their competence and independent working methods. While the internal infrastructure and the support of numerous customer projects could be ensured, there were increasing reports in the media of short-time work and wage losses due to the pandemic. However, virtual7 GmbH was able to quickly put concerns about short-time work to rest. With a 28% increase in sales, the company recorded its most successful year since its founding in 2020.
Another critical issue during the pandemic so far has been securing childcare. Many employees, like the CEOs, are parents. They are aware of the difficulty of balancing childcare and the workday. In order to offer employees the opportunity to combine their daily work routine with childcare, virtual7 GmbH provided €30,000 for employees with children in need of care, should one of the parents take time off to care for them and thus forgo a salary. This relieved the burden on employees and compensated for possible financial losses during the period of daycare and school closures.