Zelros: Towards a better version of work
Historically at Zelros, we were quite cautious towards remote work: we are growing very quickly and we feared that a desynchronization between people would kill the company and our ambition. Indeed, collaboration and creativity are essential in a company under construction.
Every revolution requires a breaking moment, the crisis we have just gone through is one of them. Even if Zelros’ mission remains the same, the crisis has brought radical changes in the way we sell our software or interact with our customers for example.
It has also been an opportunity for us to take the time to think about a new work organization compatible with our corporate culture, that would allow us to take advantage of the benefits of remote work while taking its limitations into account
Remote working brings a set of challenges
Three weeks after the lockdown started, and we hastily moved to a 100% virtual organization, we carried out a survey. The results showed that, for around 30% of our employees, working from home wasn’t easy.
These difficulties were often due to a poorly adapted workspace, social isolation (13% of our employees found themselves confined alone) or difficulties in disconnecting at the end of the workday.
Some job roles or activities require face to face exchanges. It is difficult for our Account Executives to create intimacy with clients without informal exchanges. Collective emulation also plays a decisive role in the creative and ideation processes, especially for our R&D team.
Integrating and onboarding our new colleagues in a remotely is also complicated
Other factors more specific to individual situations, such as children in need of care or a feeling of anxiety about the Covid-19, have had an impact on some people’s work.
But also significant advantages
Despite these challenges, working from home remains very popular among Zelros employees, all of them wishing to keep on with it: 35% suggested 3 days of remote work per week, 30% suggested 2 days, when 7.5% would like to work 100% remotely.
The advantage mentioned by almost all surveyed employees is no commuting to/from the office, which for some represents an enormous time saving and reduces daily stress. This time can be used for more rest, sports activity, time with the family, reading, technological watch or earlier working start.
The possibility to adjust one’s agenda to personal and family constraints, and to work from anywhere is highly appreciated.
It is also easier to isolate oneself from distractions and to focus on tasks that require more reflection. Productivity and work quality are positively impacted, collaborators become more results-oriented.
Actions put in place
Very quickly a Random Zoom channel was made available 24 hours a day to allow informal exchanges between employees.
The missing computer equipments have been supplied so that everyone could be as comfortable at home as in our premises.
Routines were created spontaneously: every morning everyone says hello by logging into our collaborative work platform and “mimics” the arrival at the office. A puzzle to be solved each day was posted by our Office Manager in order to create a regular collective dynamic.
We also organized sports and relaxation sessions in videoconference, this was an opportunity to learn HIIT, Zumba or Yoga for many of us.
Finally, once a week we all logged in for a Virtual Happy Hour and online games.
More formally, the co-founders made a weekly update of the situation and of the company adaptations to face the crisis.
We also worked with an association called Vendredi which proposed to us to choose volunteer assignment to be carried out in person (shopping for a neighbour, childcare…) or remotely (English lessons, professional coaching…).
We also showed understanding for employees with children to take care of in this complicated period.
A Chief Corona Officer was appointed to answer all questions.
Experimenting with a new work organization
These results have led us to set up a hybrid model for the workspace, articulating in person and virtual presence for the coming months The office will be used to cover needs for which remote work has shown its limitation (socialization, inspiration, conviviality).
In concrete terms, everyone will spend at least two days a week on our premises and we will all meet one day a month. Those who wish to do so can, of course, come more often.
During the days spent in our premises, priority will be given to interaction, sharing and synchronization activities, while tasks that require more concentration or with a long-term goal will be carried out at home.
We put in place rules and tools so that employees who are not present in the office have access to the same information and do not feel isolated or weighed down during meetings
Because we are not 100% sure that this way of working will be the right one, we have planned to experiment with it until the end of 2020 and we will readapt if necessary.
We made it clear that remote working comes with a very high sense of individual accountability. It is up to each of use to make it work successfully!
To support its success, we will be able to rely on one of our founding values: trust. The trust that Zelros places in its employees, but also the trust that everyone places in their managers and colleagues.
Written by: Laura Fagot, Head of Recruitment at Zelros