Branko Milutinović Chief Executive Officer
Date: May 20, 2020 Tags: Nordeus at Home SUBSCRIBE
LIFE AT NORDEUS

NORDEUS AT HOME – OR THE OFFICE?

Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s back to work we go… or not, as the case may be. 

It’s been two long months since we closed our office and started working from home. The world has changed, people’s habits and routines have adapted, and as we start heading to a ‘new normal’ we have to do the same once again. We’ve already introduced Flexible Friday, and we will take two weeks off as an additional mental break from work, but what’s actually next for us in terms of physical space? 

As restrictions are being lifted, and offices are opening up, we are looking into what we do as a company. What we want to do is to start going back to normal, learn and evolve, and be prepared for whatever the potential reality might be in the future. We will continue to put our people’s wellbeing first, and with that in mind, we will not rush back to the office, but rather continue to monitor the situation, look at the data, and gradually open up our space to aid those that need access to be productive. 

We’ve spoken before about how we are lucky to work in a digital industry, so we managed to transition very quickly and smoothly to WFH mode. We kept our games running and entertaining millions around the world, and even celebrated Top Eleven’s 10th birthday. And, Nordeus Hub continued to deliver on a number of community events, by running various online workshops and webinars. However, we have also got a bit tired along the way, and we know a few of us are eagerly looking forward to going back to our office… if nothing else, to change the environment and remind ourselves what it feels like when we know we’re done with work and our private life begins.

HOW CAN WE GO BACK TO OUR OFFICE, IN A SAFE WAY?

A bunch of really caring people have worked super hard, and considered all the available resources out there in order to come up with a custom-made strategy to reverse this huge change that we went through. To get a better understanding and grasp of the whole picture, here are the resources we’ve been looking at:

  • External sources – government guidance, global and local health agencies (WHO and government health institutions), epidemiological data modelling, practices of world’s leading companies, outside health expertise (e.g. HSE outsourcer)
  • Our people’s individual circumstances – 70% of the team answered a survey, giving us their honest opinions, concerns and ideas, which gave us a great overview of how to customize the approach. 
  • Fact based decision criteria that allows us to objectively assess how safe it is to move forward with relaxing the measures and coming back to our office again.
Highlights of Nordeus ‘back to the office’ All-Hands

SO WHAT’S OUR STRATEGY?

There are so many pieces of the puzzle we are piecing together, and we are giving our best to customize according to our specific circumstances, company size and culture. The strategy we are taking involves:

  • Staggered approach – we will follow science based metrics for deciding when and how to move through the stages. Every stage will have a defined number of people working from the office and a set of measures that we’re taking so we keep the office a safe place. The stages will be reviewed every two weeks and we’ll let everyone know if we can welcome more people back. 
  • Volunteer based approach – we will let everyone assess their private situation, and come back when they are ready or the situation gets back to normal.

Everything is based on two main principles, which involve full mutual trust and personal responsibility:

  • We can only conquer this together – acting responsibly represents an act of deep respect and love for our teammates and their loved ones. So many of us wrote in the survey that we will only be happy and care-free to come back if everyone takes the precautions seriously, as we live with or take care of others who might be sensitive groups. We are really lucky to have gone through the pandemic with no serious consequences to our families, and we all play a huge role in keeping it that way going forward. 
  • Freedom through responsibility – we will give clear guidelines and recommendations on how to stay safe, even with reminders in our offices (it’s not easy to change habits), but the responsibility for following through will rest upon every single one of us. 

WHERE ARE WE NOW?

As of today, we have opened up the office for a small group of people who really feel the urge for a change of the environment, while still defaulting WFH during this stage.

At this moment, we can welcome up to 20% of our people to come back to the office and they are asked to follow a couple of ground rules:

  • 1 person per 1 room (eg. office, elevator, restroom, etc)
  • Keep the safe 2 meter social distance
  • Wear a mask when in contact with others
  • Wash your hands regularly 

We count on everyone to be independent, talk to others and agree between each other on a daily basis. These 20% will be dynamic, meaning the group could be different every day. If this turns out to be too simplistic an approach, we will consider changing. 

As we look at this from a company perspective, this is not about improving business impact, productivity and collaboration, but rather about preserving our mental health. Every two weeks we will look at the official metrics again and check if we can move stages and welcome back more people to the office. This will bring more flexibility, more people in our offices and our usual services. Best news of all, we are all heavily missing the creative part of our work and solving complex problems and innovating – this could start happening in this stage under controlled conditions. 

ARE WE DOING OK?

This situation has been such a huge influence on us, and continues to do so. We will get through this together, with a lot of empathy, trust and collaboration. With some learnings as well, whether about new ways of working together, seizing new opportunities or coping with changes. Having said that, we are organizing a talk with a mental health expert to help us with concrete ways to build resilience to constant changes. We will also keep finding ways to release some pressure –  workload stays at 80% as planned, and we are keeping Flexible Fridays.

And finally, in order to truly be mindful of ourselves and our family, we have announced our office closure for two weeks in the summer, so our people can fully reset. We might all have some vacation plans already, and this office closure will not affect them. 

We feel pretty confident that by working through this together we’ll all stay safe and sane.

Much love,

Branko

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