"Starting next week, we will all work from home."
In 2020, we were suddenly forced to change the way we work when governments around the world asked people to stay home and stay safe from COVID-19. Some associates (employees) worked from home, while some went to the office or worksite—with thorough infection control measures in place—to keep production and operations running. Our teams were more dispersed than ever before, and fewer opportunities for face-to-face communication made it difficult for Terumo to grasp each associate’s situation. How were associates coping with the abrupt change in environment? Did they feel anxious, isolated, or have trouble working? It became a matter of urgency for us to understand the actual situation and provide visible support, and in doing so, create an environment where associates could work without losing engagement and motivation. The following are some of the initiatives undertaken at the Terumo Group sites in Europe and India.
Turning families into strong supporters through internal events
India has been grappling with a difficult situation for a long time due to the spread of COVID-19, starting with the lockdown that took place across the country from March 2020. At one point in time, all of the approximately 50 associates working at Terumo India Pvt. Ltd. (TIPL) in Delhi/NCR Region were working from home. TIPL associates were all staring a new reality. Some call it the "New Normal" some "Next Normal". It was clear to them that the world will evolve in terms of varied experiences whether its Associate Experience or Customer Experience. Balancing their focus on associate safety and wellness while contributing to our Group Mission of "Contributing to Society through Healthcare," TIPL came up with a virtual Associate Engagement Program called "Exploring the Power of WE." Through this vehicle, they implemented several internal support measures that involved family participation allowing them to preserve their familial culture, uplift the spirit of the organization and further embed emotional connections in these testing times.
While working from home, families provide essential support to associates in the form of understanding and physical and emotional care, and this allows associates to feel comfortable and perform their duties to the best of their abilities. To encourage such family involvement, TIPL planned online events that associates could enjoy together with their family members. Several events were organized, including Virtual Family Days, "Inner Picasso" (kids’ painting competition), "Kitchen Ninja" (creative dish-making competition), "Dancing Superstars" (dance competition), and "Best Family Photo" (family photo-sharing opportunity). Each event enjoyed a high participation rate ranging from 60 to 80 percent, which indicated that everyone was looking for a way to connect, even if they were working away from the office.
A painting contest held under the slogan "unleash your kid's inner Picasso"
(The picture used for the banner of this story is also from this contest.)
By inviting associates’ families to participate in various activities hosted by the company, family members also feel connected to Terumo, creating a deeper bond between associates and Terumo. Many of the family members who participated in these events expressed their understanding and approval of Terumo’s corporate culture and the efforts the company was making during COVID-19. These words resonate with the associates themselves and help to increase their motivation to work.
Hints for launching new working styles
A year and a half has passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and new working styles are being explored in various parts of the world. It will become increasingly important for organizations to ensure that all of their employees feel connected and move in the same direction, even if they are working at different times and in different locations. Terumo is taking a look at the many initiatives that each site of the group has implemented through trial and error, in order to find clues on the best ways to create an environment where associates can display their potential to the fullest.