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22
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01
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2021

Digital Employee Experience

When HR and IT join forces to provide a holistic employee experience during the pandemic
Armando Boccardo
Head of Human Resources
Maria-Eleni Mageira
Manager HR & Communication

The employee experience made the top of senior management's agenda in many organisations, as confirmed by the results of a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit in the paper "The Experience of Work". According to this research, the employee experience is mainly influenced by the quality of the organisation's leadership and its technology. Companies need IT and HR to work together closely and effectively to ensure a smooth journey through all the phases, starting as early as the recruitment stage.

The digital workplace in the 2020s

In the early 2020s, the novel coronavirus outbreak marked the moment when the way we worked was fundamentally changed – the workplace had to become truly digital and it had to do so quickly. Digitally mature organisations and those up to speed with emerging trends had an advantage as they were already using many of the remote-working tools and did not have to build the digital workplace from the ground up.

The challenges

Technology alone does not solve the whole problem. Human interaction is still key, so the employee experience had to integrate new means, such as enterprise social networks, digital collaboration tools and sales enablement platforms for client-facing activities, which continued regardless of the pandemic.

Furthermore, the effective use of technology in the digital workplace is underpinned by certain controls. Clear rules had to be adopted in order to ensure that the digital workplace was both creating business value and adhering to compliance requirements.

Movingdots in this context

Movingdots is a tech company that has digitalisation in its DNA. It was bringing digitalisation to workplaces even before recent developments occurred. At the same time, a feel-good atmosphere was crucial from the very start, as explained in this article. For this reason, Human Resources and IT colleagues worked together to ensure that the digital workplace breaks down communication barriers while fostering efficiency, innovation and growth. A few colleagues kindly agreed to share their point of view to provide insight from the employee perspective. Here is what they said:

"The great technical equipment I received enables me to collaborate with my colleagues quickly and access the information I need rapidly. Working remotely under these circumstances doesn't hinder me in completing my usual daily workload. Movingdots has an effective pandemic plan that allows me to go into the office if I feel the need. I do take advantage of the time I save from commuting too, but as an HR person, it's just hard to imagine a 100% virtual environment." R.P., HR Assistant.

"I have been working at Movingdots for over five years. There was always the option of working from home occasionally and even on business trips, I could take advantage of the modern IT infrastructure. No matter where I was, as long as there was an internet connection, I could open my laptop and start working immediately. I think we were perfectly prepared for the 'new normal' and it was a very smooth transition." M.B., Cloud Platform Developer.

"In my opinion, telecommuting was not a huge change, as we were already able to use this option from time to time. The change to working from home more often due to the pandemic initially sparked concerns that communication would get worse in the long run. Now I think that we've mastered it, adapted it and thus made it a new 'normal' for us. What amazed me was the time saved by not having to commute. I'm now able to use this time more effectively for work-related topics as well as for leisure. That's a big plus for the overall work-life balance. I think that the situation has shown us that everything is possible, which will certainly have an impact on the way we work in the future." N.S., Cloud Platform Developer.

"With the ever-increasing number of software programs and services being moved off premises and the overall flexibility of the cloud, the requirements of a mobile workplace keep decreasing, allowing for a more flexible work environment. Over the past year, I have not encountered any scenarios that could not be managed in any of the working environments I've been in – unless there was an internet outage." D.D., Cloud Platform Developer.

"At the moment, I mostly work from home. This conveniently eliminates my relatively long commute. If I happen to be in the office, there are only a few of us there. In my day-to-day work, I have a lot of contact with my direct colleagues. Unfortunately, there are no more random meetings at the coffee machine. But now, there is some small talk at the beginning or end of meetings instead. The collaboration between colleagues is still great!" H.R., Dual Student in Application Management.

"As expected, communication when working remotely seemed to be a challenge, but we adapted to the new situation quite fast. Before, we used chat programs to talk to each other and called when we had questions, so the work-related topics switched to the new normal with very few problems. Only the casual hallway talk, conversations in front of the coffee machine and lunchtime discussions stopped. But against the cliché of German meeting culture, we started to have some small talk time at the start of all meetings to catch up with each other and maintain the personal closeness despite the physical distance.
And one funny story: In March 2020, I had a call with three colleagues. At that early time in the pandemic, we had been instructed to work from home entirely for two weeks and we were still in the adaption phase. To raise the team's spirit, I showed a piñata wearing my headphones on my camera instead of my face. For the rest of the meeting, my colleagues also showed the stuffed animals they had laying around at home. It seems that the human element during virtual meetings is also appreciated more.
" S.B., Cloud Platform Developer.

"I joined the company in October 2020. It was not an easy decision because of the fully remote contract and the probationary period risks in these uncertain times. All pre-hiring communication was online. There were a couple of phone calls with the hiring manager and a few online technical interviews via Microsoft Teams. I got the signed contract by email, printed and signed it. Pick-up and delivery were organised by HR. During my first week, I had a few online introductory meetings with HR and my manager. I was granted permissions and access to most of the resources I need for my daily job within a couple of days: Microsoft Office 365, time tracking, project documentation etc. I spent the second week in the Bremen office, meeting the team in person and picking up equipment. Since then, I have worked from my home office. In general, there were no communication issues or other kinds of issues related to remote work." A.T., Cloud Platform Developer.

Conclusions

At this point, it's difficult to judge whether society is moving towards fully fledged remote working set-ups or, as COVID-19 leaves our lives hopefully for good, we are going to witness a mixed approach, with office and remote working coexisting. In our view, the importance of personal contact in a flexible workplace will remain strong in the foreseeable future and whether we succeed or not, it will be up to our employees to decide. Movingdots is definitely in good shape. If this piques your curiosity and you want to get in touch with us and, maybe, look for your next career challenge, our careers page is the place to go.

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