Now that some of the restrictions imposed on our lives are being eased, we dare to look back at the weeks behind us. Despite the great challenges we have faced, we were able to successfully complete numerous projects. In cases where this was not possible due to the mandated hygiene measures and social distancing, we were able to find alternative solutions acceptable to both us and our clients. We are proud of these achievements and see them as an indication of our problem-solving skills and reliability even in these particularly challenging circumstances. Our entire team has clearly demonstrated that our slogan “Research to rely on,” to which we pledge allegiance in our mission statement, applies also and especially in crisis situations. I would like to illuminate a few aspects of our successful crisis management.
We formed a crisis management team way back in early March. Because of the constantly changing situation, one of the team’s tasks was to issue a daily assessment of the implications of Covid-19 for our business. Hygiene measures, the business community, working from home, prioritizing projects and short-time work were just some of the topics that were constantly being reassessed and adapted to what was needed. Which studies can or should we continue and what do we have to do to make this even possible? Which projects should be suspended and then resumed or re-started at a later time? Looking back, the fact that we made the right decisions at the time can be attributed to this team as well as to the understanding and cooperation of our clients. The projects that we and our clients considered worth continuing have since been successfully completed. The projects suspended in March and April to ensure safety are currently starting again.
At a time like this, when new challenges arise almost daily, it is essential to be flexible. For example, our IT department quickly adapted the existing infrastructure to the new needs, enabling all of the impacted employees to work from home. The employees who remained in the office practiced the required social distancing and spread out to the many offices that were now empty. Some of the teams split their time in the office into two shifts. This precaution meant that, if anyone were to come down with Sars-Cov2, the chain of infection could be broken. We used digital applications such as chat programs, video conferencing and podcasts to adapt internal and external communication to the new situation.
Willingness and hands-on mentality
Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary measures. Our staff was overwhelmingly willing and ready to cope with the crisis. Some of our employees sewed hundred of masks for the common good. Some applied their pharmaceutical training to developing proderm’s own disinfectant. And in no time at all, others erected Plexiglas panes, installed soap dispensers and posted signs informing employees and test persons of the new hygiene regulations.
Social distancing and working from home while home schooling children can be grueling. A recent survey by the social network LinkedIn revealed that a third of participants were tense, irritable and anxious when working from home long-term. However, our employees managed to keep their positive attitudes the whole time. This can be attributed on the one hand to a high degree of self-discipline and personal responsibility. And on the other hand new offers were provided and utilized. One example is the newly created forum on “I feel good.” This platform allows users to share information on the online offerings intended solely to serve the best interests of participants. They include e.g. physical fitness seminars, back exercises, board games, fantasy trips and tips on how to structure your day. Then there is a proderm cyber café and the initiative “Send a Smile,” a newsletter that allows you to send someone a smile. And a virtual gratitude tree was created as a worthy place to show appreciation in these times. All of these things had a positive impact on the morale and performance of the team.
We firmly believe that the reliability of a partner – whether in times of crisis or not – is invaluable. We are committed to this “reliability” and express it best in the slogan developed along with our employees: “Research to rely on.” Covid-19 has tested us and our reliability like nothing else ever has, and we are proud to have successfully mastered the challenge.