Thank you for your Commitment

Since March 17, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced people in France to adopt a new way of life. When the government announced the lock-down to slow down the spread of the virus, companies had little time to get organized. A nationwide work-from-home experiment started wherever possible.

Gilles Gay, Head of IT

Gilles Gay, Head of IT

In this unprecedented situation, the health and well-being of employees and customers remains paramount. Enable more than 150 colleagues to work from home was a major challenge for the local IT team at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions in Aix-en-Provence.

Decisions had to be made quickly. The Board and the local crisis team, already on the frontline since the beginning of March, did not hesitate to adopt the home office solution to ensure the health and safety of all staff, whilst strictly complying with government directives.

“Thanks to the commitment and continued efforts of Gilles and Roger, it has been possible to offer a safe work environment for our people and ensure local business continuity” states Maria Yakoubi, Head of HR at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions France.

Despite a flexible worktime policy, the company didn’t have any Home Office Agreement until now. Only those colleagues travelling regularly use a laptop. Not everybody has a business mobile phone either. Knowing that there was not enough hardware and time to equip the rest of the staff, all had to respond and act with increased agility. Many left on Monday evening with their pc towers, screens and keyboards.

RogerCloutier, IT Project Manger

RogerCloutier, IT Project Manger

“Technically and psychologically we were not prepared for this lock-down. We had to learn how to improvise in a complex situation. It took a lot of creativity to install secure remote connection software. We were really surprised how patient our colleagues were. Asking several people to leave the office with their computers and screens under their arms was not that easy. Many asked if they could help us to make sure that everyone was able to work from home”, says Roger Cloutier, IT Project Manager.

Gilles Gay, Head of the IT department in Aix, adds, “It is difficult to be prepared for the unpredictable, but all colleagues mobilized their resources in a spirit of solidarity. That’s precisely what allowed us to send everybody into home office within less than 24 hours.”

The overheated Hotline has never deserved its name more than during the following 48 hours. "There is no network”, “The VPN doesn't work” or “SAP is too slow”, however, the Number 1 emergency call was “What is my password?"

After two days things calmed down a bit. Today, IT resumed an almost normal rhythm with occasional calls for help.

Even though everybody is connected via MS Teams and working in good conditions, all are looking forward to return to the office at the end of the confinement period.

A crisis is a huge threat, but it might also be an opportunity. Lessons will be learned. This experience will hopefully demonstrate that we are able to live up to a common cause and to work in a more flexible, constructive, co-operative and collaborative way.