This past year, for Covid-safety reasons, many of our employees needed to work from home. Although there are many positives to remote working, it also introduced a new set of challenges. More meetings, more emails and increased pressure on employees to get organised and to manage their day ensued.
It was new territory for all, and there was an urgent need to ensure that the time between professional and personal lives was respected for the sanity of every single employee. But we also needed to stay focused on delivering for the customer.
Acknowledging this challenge, Ageas Portugal Group introduced the concept of ‘Ageas O’Clock’ creating special guidelines around managing time when working from home. A simple set of guidelines were created around 4 themes:
1) Ways to better manage and prioritise emails. For example, if you are on holiday then disconnect, and avoid sending e-mails late at night or over the weekend obliging others to respond.
2) Rules to increase the efficiency of meetings and to respect others’ time.
For instance, meetings after 6PM and on Friday afternoon are discouraged.
3) Guidelines on best practices when interacting remotely with colleagues, by for instance turning on your camera to share a smile.
4) And finally, recommendations dedicated to managers, reminding them to clearly define with each team member how they will collaborate, and then applying trust.
So far 78% of the Portuguese employees and managers surveyed on the application of ‘Ageas O’Clock’-guidelines confirmed that the rules had been embraced and were leading to real improvements in practice. We are still on a learning curve but ready to evolve this initiative further within the context of a hybrid work model, a new reality. It will be a steep slope but there are many employees motivated and encouraging peers to join the proverbial ‘Ageas O’Clock time zone’.