What has reality been like for the employees in production and offices?
Together with the Chempark operators, we implemented social distancing regulations for the plants, measured fever at the gates and reorganized shift handovers. Twelve-hour shifts meant major physical changes and extreme stress. I am very grateful that my colleagues have supported us so well. The employees who switched to home office on short notice and had to deal with major challenges due to a lack of childcare facilities also showed great commitment. They mastered the situation flexibly all over the world.
What were the biggest challenges for home office employees?
In many regions of the globe, several members of a household often had to work from home at the same time in close and cramped quarters. Fortunately, the technical challenges were solved by IT quickly. However, it was also a great challenge to keep in touch within the team. The informal exchange of information in the corridor or at the coffee machine was not possible. Many ideas came from the employees themselves, such as a virtual tea time or an online lunch.
Is the Xwork program a good basis for more mobile working?
Mobile working necessitates trust and good communication. As managers, we must encourage and require this. Awareness of this has improved significantly as a result of the crisis. With Xwork, LANXESS has been offering flexibility in working hours and location for years. New forms of work have now proven to be central to keeping processes ongoing under exceptional conditions. How well we are all responding to this crisis also shows that our culture of success, which we have worked hard on, is bearing fruit.