The coronavirus pandemic caught the world unawares, with a large part of the business community forced to switch to a home office setup overnight. For some, the transition presented near-unsurmountable difficulties while others – like Budapest-based Tungsram – sailed on smoothly, as we explore in this last installment of our mini-series with the innovation company.
Going into 2020, the world was already embracing the spread of remote work, with companies offering ‘work from home’ days, co-working spaces popping up everywhere, and digital nomads travelling the world and working from wherever there is an internet connection.
That trend was given a turbocharged boost overnight in March 2020 with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Global Workplace Analytics, a research and consulting firm, estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.
Workflow automation company Zapier found in a poll that 66% of knowledge workers believe the traditional office setting will be obsolete by 2030.
In this environment, a corporation’s IT background and general foresight is key to not only success, but survival as well, says Márta Majtényi, CIO at Tungsram. The Hungarian multinational company has an integrated IT solution that stood the test of the COVID-19 crisis, as the platform worked perfectly in a home office environment.
All corporate devices run on the same platform, and joining a video call or accessing a work-related file is possible from any kind of device.
“Our system proved COVID-resilient even though we installed it way before anyone heard about the coronavirus,” Majtényi says.
From a human resources perspective, the pandemic has proved an eye-opener, according to Katalin Bárány, Tungsram Group HR director.
“Hungary has a lot of catching-up to do when it comes to employers offering a modern workplace, especially with regard to home office,” Bárány says.
The latest statistics show that a mere 3.7% of employees in Hungary worked in a remote work setup, according to 2018 data from the Central Statistical Office. Where an employee lives will cease to be a key hiring factor in an increasing number of cases, Bárány says. Trust will also undergo significant changes as managers will have to learn not to micromanage.
In manufacturing, the trend is quite the opposite, as the current environment calls for heightened oversight. Tungsram implemented entry checks, contact tracing and increased reporting obligations for employees working in manufacturing to prevent the spread of the virus.
There are also complex protocols in place concerning the evacuation and the disinfection of premises in case an infection is detected.