Adapting to New Normal: Salvatori Team's Reflections
Working from home quickly became the new normal.
On the 9th March, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a national quarantine in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. With all non-essential shops and businesses ordered to close and restrictions placed on leaving the house, working from home quickly became the new normal. With most of our systems already hosted on Cloud-based services, pivoting to this new ‘smart’ way of working was relatively straightforward but, though our factory was initially able to stay open, the rhythm of normal life for everyone at Salvatori has been profoundly affected.
While the impact of Coronavirus will likely continue to be felt in many years from now, the crisis has had a drastic short term effect on people’s lives, both in Italy and around the world. Here – four weeks into lockdown – members of the Salvatori team reflect on the impact of the crisis on their daily lives, and how they are adapting to a new way of working.
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit, and I think it’s true. It’s getting close to a month now we’ve been in lockdown. At the beginning you just rest and take it easy, but then there’s a second phase – boredom, where you feel the need to go out – and then, suddenly, you enter a new phase. I can now spend a whole day without feeling the need to go out – I open the window and breathe fresh air, of course, but everything is scaled down, even those things that are rooted in Italian culture, like the aperitivo. I’m thinking a lot about how we do business – how we can work at home more and travel less – but also, on a more personal level, I’m realising how important it is to spend time alone. It’s important to find that balance between spending time with other people and being by ourselves, as it’s only when we’re not caught up in the whirlwind of life that we can find that spark that allows us to dream, to have ideas.
Alessandro, Head of Marketing and Communications
It took a few days to settle in to the new situation but now that we have been working permanently from home, I have found a routine and some stability. Fortunately the company has always made use of Cloud-based work systems, so it has not been too difficult to switch to this way of working. The biggest problems I’ve found have been related to the fact we are not able to leave the house – it can be hard to find a balance between your private life and work – and of course there’s always the concern that your loved ones may contract the virus. All we can do is read the current situation and try to make the best of it.
When all this is over, there will be a lot of soft skills – our ability to adapt and to innovate, for example – that will have supported us through these difficult times. If we can standardise them when we return to the office, we will have taken a great step towards new and better working standards.
Michela, Research and Development Specialist
I am a positive thinker and I am keen to use this time to tidy up all the R&D projects I have been working on, to find better solutions with a clearer mind and focus on the real priorities. The crisis has impacted me – it changes the rules of how we work, the relationships with colleagues – but I’ve not stopped. I’m still working at home, organising video calls with my colleagues, staying motivated and updated, just like in the office. I do miss sharing the working day with them, but there are also many opportunities in this situation: I’m spending more time with my family, I’m reading lots and I have time to spend being creative.
Maurizio, Head of Production
The crisis has impacted me on several fronts. The production team were initially allowed to continue working after lockdown, though their work slowed down considerably with the introduction of new anti-contagion measures, and, like me, the technical consultancy department had to start working from home immediately. Eventually the Italian government called for the total shutdown of all non-essential manufacturing and the factory had to close.
I was concerned for my team but I needed to remain calm and rational, and working from home does allow me to have greater concentration and focus. The way we organise work has improved, the meetings are more focused, and the team is tighter and more compact, which also helps with supporting each other mentally and staying motivated.