Date: 12/05/2020

Living with Covid-19

The AmCham community had a frank exchange of views about going back to work, office arrangements, and challenges after the lockdown

Although Serbia has formally lifted its state of emergency, many companies are reluctant to abandon working from home. Panellists Vera Lukić, of CBS International, Marko Milanković of Nelt, and Natalija Pešić of VIP Mobile shared their firms’ experiences with working arrangements and office layouts and opened a discussion about how to confront the challenges that businesses face.

All firms prioritise employee health and safety requirements, which calls for changes to traditional office spaces and new rules of behaviour in the workplace. With businesses looking at adjustments to office arrangements in line with public health measures and recommendations, the workshop heard about the 6 Feet Office concept, a set of rules that will help make workplaces as safe as possible.

People may still have concerns about going back to work, and so communication between HR units, team managers, and staff was highlighted as a top priority. Psychological support to employees ought to include open communication about their worries and future working arrangements, and should be based on mutual trust. It was also noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated changes firms have long been planning, including allowing staff to work from home.

Attention was also paid to company units that regularly come into contact with partners and customers, and advice was given on how to protect sales and delivery staff, warehouse workers, and other employees that physically interact with people on a daily basis. Whilst the basics include face masks, gloves, and regular disinfection of premises and vehicles, it was concluded that safety procedures were less of a challenge than changing employees’ mindsets. Information overload lends additional importance to open channels of communication and the need to reinforce the message that staff ought to follow these recommendations in the interests of their own welfare.

The event was moderated by Nikola Milosavljević, Chairman of the AmCham HR Forum.

Full video of the event is available here.