On June 24, the daily French financial newspaper Les Echos published an interview with Primexis HR Manager Alexandra Gerondeau. In it she reflects on the experience of working during the Covid crisis — and the effect it has had on Primexis and the way forward. Below is her interview translated…
Published in Les Echos on June 24, 2021 : click here for the french version
“There is a real desire on the part of our teams to return to the site a few days a week.”
Three questions to Alexandra Gerondeau, HR Manager at Primexis, a consulting and accounting firm.
To strengthen cohesion among employees and meet their expectations, the consulting firm Primexis is strengthening its position on remote work.
What lessons have you learned from your experience in 2020?
Overall, it was positive for everyone. We had already been teleworking since 2018, so 100% teleworking was very easy to implement, with the right equipment and quality work delivered.
Employees appreciated the flexibility, the ability to organize themselves, but also the levels of autonomy and individual accountability granted. We set up an online training platform to maintain the workshop schedule. Our entire evaluation process was also computerized. It was essential to ensure continuity with what we were used to doing and to provide benchmarks.
Remote management requires a different organization and communication methods. The teams were regularly contacted by the manager-coaches, and virtual cafés were organized to maintain links. It is with all these tools that we have succeeded in maintaining a sense of belonging.
Will this organization continue?
Some limitations have appeared in the 100% remote operation, particularly in relation to motivation. In the feedback we got during the WorkAnyWhereIndex® survey conducted in April 2021, we heard a real need and desire from employees to come back on site a few days a week.
Our employees, whose average age is around 32, appreciate life at the firm, its social aspect, and willingly participate in all the festive and sporting events that we organize. There is a strong sense of pride and belonging at Primexis. There is a team synergy in the office.
Since 2018, we have been working in flex office. And when we come on site, we can just as easily work on files together, participate in a meeting, isolate ourselves in a cubicle or exchange in the relaxation areas.
What changes are planned?
We want to keep a hybrid organization, mixing face-to-face and remote work. We have started a discussion with the social and economic committee in 2020 to change the charter on telecommuting that was put in place in 2018. We need to give more flexibility, with a maximum number of remote work days allowed per week. We also want to take into account certain specificities to develop telework in all fairness. This especially concerns employees who work for a client, who must of course give their consent.
It remains essential to take individual concerns into account, by trying to regulate the workload of teams as well as possible and by giving a strong place to the meaning and recognition of work.