HR Manager Lies Van Biervliet is facing one of the most challenging periods of her career at ION. Find out how she is tackling the corona crisis within the company.
Marc Van Ranst participated in the TV programme De Afspraak on the evening of Wednesday 11 March. It was a real eye-opener. The impending shortage of hospital beds and the "flatten the curve principle" brought about a mind switch!
Merely a day later, the world was turned upside down. COVID-19 overshadowed the agenda of the day: what measures can we take? How do we communicate? What are our obligations? …
We weren't the only ones dealing with the shock. On Thursday afternoon there were already rumours here and there that Belgium would go into lockdown. Lockdown!? Whatever it meant, it was serious.
No handshakes, keeping our distance, sneezing in a handkerchief and staying home when sick became a matter of course. But it even went much further. From Monday 16 March until 3 April, schools closed their doors and teleworking became the rule. "Stay at home!", Maggie De Block said.
Until 3 April... Sigh of relief. So, after that, would we all be able to head to the Tour of Flanders together!?
On Friday 13 March, everyone at ION packed up. We put away our laptops, screens and files, and headed home to continue our work from there.
"Have a nice weekend and see you on Monday!" Oh right, not really...
IT Manager Ruben and his team got everything ready in no time. Suddenly we all managed to work and meet remotely! It’s remarkable to see how this virus has accelerated certain things.
At first we thought, "OK, 3 weeks of lockdown, 3 weeks to finish our long to-do lists, to optimise, to...". Our Legal Team even created a "corona list".
An empty Waregem Business Park
Monday morning, March 16th.
A quick breakfast, jump into the car, wait at the red lights, traffic jams, drop the children off at school and head off to work in a hurry... Not this time. We were working from home.
Our offices were empty, except for the sun shining inside.
And while everyone was working at home, our management crunched the numbers.
When sites shut down, notaries postpone deeds and potential buyers tend to wait and see... It’s easy to do the maths.
Since we want to continue working with our team after the corona crisis, we opted for solidarity.
On Friday 20 March, our CEOs Kristof, Rik and Davy spoke to all employees via a live video stream.
Since the second week of the corona crisis, nobody is working at 100%. Every employee, including the management, was asked to accept a pay cut.
The measures taken by the authorities also play an important role. Employees receive 70% of a capped salary for the days of temporary unemployment, plus €5.63 per day and a refund for water, electricity and gas. The complex 'force majeure' and 'economic reasons' procedures have been simplified into a single corona procedure.
The ‘IONists’, as we like to call our staff, appreciate the solidarity approach and the transparent communication.
ION is known for its great team spirit and dynamics, and for the IONcafés on Fridays. We won’t let corona throw a spanner in the works.
In addition to a lot of (telephone) contact within the teams, we have launched a weekly CoronaChallenge that keeps our IONists connected: in our ION WhatsApp group, photos are posted every day of sports activities, dishes, ways to relax, online catch-ups and drinks, and much more...
We are receiving plenty of suggestions for the next challenges. The mindset is positive and the atmosphere among colleagues is good!
It is striking that, for now, not a single employee has tested positive for COVID-19. Apart from about 5 sick employees during the first week of the corona crisis (none of whom had a positive test), everyone is still healthy and well.
Identifying who is immune and who is not would be very useful, because that would give us an insight into who can sit together in the event of a possible restart and who is (not) at risk of infection.
Our restart plan is ready.
Our offices are large enough for our employees to work at a safe distance from one another and we can guarantee the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures.
As soon as circumstances allow for it, ION is ready to go for it 200% once again, stronger than ever!