A lifelong partner, Generali, provides health, property and casualty insurance in over 50 countries with nearly 72,000 employees. With work teams located in 50 different locations, there was a lot of virtual communication even before the pandemic. However, the new situation also brought challenges, which meant that new concepts had to be developed...
During the pandemic, 95 percent of Generali employees worked from home; this in no way diminished productivity. The pandemic was used as an opportunity to develop sustainable new concepts for employees to work flexibly from home or at different locations. This high percentage of remote workers was maintained because of its success. Generali does not call working from home a home office, but mobile working, as employees are free to decide where they work.
Country Manager Germany Giovanni Liverani's motto is "Crisis is a productive state. You just have to take away the taint of catastrophe from it." (Quote after Max Frisch, Copyright: Generali)
In order to unite office and home office employees, the innovative Smart Working model has been introduced. Mobile working should remain a part of working life, if the employee wants it. In consultation with the team, everyone is free to choose when and how often to work from home.
The Smart Working model offers many advantages, including saving on commuting and business trips or more family time and an increased work-life balance.
Team cohesion during the pandemic
At the beginning of the pandemic, it was particularly important for Generali to provide guidance to its employees, and they made this possible through the new transparency. Giovanni Liverani tried to strengthen cohesion through regular video messages and emails with transparent and daily updated information.
In the Smart Working and Next Normal concept, managers have the central role of coordination: employees are to be available to customers on site, but free and flexible working is also to be made possible for employees. The management style also had to be adapted to the new circumstances of the pandemic. With a focus on team cohesion, Generali managers got creative and offered virtual breakfasts and game nights for team spirit. Event kits were also offered for employees' children, such as cooking and painting classes. In total, more than 70 events were held in the first 18 months.
Discussion forums and Smart Cafés were created for socialising. Especially for single employees, this was a social meeting place to get in touch with other people.
For the "Next Normal" concept, training opportunities and a change manual for hybrid leadership have been created, among other things. By mixing the physical and online presence, events can easily take place in the future with employees from all over the country. This means they can also meet and network online without having to travel to the office or take a business trip.
The Smart Working concept has other positive aspects as well: By saving on travel and on heating, water and electricity consumption, CO2 emissions are reduced, thus lowering the company's ecological footprint. The incidental costs saved can be invested in technical equipment for employees to make smart working even more efficient and ergonomic.
We believe that Generali has found a way to create the best possible way of working for its employees. Both with flexible Smart Working and with their effort to the "Next Normal". Generali is showing that the physical and digital worlds can be easily united and help increase productivity.