Corporate16/09/2020 2:43:00 PM

Smooth transition: In 16 days, 94% our workforce was working from home

As a global provider of digital solutions, Wolters Kluwer embraces a collaborative culture. Safeguarding the health and safety of our employees and following the guidance from governments and health experts in response to the pandemic, our enterprise went virtual in March 2020. Within sixteen days, 94% of our workforce pivoted to working from home (WFH). The transition was smooth thanks to investments in technology infrastructure, culture, and innovation. Prior to COVID-19, 20% of our 18,600 employees worked remotely, with the majority operating from offices worldwide. Our planning and effort during this transition period and beyond was awarded a 2020 Gold Stevie Award under the category of COVID-19 – Most Innovative Work from Home Plan.

This year, the Stevie Awards created a special COVID-19 category to “honor the contributions of HR and entire organizations that have worked valiantly over the past months to keep employees safe, healthy, employed, paid and informed.” Ultimately, we’re proud to have received recognition of the efforts of our agile, responsive workforce that quickly pivoted to working from home. Due to the pandemic, the future of work in almost every industry immediately came to everyone’s mind and continues to trend in headlines. According to a June 2020 survey from Gartner, 82% of the 127 large companies polled responded that remote work would continue for the near term. We take a closer look at some of the elements that enabled our WFH approach at Wolters Kluwer, and some perspectives from our employees worldwide.

Digital collaboration tools

Supporting our people with technology, guidance, and resources required early activation of incident management teams, global IT support and fast tracking the global expansion of our digital collaboration technologies. In addition, countless communications and valuable resources provided updates to our employees in support of their well-being and productivity.

These efforts enabled our teams to quickly deliver hundreds of COVID-19 related product innovations to help our customers respond to challenges that the pandemic brought to their professions. You can see examples of those on our COVID-19 resources page. Employees also overwhelmingly expressed how safe, engaged, and connected they felt, as reflected in our April employee pulse survey results.

Dedication to support

We continue to support employees as they work from home with tools, training and ongoing communication. When asked about our work from home approach, our CHRO Maryjo Charbonnier said: “The answers to our last employee survey were very positive; however, initially people understandably felt like they had a higher workload as they transitioned to working from home. This is why we launched internal campaigns on how to set up a home office, remote management, and how to work on career development in the current circumstances. We were awarded the 2020 Gold Stevie Award for Great Employers under the category of COVID-19 – Most Innovative Work from Home Plan. I’m very proud of this recognition for our approach.”

Perspectives from our employees and public recognition

Colleagues across Wolters Kluwer have also been sharing how their work lives have changed since the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin Förster, Chief Product Owner for Legal & Regulatory Digital’s CaseWorx Construction solution in Germany, said, “I see huge potential for us as a company in using this focus time in the home office to enhance productivity. For me, it really gave me the opportunity to be a lot more productive.”

It’s a sentiment many have echoed, including Mike Sudmeyer, Digital Segment Lead in the Netherlands, who has discovered that conducting in-depth interviews with customers is easier in the WFH environment than doing so in-person. “Due to the WFH policy, contact with customers has also moved online. Before I wouldn’t be comfortable to conduct in depth interviews virtually, but it turned out to work quite well.” He also misses the face-to-face contact of the office, especially informal meetings that can generate useful insights.

Orsolya Szekely, Product Software Engineering Manager, in Romania, also misses personal contact with colleagues, but has been impressed with how well her team adapted to the entire hiring, onboarding, training and coaching process that was executed virtually for a new colleague.

Aditya Dhavale, Business Systems Analysis Manager in India, reflects on his work from home experience so far, saying, “It actually brought more cohesiveness and bonding between the teams. I have been using my daily commuting time for self-learning, taking courses on LinkedIn Learning. It is also allowing more time for projects without hampering much work-life balance.”

The Stevie® Awards were created in 2002 to honor and generate public recognition of the achievements and positive contributions of organizations and working professionals worldwide, acknowledging the world's best companies to work for, and the HR teams, professionals, achievements, new products, and suppliers that help to create and drive great places to work.

See the full list of winners in the 2020 Stevie® Awards for Great Employers

Hear more from our CHRO’s latest interview with Management Scope

Learn more about careers at Wolters Kluwer

Annemarije Dérogée-Pikaar
Director, Corporate Affairs & Communications
Global Branding & Communications