Rapid COVID-19 adaptation at our offices worldwide

As a global energy company, with activities that affect many people’s access to energy around the world, closing down was never an option during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Therefore, we rapidly implemented COVID-19 initiatives at all our offices around the world, to help our colleagues stay productive and safe - at home or in the workplace.

The COVID-19 outbreak has affected, and still is affecting, many industries and businesses. Some workplaces have implemented strict restrictions, while others have moved to more flexible work arrangements in order to keep things running.

Our MAKEEN Energy offices in Portugal and the UK have shared their COVID-19 initiatives and how they handled and adapted to the new normal working conditions.

Prepared for the unpredictable in Portugal

At the Portugal office – responsible for our activities in Iberia and the Americas – they never stopped working. Already from the initial stages of the pandemic, they decided to send 100% of the office staff home to work remotely.

Fortunately, the work structure in Portugal is very agile, with the organisation already divided into autonomous, self-organising and cross-functional teams, each responsible for 5 countries. As a result, they were already accustomed to working with various online collaboration tools and remotely coordinating with each other. They could therefore act quickly and adapt easily to these new working conditions without major disruptions.

João Cardoso, Regional Director at our office in Portugal, elaborates:

"The most interesting thing was to see the speed and agility in our reaction to this challenge. The key is to have your organization always trained in Change Management. The mind-set must be ready for change!"

illustration of a worker working from home
illustration of a worker working from home

Pulling together, separately, in the UK

When the full impact of COVID-19 hit the UK, our colleagues in the UK office pulled together and did not hesitate to set up suitable arrangements. After assessing the risk to the organisation and discussing different options, they implemented few important initiatives to keep the wheels turning.

The workshop team split into working shifts – one morning and one afternoon shift – in order to avoid cross-contamination. This separation ensured that if someone did catch COVID-19, they could still keep working. The management also issued cleaning and sanitising products, staff underwent regular temperature checks and everyone kept a safe distance.  

As the UK authorities classified service engineers as essential workers, the office had to receive letters of authorisation from the customers in advance, in order to allow them to travel during lockdown periods.

Working remotely from home

Where the office staff could work from home, our UK team made arrangements to set them up with computer and phone system access. In that way, the UK Sales and Accounts departments could carry on supporting the customers and suppliers.

With a number of “at risk” staff, the working from home initiative will continue at the UK office, while conditions are still uncertain – even though it was deemed safe to operate as normally as possible by the end of June.

Due to the UK office’s great effort and proactive approach they were able to continue working and fully support the customers during these difficult times.

Tackling roadblocks in Malaysia 

When COVID-19 started raging in Malaysia, only essential services and businesses approved by the government were allowed to work. Luckily, the government declared our colleagues in Malaysia as essential service providers, and they could therefore keep working throughout the pandemic.

With roadblocks everywhere and the constant need to present a work permission letter for validation whenever going outside, we encouraged our office staff in Malaysia to work remotely from home.

Remote commissioning, while hoping for the best 

Especially overseas service operations were a challenge, since many borders were closed, and 2 weeks of quarantine was mandatory for special permitted travellers. Therefore, in order to still complete projects on time, our team in Malaysia had to fully rely on remote commissioning – finding qualified local agents who met local requirements and could complete the projects via online supervision.

This turned out to be a successful way to remotely manage and commission projects during COVID-19, and our colleagues in Malaysia hope to continue this way until this global situation is more certain. Though, due to the now worsening situation in Malaysia and many other countries, this may have long prospects.

Nevertheless, whatever the future brings our colleagues are ready – hoping for the best.