Maintaining work-life balance

Sustainability can also be about taking care of yourself during a pandemic while at the same time maintaining productivity and optimizing your work, as told by Caroline, Senior Research Scientist. With a world rapidly changing and posing ever new challenges, companies have to adapt and adjust in order to accommodate the needs arising from novel situations. One such situation, working partly from home, has become an integrated part of our collected work experience.

In spring 2020, the world came to the realization that the Covid-19 virus was rapidly spreading, and it subsequently became classified as a global pandemic. Borders were shut down, most Nation-states imposed stern restrictions upon their citizens and the world seemed to come to a stop. Businesses had to quickly adapt and find alternatives to the usual workplace set-up where it was possible. Probi was one of the companies that took swift action in those uncertain times with the below three key principles and sent its global workforce to work from home:

  • Keep employees safe
  • Provide safe working environment from employees who cannot work from home
  • Continue to meet the needs of its customers and other partners

"It was a little bit of a shock in the beginning"

Probi went out and changed its routines due to the Pandemic. We all had thoughts concerning how long are we going to work from home, how long is this going to continue. -- Caroline Montelius, PhD, Senior Research Scientist

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Caroline Montelius, Senior Research Scientist at Probi, who lives in southern Skåne, Sweden, together with her husband, their two children and their Springer Spaniel, was one of the employees who had to adjust to the new work from home set up. She remembers when the company had to adapt to the circumstances,

“Probi went out and changed its routines due to the Pandemic. It was a little bit of a shock in the beginning, of course. We all had thoughts concerning how long are we going to work from home, how long is this going to continue.”

Almost 18 months later, things would ease up a bit. Vaccines were in the process of being rolled out, while the Pandemic was still active, although to a lesser degree and globally employees had adapted to a flexible work environment. Probi, once again, rose to the occasion. A new way of working was established at Probi from October 2021. Significant focus was put on employee preferences, impact on employee engagement, impact to environment and culture in the design of this new model. This allowed all Probi employees to choose to work partly from home and partly from the office.

“I felt comfortable that we were not mandated from the company how to go about it, but you could choose what suited you personally, in consultation with your manager. This is perfect for me as I have meetings, social interactions, lunches and also on some days get to work from home. It is a really good mix.”

The idea of working partly onsite and off-site seems to Caroline as the best of both worlds. Not only could one, required that one’s workload could be maintained from an off-site location, diminish the spread of the virus, reduce the negative environmental effects of commuting to work every day, and even contribute to a better work-life balance, but also experience heightened productivity and closer work collaborations.

“I get more time with my family. Less stress-related to delivering the kids and picking them up at school, less tension getting to work and meetings. I now have more efficient meetings online, with collaborators and partners all over the world, and still less travel.”

With more quality time at home and in the office, greater efficiency arising from the hybrid model, and enabling a more wholesome work-life balance, Caroline sees Probi as having evolved into an even better workplace than its pre-pandemic counterpart. Content with the new working model, she concludes,

“I feel that this is what Probi has always tried to do, look to the employees, to be forerunners in the world and adjusting to it and finding the best solution for all parties.”

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