Milica Stojanovic, Managing Director Serbia, Seavus Group and Tatjana Bosevska, Banking & Finance Division Manager talk about the ways Seavus faced the public health emergency situation and the plans for returning to the office.
How did your company face the pandemic? Which employee categories started working from home and which accepted the hybrid work model (working partly from home, partly at the office)? Were there any changes in the strategy during last year?
Milica Stojanovic – Managing Director Serbia, Seavus Group
At the beginning of the pandemic, Seavus recognized that the only option to save the health of employees was introducing the “work from home” model. Having in mind that Seavus employs more than 800 experts in 15 offices around the world, we offered some of our employees the chance to work from home. Since this was not the case with all employees and did not imply a daily practice of working from home, we had to adjust to the new organization of work over night. Having in mind that we work in distributed teams, we rapidly adjusted all systems and processes to the “work from home” model.
From the beginning of the pandemic our employees have had no need or obligation to come to the office and we have not changed our strategy. If an employee feels that the working conditions at home are not adequate or the job requires access to specific documentation or equipment, the employee can work from the office, providing that all preventive measures have been applied.
What can you tell us about employee performance after more than 12 months of working from home? How did you assess employee productivity and did their productivity increase or increase compared to the previous period?
Milica Stojanovic:After implementing the new work model for more than a year, our general impression is that our colleagues have shown a high level of productivity and responsibility. Since we are used to working in distributed teams, remote productivity control and assessment has not been a difficult challenge to face. On the other hand, our employees have recognized the company’s efforts to maintain the achieved results, and have therefore accepted their tasks in a very professional manner. We have all had the same goal – to work together in order to overcome this challenging period with minimum negative consequences. Our joint efforts made 2020 a very successful year. Additionally, at the end of the year, Seavus was acquired by ARICOMA Group, the leading IT holding company in the Czech Republic. This acquisition has given us the chance to enter new markets, implement interesting business projects and to welcome new employees.
Has working from home reduced or improved employees’ innovativeness? Could the employees cultivate a team spirit and team work by working from home?
Milica Stojanovic:I am sure that, during this period, all of us have occasionally faced energy drops and a lack of inspiration. Naturally, we all miss team work and exchanging ideas on daily basis; something we were used to while working at the office. However, when it comes to young people, especially engineers, it was not hard to stimulate their creativity online. We tried very hard to organize various online events for our employees in the form of workshops, conferences, webinars and discussions in order to maintain daily communication and motivate all employees. We focused on creating innovative and interesting content so that our employees could socialize and spend quality time at home.
For instance, we prepared numerous informal online get-togethers, such as “Movie nights,” making food and cocktails, organizing workshops for employees’ children, as well as the first sports challenge “Beat yourself” whose aim was to encourage sports activities through an online competition. Additionally, we organized various photo challenges for the employees who used their photographs to offer creative ideas for environmental protection, encouraging sports activities, and developing healthy habits. All of the activities were aimed at keeping the team spirit alive and supporting a positive working atmosphere.
How do the employees feel about the possibility of working from home - would they like to go back to the office or would they prefer to continue the “hybrid work model” after the pandemic?
Milica Stojanovic:On several occasions, we have conducted research on the employees’ desire to go back to the office. So far, research has shown that employees feel safer while working from home. Since Serbia vaccinated a large number of citizens, more and more employees chose to work at the office for several days a week. The company has decided that, by the end of this year, the employees will not be under any obligation to work from the business offices. The preferences of our employees will definitely shape the company’s organization in the future.
Do you think that business trips will be reduced in the post-COVID period? Can virtual meetings replace all or only some of the contacts with colleagues and clients who are geographically very far from you?
Milica Stojanovic: I suppose that the frequency of business trips will be optimized during the post-COVID period, but I also think that people miss “live” meetings and communication. I am sure that time and circumstances will shape our business operations in the future. As a company which provides various services in the field of software development, we have offered our employees a chance to work from home for more than 20 years, which has prepared us for numerous challenging options and situations. Thanks to our business model, last year was very successful for our company, as we managed to adapt to the new situation and enhance the quality of the services that we provide.
Your company organized numerous online events last year, primarily webinars. What are your plans for this year?
Tatjana Bosevska – Banking & Finance Division Manager
Last year, we organized 6 very successful remote webinars and gave the participants the chance to learn more about tools such as Atlassian, Cherwell and Salesforce. In April 2021, we opened the season by organizing the online webinar “Driving Digital Transformation in the Banking Industry: Bridging Customer Expectations and IT Services.” During the webinar, we had the chance to hear more about the challenges and experience of banking experts from Serbia, Croatia, and North Macedonia, as well as to learn about new trends in Sweden and the Czech Republic. I would like to mention some of the most important topics that were discussed: the digital experience of the customers, the impact of digitalization on Serbian banks, the modernization of banking systems, the challenges of cyber security, and big data security breaches.
We are proud to say that our webinar was attended by more than 140 participants who showed great interest in IT technologies and services offered by the banking industry. This has given us an outstanding base for planning and organizing our new webinar that you will be informed about soon.
Can you tell us more about your division? Do you plan to employ new staff in the future?
Tatjana Bosevska:The Seavus Banking & Finance Division focuses on IT solutions for banking and the FinTech industry. The division has operated successfully for more than 20 years and has employed more than 130 experts who focus on the development and integration of modern and innovative IT solutions in the banking industry. So far, we have had outstanding cooperation with banks and fintech startups from the Nordic region, the US, and leading banks from our region. Our primary services imply developing the system and solutions for digital transformation, process optimization and automation, modernization of the banking system, and developing custom payment solutions. With our support, numerous banks have successfully transformed their digital services and offered their customers a unique and innovative digital experience. It is very important to emphasize that the increased demand for modern solutions and the digitalization of the banking systems and processes create new employment opportunities.
Aside from working on interesting projects and modern technologies, we offer our employees a chance for continuous professional advancement and an exceptional working atmosphere. On this occasion, I would like to invite all interested professionals to apply for a job and continue growing their career with our company.
This article was originally published on PC Press.