IKEA had checked its pandemic plans in preparation for the coronavirus, as well as its inventory for a crisis like this. More than ten years ago, when IKEA prepared itself for an outbreak of the bird flu, the company bought and stored tens of thousands of face masks.
A part of these enormous quantities that were bought back then are now needed for those employees who are currently working. However, due to the current emergency situation IKEA Austria’s crisis management team decided to donate the second half of the stockpiled masks to medical institutions. 20,000 face masks were handed over to Salzburg’s provincial clinics last Friday. 30,000 masks were taken over by the team of Vienna’s Medical Chamber to be distributed to registered doctors.
Home Office and precautionary measures
IKEA Austria took thorough precautions to be well prepared in this difficult situation. “We have several areas where people are really supporting each other right now. This is particularly true for our staff in both of our major logistics centers in Wels and Strebersdorf, who come to work there every day in these difficult times. I would like to thank them especially for their commitment,” says Business Development Manager Maimuna Mosser.
There are strict rules and safety precautions in place to ensure the health of those employees who work in the service of customers. On the one hand, hygiene measures were reinforced significantly. There are sanitizers available at several locations throughout both logistics centers. All employees get masks and are strongly advised to always keep the minimum distance. Additionally, there are never more than five employees at one location–even when they keep their safety distance. That applies to dressing rooms, rest areas, and canteens.
Almost all of the approximately 200 employees at the company’s headquarters in Vösendorf started to work from home from the very beginning of the curfew, just like the roughly 110 employees of the customer support center. The latter received the necessary equipment from the digital team within two or three days and are now taking care of our customers’ needs in wonderful way. It goes without saying that doing this from home is not so easy. After all, many employees have to take care of their kids who cannot go to school right now. “I am very proud of my team, how fast they organized themselves and how fast they adapted to this difficult situation,” says Customer Support Center Manager Catherine Blake.
Taking part in meetings via Teams had already been quite “normal” before corona struck, but now it has become a central point of today’s work life. Previously, it just used to be easier for everybody and saved many from taking business trips. Now, it has become a great alternative to hold well-organized work meetings as well as a welcome opportunity to stay in contact with colleagues and still get the feeling of “seeing” each other.