The Coronavirus pandemic and the huge changes it brought upon us all, has meant many of us have had to review our working practices and how we balance work and home life.

At Magna, we decided to completely transform the way we work. We were already on a transformative journey, developing our new 10-year strategy with workforce transformation and customer service at the heart of this. So the lock down helped us to see what was possible and we knew that our ambition to have a truly agile workforce was achievable.

Agility is so much more than remote working – our ambition is that people are empowered to work where they need to for the best outcome for our customers and for our colleagues too. Our customers want us to be more accessible and we knew this would be achievable if we were more embedded in our communities. Our colleagues need to be able to balance home schooling, caring for relatives and working from home, so they need flexibility. Our challenge was to work out how we could achieve this.

It was important that we understood fully what the benefits and issues were. We’d had some anecdotal information but we needed more robust data to understand what we needed to change and how. So, during June and July every colleague was invited to a virtual face to face meeting to share their views, and this was followed up with a questionnaire to understand more about some of the issues raised.

Overall the feedback from colleagues was positive and supportive of a more agile approach. There were some people struggling with their physical environment (a lack of space and places to work), some with broadband issues and some struggling to manage their time with home schooling and other caring responsibilities. These were important things for us to understand and get right for the future.

So we set up an internal steering group to develop our new workplace strategy. We have empowered our colleagues to work flexibly, adapting their working patterns around other commitments. We’ve provided technology to improve connectivity and collaborative working. As well as an employee forum, we also have a great wellbeing and support group who are there to listen to our colleagues and provide help and guidance.

We’re at an early stage of this journey. But we have seen that the benefits or a more agile approach far outweigh the negatives, and with our priority to deliver an excellent customer experience, and our ambition to be a great place to work, we are well on our way to deliver this.