How Enel is involving employees in Future of Work plans
I’ll be the first to admit I love going into the office. It’s how I’ve worked best for over 35 years. So you can imagine some of my concerns last year when we shifted the majority of our North American employees – those not required on site or in the control room – to work fully remote. I wondered if we could pull it off, did we have the right technology available, will our employees be okay during such an uncertain time for themselves and their families, will there be obstacles we didn’t see coming. But the decision was clear, and the risks of not transitioning to remote work, far outweighed the challenges. The safety of our employees comes first, no matter what.
Thankfully, we made the decision early on in our region, as our global headquarters in Italy was unfortunately already responding to the seriousness of the virus. It was still though somewhat new territory for Enel – we had created hybrid work schedules before, but not at this speed or scale. However, we’re no stranger to big changes, so I knew, above all else, we’d figure it out together.
Fast forward to today, and we’ve adopted an entirely new flexible work model at Enel – permanently. This time, not because we have to, but because we believe it’s the best path forward. So what changed, from then to now?
I’ll start with two major learnings from the past year and a half that led to the decision –
First, our technology infrastructure was up to the task. Globally, Enel was the first large utility company to fully embrace the cloud model in 2019. We’ve been investing in digitalization efforts across every aspect of the company for many years, and this gave us a flexibility advantage.
Our information and communication systems passed the stress test for those employees who moved to remote work. And at the same time, our employees in the field – who can’t build and service wind turbines or solar panels from home – deployed new digital solutions to minimize human contact and continue their work safely.
Second, our employees’ feedback on remote work was positive, despite challenging times. Many studies have shown how flexibility leads to increased productivity. Our own research supports the same. We surveyed 43,000 Enel employees globally and found that more flexibility and autonomy was resulting in more satisfaction and productivity in their work.
I have to say, I’ve been so impressed. Amid the pandemic, Enel employees adapted and continued to move the business forward in inspiring fashion.
Ultimately, when designing our future working model, we put the decision in the hands of employees.
It was clear our employees had a vision of how they want to work and what best suits them. So we asked each team to decide together on the best fit to maximize their productivity and wellbeing.
Options included fully remote, remote-first, office-first and onsite. In all the responses we received in North America, only about 200 employees chose to be fully remote. The majority elected to take advantage of the office when needed for certain activities.
Many of the changes brought on by the pandemic are here to stay, so we’re looking ahead at the needs of our workforce and how we’ll continue to accelerate the energy transition in North America. I’m optimistic on both fronts because of the resilience and strength I’ve seen from our employees, who have remained committed to the pursuit of our mission to build a brighter future together.
If that sounds like a mission you believe in too, join us. Learn more about career opportunities with Enel on our website.