A building entrance crowded with employees coming to work. A massive meeting room packed with participants exchanging ideas face-to-face. An underground cafeteria lined up with the people waiting for lunch and a group of office workers trying to grab a beer after work. These were what we had associated with everyday lives in the corporate world.
However, COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us that the things we had taken for granted would not be something immutable. Work-from-home policy and social distancing campaign have made a crowded office building a thing of the past. People have become familiarized with meeting up in the virtual place and having lunch over a plastic barrier.
As the spread of the COVID-19 shows no signs of abating, companies worldwide have come up with various ways to fight against the virus. Here are examples of how Hyundai Capital, a global financing company operating in 11 countries under the names of “Hyundai Finance,” “Kia Finance” or “Genesis Finance,” is seeking to keep its employees safe and engaged during the pandemic.6-feet rule campaign posters/Hyundai Capital America
(6-feet rule campaign posters/Hyundai Capital America)
If there is a lesson from COVID-19 pandemic, minimizing human contacts is key to preventing the virus’s spread. The awakening has prompted a nationwide “social distancing campaign,” which restricts massive public gatherings – such as religious ceremonies and sporting events. Companies have followed suit, adjusting their working hours to prevent people from being clustered at a small place at the same time.
Some countries – like the US – have come up with specific measures to ensure social distancing. Chief among them is “6-feet rule,” established by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The regulation stipulates that people should stay at least six feet(about 2 meters) apart from each other to avoid massive infection.
Hyundai Capital’s global entities were quick to adopt the rule. For its part, Hyundai Capital America has created campaign posters designed to make its employees abide by 6-feet rule at work. The posters have been in place at HCA offices in Irvine, Atlanta and Dallas to stress the importance of social distancing in the workplace.Clean key and anti-bacterial films
(Left: Smart keys using to touch ATMs and doorknobs, Center: “Care Kit” box designed for HCA employees, Right: Dozens of Care Kit boxes/Hyundai Capital America)
Using anti-bacterial films to protect people from catching the virus has become a standard practice as well. The anti-bacterial films have been put on all commonly touched surfaces at Hyundai Capital’s global entities, including their offices’ doorknobs, elevator keys, printers, microwaves and other touch screens.
HCA will give its employees a Care Kit, which contains two cotton masks and a “clean key.” The key is made of copper alloy, which is capable of killing viruses and other germs by disrupting the protective layers of the organisms. The HCA employees can use the key to minimize direct contacts with public utilities in their day-to-day activities.
In addition to preparatory measures in place, each employee is subject to enhanced hygiene guidelines. At Hyundai Capital Canada(HCCA), each employee must undergo daily temperature checks done by Office Safety Coordinator and wear a mask in the office when they are not at their desk.Virtual Townhall meeting
(Virtual Town Hall meeting/Hyundai Capital Canada)
A massive gathering in a meeting room has become a rarity. Employers are reluctant to muster a large group of employees for public safety concern. Plus, implementing work-from-home and flexible working hour policy have made it even more difficult for people to gather in the same place at the same time.
However, people can’t carry out their work without business meetings. That is why companies have developed a unique form of meeting to ensure employees’ safety: Virtual Town Hall Meeting. Using teleconference apps such as Microsoft’s Zoom, the online meeting can allow people to communicate whenever possible.
Hyundai Capital’s global entities are embracing virtual townhalls as a new forms of in-house communication. On May 15th, HCCA held virtual townhalls, which saw the most attendees in the company’s history of holding the online meeting. The meeting was held twice – morning and afternoon – to accommodate employees’ different working schedule.
Hyundai Capital Bank Europe, for its part, held its first Virtual Townhall meeting in late May to discuss the COVID-19 crisis and other key business matters. Banco Hyundai Capital Brazil(BHCB) held its first “Online Townhall Meeting” in April, where BHCB CEO Cezar Janikian and most BHCB employees participated.
Now the virtual town hall meeting appears to become a new normal. According to HCA’s survey with more than 850 responses, 92 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with the virtual town hall meeting. Employees enjoyed seeing leadership and having them answer a variety of questions during a live Q&A session.Eating lunch over the plastic barrier
(Hyundai Capital employees having lunch over plastic barriers/Ed Jones/AFP/Gettyimages)
COVID-19 has also transformed the way we eat at work. Since February when COVID-19 broke out in Korea, Hyundai Capital has installed plastic barriers at its cafeteria desks to ensure employees enjoy lunch in the safer environment.
Capable of preventing the spread of the virus through droplet, the plastic barriers can allow employees to interact easily without the risk of infection. Plus, Hyundai Capital’s plastic barrier is made of polycarbonate and thus can be much safer than other materials such as acrylic barriers.
“The biggest strength of plastic barriers is that it can allow employees to have lunch without sitting separately,” said an official from Hyundai Capital. “We believe it would be the most effective measure to achieve social distancing at work without creating a sense of isolation.”