Our people

Returning to the office: Mission possible

Kata Barariu, Coca-Cola’s Hellenic Shared Services Director, talks before Forbes Bulgaria about the challenges her team has encountered with working from home and strategies on how to incentivize our employees to return to the office

Kata Baratiu-Forbes Kata Baratiu-Forbes

Kata, leading such a large team, especially remotely, for such a long time, can’t be an easy task. Could you please share how you dealt with this challenge?

We have an organization of 700 people, so the switch wasn’t easy; however, we were more prepared than many other companies. As a Shared Services Center, we work remotely with our customers, have a solid knowledge management system to rely on, and well documented standard procedures. We quickly adapted to the new ways of working by introducing digital routines that allowed us to be on the same page in terms of our strategic priorities and support each other in sharing our experiences in the face of all new challenges.

Our employee’s well-being has always been a top priority and I believe that ensuring that they are thriving both mentally and physically is the pathway to success during the pandemic. Therefore, we provided them with ergonomic chairs, desks, and technics for their homes that maintain productivity through the implication of comfort and involved them in many online programs to boost knowledge and morale.

Many employees report that they feel more comfortable working from home, do you notice such a sentiment with BSO employees? And if yes, how employers can motivate their employees to return to the office?

I believe that there is such a consensus indeed, but we have a clear vision to overcome this. Nowadays, the concept of the office is quite different and new. People should not come to the office and do the same things they could achieve from home. The days that the employee chooses to spend in the office should be filled mainly with collaboration activities like team meetings, events, performance reviews, and cross-stream sessions. This way they can really feel the benefit and increase their motivation. Of course, this requires good planning beforehand, we have still not perfected this, but learning and improving every day and I believe that the best is yet to come.

A great example is my teenage daughter who did not want to return to real-life school but after a few months, she is now loving it, made tons of new friends, and engaged in a lot of social activities. But from time to time she would not mind an online day as well.

You can read the whole interview with Kata Barariu on the Forbes Bulgaria website.