Erik Gustafsson is the department manager at Ragn-Sells Häradsudden
Erik Gustafsson is the department manager at Ragn-Sells Häradsudden.

New ways of working and increased safety awareness during Corona

Working digitally from home, “walk and talk” meetings outdoors and face masks with filters that keep infection at bay are all examples of the way in which Ragn-Sells has adapted its procedures during the corona pandemic. These measures have produced an effect in the form of a rate of absence due to illness within the company that is significantly lower than estimated.

10 Jul 2020

Just like a lot of other companies, Ragn-Sells has had to adjust its operations and adapt them to the current covid-19 situation. Early on during the pandemic, risk analyses and action plans were drawn up for the environmental services company’s employees.

– All our office staff have been working from home via our digital platforms. We’ve not been accepting visits at our facilities from outside parties and we’ve cut back on travel. Simply put, it’s been a matter of finding a new way of doing things, says Caroline Hübenette, HR manager at Ragn-Sells.

Caroline Hübinette, HR manager at Ragn-Sells.

Caroline Hübenette is the HR manager at Ragn-Sells.

Fulfilling an important social function

For certain professional categories within Ragn-Sells, including the environmental service workers, the corona pandemic has not brought any great changes in how they work.

– Many of our professional categories fulfil an important social function and society depends on them being able to do their work, says Caroline Hübenette. “For these workers, their working day has carried on as before, though we have of course taken extra safety precautions in the form of protective equipment in order to minimise the risk of exposure to infection. 

For Susanne Persson, who is a section leader in water and waste in central Sweden, the corona pandemic has meant greater consideration of safety.  

– Our employees move about in society and visit homes, industries and workshops, and our priority has been to protect them. We have therefore invested in face masks with filters that keep infection out, she says.  

Physical meetings held outdoors 

At Ragn-Sells’ Häradsudden recycling facility outside Norrköping, they have found a new way of having meetings – outdoors.  

– It really started when we needed to recruit new staff and hold appointment interviews, says Erik Gustafsson, who is the department manager at Häradsudden.

– Initial meetings with the recruits were digital, after which we invited three of them into the plant, where we met them outdoors while socially distancing. We toured the plant, and in this way the recruits got to meet the people who work out in the field and see how we operate. These were the best appointment interviews we’ve ever had and we’re going to carry on doing them like this.

They have even bought in outdoor furniture for the plant’s conference centre in order to have meetings with outside parties outdoors.  

– Because we’ve been really strict about not having outside visitors inside our premises, we have taken up these “walk-and-talk” meetings, where we walk around the plant, and for discussions about purchasing, for example. It’s good to be out in the real world instead of in an office. Plus, it’s nice to take a stroll, says Erik Gustafsson.  

Measures that produce an effect 

The change in the way we work in response to covid-19 has always been challenging, however.  

– A lot of people find not meeting their colleagues really tedious in social terms. It is also a struggle to bring structure to on-line meetings. And in some relation-building dialogues nothing can replace the personal meeting, says Caroline Hübenette.  

Ragn-Sells’ efforts in response to covid-19 have produced results in sickness figures that are significantly lower than initial estimates.  

– The fact that the measures we took have produced an effect does of course feel really good. A lot of good has also come from this pandemic. Reduced travel is one example. This frees up more time for our employees and means that we have reduced our CO2 emissions.