"We want to help shape the HR policy of the future"

Hybrid working means that you can do your job well wherever you are, so Elia is rolling out a policy on working both in the office and remotely. Teams have a key role to play here. The company is also setting its sights on multimodal mobility.

The purpose of the office is changing rapidly, including at Elia, as Marie van den Hove, Compensations & Benefits Manager, can testify. "Our offices are somewhere teams can meet, where colleagues can take part in brainstorming sessions or meetings. We don't think it's a good idea to work from home all the time, mainly because humans are inherently social beings and need contact with others. Home working limits opportunities for cooperation and interpersonal contact, which has been proven to have an impact on employee well-being. Some people become stressed because they think they should always be 'on call' at home, so our teams agree on how they want to work together. Good agreements mean good results!"

Elia is fostering a shared corporate culture because it believes in the importance of exchanging good ideas. "Examples include guidelines on choosing between an online or face-to-face meeting, or tips for organising a hybrid meeting with people working both at home and in the office."

Remote working for technicians

Elia could not sit back and relax during the COVID-19 crisis. The transmission of electricity is essential to society, so shutting down was not an option. "Our colleagues in the field were responsible for security of supply. During lockdown, they did deal with some of their admin tasks at home," says Marie.

"That hadn't previously been possible. In the future, too, technical projects and missions in the field will always take priority, but we are certainly prepared to incorporate the positive lessons learned from this crisis into the way we organise our work."

The next step

"We take mobility very seriously at Elia," explains Marie. "We found that more and more colleagues were struggling with the sheer amount of time they lost commuting, which was having a negative effect on their well-being. Remote working was rolled out at Elia a decade ago. We also introduced electric and hybrid cars, though we ran into a lot of teething problems back then. The cars were expensive and not always efficient to use."

This year, however, Elia is taking its next major step forward in terms of mobility under the slogan 'Orange is the new green' (orange is Elia's corporate colour). "We are strongly promoting multimodal mobility. We want our employees to stop thinking of cars first and other alternatives second, but rather to consider mobility as a whole. Cars are only one component of the mobility policy, and not even the most important at that."

Mobility as a Service

Elia is working with specialist partners in order to realise this new vision for mobility. For example, one partner is supplying solutions making it easier to charge electric cars at home while another is offering a full bike-leasing package encompassing bicycles as well as insurance, safety equipment and maintenance. Employees will have considerable freedom of choice, as the range also includes Speed Pedelecs and cargo bikes.

Elia is not jumping into the venture headfirst. A pilot project comprising 20 employees is currently under way, reveals Marie. "The employees are supported by a mobility coach and have a payment card they can use to try out various mobility options. This allows us to gauge how far we can go with Mobility as a Service, or MaaS."

No negative impact

The response from Elia's staff has been largely positive, notes Marie. "But sometimes it's difficult to keep things simple. We have to adhere to the collective agreements in place, there is uncertainty surrounding legislation and the tax rules are complex. We want to avoid any negative impact on our employees or the company, which is why I fully endorse a simplification of the regulations."

Elia wholeheartedly supports the Pioneering Employer Charter (Charte Employeur Pionnier/Charter Baanbrekende Werkgever). "This is a good thing for the Belgian labour market and for employees across the country. Elia wants to contribute to greater well-being and to help shape the HR policy of the future."

Jobat, 2020

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