Tsurumi America Inc. employees in Chicago physically met for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in March. Wearing masks and keeping six feet of distance in the company’s spacious warehouse in Glendale Heights, Illinois, coworkers from different departments shared their experience of working from home in the last four months and how things have changed in their routines during the lockdown. Attendees participated in a presentation on innovation and discussed how to promote it at work.
To ensure a safe environment at the meeting on Friday, Tsurumi followed the guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health, which included providing hand hygiene at the entrance of the warehouse and requesting employees who were sick to remain at home. The initial plan was to hold the meeting outdoors, but due to the rain the company moved it to the warehouse.
“It was not an ordinary work meeting,” said Glenn Wieczorek, managing director, Tsurumi. “Some employees have reached out to us saying that they really missed their coworkers and that they would like to get together, so as some workplaces are reopening we thought about giving them an opportunity to meet again, see how each other are doing, while making sure that everyone was safe.”
Wieczorek explained that Tsurumi is not requesting its personnel to go back to the office, and the majority are still working remotely. Over the last four months, the manufacturer has registered the same high productivity level from before the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’ve been successful and effective on our approach. Our North American customers are happy and our team is staying safe, so there is no rush to go back to the office,” Wieczorek said. “We can always reevaluate things one, two months from now, if that’s the case. But I believe some changes have come to stay and working remotely will probably become the new normal.”