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The HR vision of the flex office at Ecocert by Sandrine Abreu

Sandrine Abreu, HR Manager at Ecocert, talks about the implementation of Jooxter within the company and Ecocert teams. She talks about the evolution of the relationships between employees following the implementation of telecommuting and flex office within their organization.

Ecocert tells us about its organizational model and the challenges of hybridization within the structure. The benefits are numerous: better productivity and collaboration, trustworthy management and flexible work. This new concept of "sharing" premises and offices allows them to have a more fluid occupation. They have adopted Jooxter and the flex office and do not want to go back!

Ourspace management andoptimization solution integrates with HRIS tools and thus facilitates the daily work of HR, internal talent management and organization .


What do you do at Ecocert and for how long? 

I joined Ecocert five years ago. We created the position of HR manager for the Ecocert France subsidiary in charge of food certification.

I deal with all the tasks that fall under the responsibility of human resources (HR), including recruitment, training and running the CSE, which is a fairly broad field of action. I also manage individual situations, after employees within Ecocert. 


What changes have Ecocert made in 5 years? 

At Ecocert France, there were 280 of us when I arrived and today we have 420 employees. This is quite a growth in terms of population. The other subsidiaries have also grown. A large part of our evolution in terms of remote working methods has been due to the covid19 crisis. We have been able to adapt.


What transformation of working methods at Ecocert after the covid19 crisis? 

We had to equip the employees who were basically sedentary, so that they could confront telecommuting. Some of the employees already had equipment and were working remotely since we are present with our auditors throughout the country. For the others, a support process was set up so that they could work from anywhere.


Did you have a telework HR policy in place before the health crisis?

So, no, we didn't have a telecommuting policy. Before the first lockdown, telecommuting was granted very exceptionally for pregnant women, for example. 

In reality, it was a real life test for us and we adapted. We were able to continue our activity by teleworking. 

Previously, we had discussed implementing telecommuting. When we came out of lockdown, we embraced it and our view of telecommuting changed.

Subsequently, we negotiated a telecommuting agreement to maintain this momentum. 


The development of the Flex Office at Ecocert

Indeed, the flex office was a sine qua non condition in a telework approach. The wholework environment was approached differently.

We will work from home. But how? The problem was tooptimize the space for the employees who came on site. And that's why we turned to an application like Jooxter, to manage the flex office.


From your HR point of view, how can telecommuting foster social ties between teams? 

So it still takes some effort to manage the flex office and make sure it's still cohesive. We had the idea of making managers aware of the need to at least hold team meetings with everyone in person.

In addition, we made sure that there was still plenty of time for face-to-face meetings, so that people could talk to each other. We have continued, even during teleworking, for example, to hold Teams cafés so that people can exchange ideas with their team in an informal way.

However, it is a vigilance that we have kept by being careful, because it has still upset many things. At the same time, we try to plan convivial moments to get together

In thelayout of the premises, the spaces have been redesigned differently.

In order to encourage moments of exchange when they are here, on site, but also that each team has a zone


Ecocert, spaces to exchange or focus

Today we still have this system of "flags", by team. As a benchmark if my team is here then I move here with them. But in reality, we don't forbid ourselves to change, to interact with another department for example. And in that case, I can go next door to "X" so I can spend the day with them and that will spark interactions. It's still a process that needs to be refined. 

I think these are habits to get into. To take more advantage of the benefits of the Flex office


Sandrine, as HR, what are your habits with Jooxter? 

I usually book in advance, for the week, I then foresee my status, sometimes several weeks in advance. So I put the status, we'll say "theoretical" to the month and then, on the other hand, I readjust rather to the week. I decide my status as I go along because my schedule can change a lot. 

We really try to adapt to the business. That is, if we have a meeting, we have to be in person as much as possible. So, we book if we have to go there when maybe we had planned a fortnight before to be teleworking.


A telework agreement and a flexible HR policy

We have allowed a lot of flexibility, but it's more about flexibility in choosing the days to telework. There are not really any fixed days. People organize themselves with their two telework days, but they will try to look at it according to the activity.

For example, if the telework day is Monday and there is a meeting on that day, it is cancelled.


Do you use the "Where are my colleagues" feature at Ecocert? 

Yes, it's interesting when we want to organize a face-to-face meeting with a colleague, we check on the application. We check if a person is there on such and such a day, I use it myself sometimes. 

When I'm going to schedule maybe a meeting and I'd like it to be face-to-face, in that case, I'll look to see if the person had planned to be there, on that day


Employee involvement in Ecocert's eco-responsibility

We are all involved in this process for the ecology at our scale. For example, once a year, we go to plant trees. I went there myself.

It takes us out of the corporate context, but it also reminds us of the need to do this kind of activity. We also have a vegetable patch, which I think is great.

It is not uncommon to hear a colleague say "I went to pick zucchinis", it is quite nice to have this kind of discussion. We also have honey that we can eat harvested by our colleagues, or a henhouse.  


Regarding the Jooxter application, how has it been received? 

We easily took it in hand.

Regarding new software, it is sometimes difficult to get them accepted. I mean, especially since we've had a lot of new tools recently. So it's always perceived as an additional tool, so our concern was that it wouldn't be accepted. But in the end, everything went well.

We still have some progress to make in managing the tool. That's it. In particular, the sharing of status is not yet part of our culture. Employees mainly reserve their office

There is therefore a process of making employees aware of how to use the tool and certain functions. Support is important, as is the monitoring of managers.

The improvements to the application are greatly appreciated as it helps employees. Evolution is essential and Jooxter has been able to adapt its application to the needs of users, but this must continue.


Please feel free to contact us if this article has aroused your interest. You will find here another testimony from Ecocert with a more real estate angle.