News Looking back on a year of lockdowns
The COVID-19 pandemic that broke out in winter 2020 turned our world upside down. We had to find new ways to work and make a flurry of changes in our lives. It hasn’t always been easy. But one year after the first lockdown in Quebec, our team has embraced this new way of life and can now see the positive effects that COVID-19 has had on our daily lives.
François Vaqué, General Manager
If someone had told me a year ago that I would have to work from home indefinitely and that I wouldn’t get back to the office for a long time to come, I would have thought they were crazy. I must admit, I never was a great fan of telework. I get my energy from facetime with colleagues during coffee break, a brainstorming session, a chat in the hallway, an open-air happy hour…
When we left the Citoyen office for the last time, I thought about our employees and clients. How would this new lifestyle change our daily work? Would we be less efficient? How could we keep our employees motivated, work with clients, continue growing our business remotely? How would we attract new clients without the personal touch?
Like everyone else, I had to adapt. To my great surprise, working remotely actually brought our teams across Canada closer together and strengthened our ties with our clients. We even acquired some new ones.
Although I prefer talking face-to-face, I must admit that working remotely “is not so bad.” But I still think that coffee breaks and happy hour are a lot better when everyone is together in the same room!
Rosalie Lavoie, Senior Project Manager
Even though we’ve had to work from home for a year now, we’ve been really lucky to be able to keep in contact with colleagues at all our offices. In fact, all those videoconference calls have actually brought us closer together! It’s a new aspect of my work that I love because now I can chat (virtually) with my colleagues from all across Canada. Before, we sometimes forgot to take the time to do that. Now it’s a regular habit at Citoyen! We’ve even started having weekly happy hours so we can relax together. Proof that a pandemic can have a good side!
Stéphanie Fournier, Project Manager
Even before the pandemic, our company allowed its employees to work from home once a week. I was never tempted to try it, because I like having a separate work environment and I live with two roommates and two cats. So it was hard for me to adapt to working from home full time. But our managers were very sensitive to our needs from the outset. At first, I only had a small sewing machine table to work on. It really wasn’t very ergonomic. But the company was quick to provide us with an expense allowance (repeated this year) to improve our workspace. To ease the extra mental burden that the pandemic is putting on everyone, the company has offered additional paid time off to employees across Canada. It’s really encouraging to see that company decision makers are thinking about our physical and mental well-being.