– We need to meet this exceptional situation with powerful measures from all parts of society to get it under control. To contribute to this, we focus on three main areas: Our customers, our employees, and society at large, says Gustaf Rentzhog, CEO of Söderberg & Partners, in an interview where he explains what Söderberg & Partners is doing to continue to stay close to customers despite the physical distance.
We are in an exceptional situation with a global virus pandemic, which puts enormous strain on the financial markets and civil societies. What is Söderberg & Partners doing in all this?
– Yes, it is very much an exceptional situation, and we need to deal with it with vigorous measures from all parts of society to get it under control. To contribute to this, Söderberg & Partners focuses on three main areas: Our customers, our employees, and our society at large, says Gustaf Rentzhog.
– For our customers, we work to ensure that everyone receives the help and the support that their specific situation requires during these troubled times. This concerns everything from support in insurance cover issues, to helping them manage the major turmoil in the world’s stock markets. We have also made sure that all meetings and dialogue can be handled over the telephone or video conference.
– As an employer, we decided early on to act to protect both our employees and our customers. We have followed the development in Europe and have continuously provided our employees with the latest recommendations from the authorities. We started early with self-quarantine and virtual meetings instead of physical meetings, even in internal contexts, to reduce a possible spread of the infection.
– In order to support society, we have started a dialogue with several government functions and offered our help and support on issues where we have products, resources or expertise that can facilitate the work of the authorities. Among other things, we have offered to donate our digital learning portal Learnster to the authorities and also offered to help them create and roll out digital training on Corona management for personnel in the health care.
How are the customers affected by the large fluctuations on the world’s stock exchanges?
– We are currently in a situation where everyone in society – regardless of their exposure to stock markets – will be affected by the great uncertainty in the world economy in some way. Our main focus in our dialogue with our customers is to be available and to help them understand what is happening right now, what the potential consequences may be in the future, and how it affects their individual situation and savings.
– In order to increase our availability, and to help our customers feel secure, we opened a telephone hotline in connection with the large stock market fall on March 9, where all our customers can turn from 8 am to 9 pm to talk directly with expert experts about their savings.
Do you have any tips for other companies on how to think when it comes to working from home?
– Our recommendation to our employees is that everyone who can work at home should do it – no matter what part of the country they are in. For the critical tasks that cannot be performed from home, we have alternating staff schedules, which means that these employees work in the office on different days with extra cleaning taking place between these occasions.
– Given the large proportion of employees who sit at home and work, we now have the opportunity in our offices to increase the physical distance between workstations so that those who work with the same tasks do not sit close to each other. We evaluate on a daily basis how our employees are doing while working from home, but for most of them it works very well. One thing that is important to remember is to use the video function in conferences, since we no longer socialize every day.
How do you think the situation will look in a year from today?
– It is impossible to predict how the current situation will develop. From a purely economic perspective, our main scenario is that the economy will recover, but the risk of a recession is obvious, and the recovery will take longer as more countries are shut down and the longer these countries are shut down. However, lower oil prices and lower interest rates are, in the long run, stimulating the economy.
– We’re focusing on managing the current situation to the best of our ability by ensuring that our customers receive the help and the support they need, and that our employees are safe and healthy and have the right conditions to continue helping our customers – regardless of whether it’s from the office or from home.