We are in the middle of an unusual and vulnerable situation right now. The Corona crisis leaves deep traces in our society. Everyday life has been turned upside down and it has required huge adaptability. We try to address these challenges in Krifa with focus on three areas:
- Members in Krifa
- Employees in Krifa
Members in Krifa
Krifa is an interdisciplinary organization with 190.000 members. Some are members of the trade union. Others of the unemployment fund. And some of both organizations. In Denmark, the unions manage the unemployment fund for the State. Krifa therefore experience the consequences of COVID 19 up close. Unemployment is rising significantly and many people are worried about the future. To give answers to the uncertainties Krifa has launched a number of initiatives to help its members:
- We send e-mails to our members informing about opportunities and rights during COVID 19
- We offer online courses so that members who have been sent home can use the time for employability
- We prepare FAQs that provide answers to Corona and working life according to the situation you are in. whether you are in the private or the public sector
- We make contact to the unemployed members, although mandatory calls are temporarily not required. We ask the members about their general well-being and help them with their job search
Employees in Krifa
Krifa has 700 employees who have all been sent home to work remotely. It has almost created a digital revolution. Many smaller departments in Krifa meet every day for a virtual check-in. Here the program of the day is planned. The many physical meetings are now held virtually. The vast majority of employees report that it works fine.
Every week, all employees in Krifa are invited to a live-session with the top management of Krifa. At these sessions the entire organization is invited to ask questions of both practical, professional and human nature.
Hundreds of employees sit in their own living rooms and receive the management’s immediate reactions to their questions. It is valuable for the sense of community. We are all in the same boat.
It has been a great success and we have heard several people say that although the distance between us has never been bigger, they actually experience attentive leadership.
Of course, there are challenges too. All employees in Krifa have completed a well-being test while working from home. It shows that the biggest challenge these days is work-life balance.
Although the vast majority of Krifa employees must work from home – at least until the end of May – we have now moved from a crisis-situation to a more normal situation, where there is now a full focus on all aspects of Krifa’s work. We are just doing things in a new way.
In an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus, central parts of the Danish society – like in all other countries – have been closed down. Schools and day care centers have been closed, thousands of public servants have been sent home, and private employers have been urged to ensure homework as much as possible. A necessary decision that has had major consequences.
The Danish Government has done a lot of things ensuring that COVID-19 has the smallest possible impact on the work and livelihoods of the Danes. Among other things:
- A temporary wage compensation-scheme for employees who are at risk of redundancy;
- Prolonging the maximum unemployment-benefits period for unemployment (normally 24 months) to up to 27 months. The argument is that there is no jobs to be found these days;
- Many students will lose their part-time jobs. It will be possible to obtain student loans on top of existing loans and scholarship;
- Direct financial assistance for self-employed who due to COVID-19 will see their turnover plummeting with more than 30 percent. The compensation will cover 75 percent of the expected loss in the turnover (with a monthly maximum).
These days Denmark is slowly opening up again. The schools are open to the youngest pupils. The daycare centers are open. And people are slowly returning to their workplaces. Does that mean everything will soon be like before? I do not think so.
We are looking at a future of increased corporate social responsibility. The crisis has resulted in hope among many people. It has shown that we can stand together as nations and across borders. Together we can create a new society. We are deeply dependent on each other. We will need that when the corona crisis is over.
We are looking at a future with even more digitalization. We have experienced a digital revolution during the Corona-crisis. Previously the digital developments required many years with massive and skilled change management. During the corona crises the digital development happens in record-time. This to the surprise of most people.
We have learned a lot digitally. We have become familiar with many more digital opportunities than most people knew before the crisis. But physical contact and community are essential to us human beings. You can see and hear a lot when you use Zoom, Teams, Duo, Skype or whatever it is called, but you cannot feel the person on the other side.
International Secretary, Krifa