Corona, Background

An entire team lends a hand

Annette Vogel and her 50-strong team are responsible for the processes and systems in delivery at PostMail. When letter delivery came under severe strain, everyone made a big effort to lend a hand – whether directly with operations or by ensuring day-to-day business continued to run smoothly from a home office environment.

Ines Schumacher

There was a shortage of staff in delivery at PostMail in March. Some of those absent belonged to at-risk groups, while others had to look after their children or were ill. Annette Vogel made an appeal to her team even before Swiss Post’s internal coronavirus jobs board was launched at the end of March : “Anyone willing to help out in delivery, enter your name in the list,” was the message from the Systems and Processes Team Leader at PostMail which she put out via WhatsApp.

Many employees were keen to help: 29 signed up and 23 colleagues have since been performing various duties for delivery in Thun, Spiez, Lausanne, Sursee, Winterthur, La Chaux-de-Fonds and other locations in Switzerland. Whether it was preparation, the delivery of large parcels, letters and bags of vegetables or in the back office, the support was very much appreciated everywhere.

Not left in the lurch

“We’re responsible for the processes and systems in delivery at PostMail which means we’re probably closer to operations than any other department. Helping our colleagues and not leaving them in the lurch goes without saying in my view and sends out the right message to operations,” explained Annette Vogel. She herself organized and coordinated the work that was so important for the modified operations. “The situation changed very rapidly and it was not always easy to keep track of developments and reconcile everything.”

Greatly appreciated

Besides the odd sore finger from sharp-edged parcels, the team will take with them the great appreciation of their colleagues in delivery for the tremendous commitment displayed. “They adapted extremely quickly to the extraordinary situation and the modified working processes and carried out their tasks rapidly with great dedication, team spirit and good humour to the usual quality standards despite social distancing,” underlined Jürgen Kauer, who was working at the delivery point in Spiez.

Extraordinary days of work

These were extraordinary days of work for the employees of PM50. Markus Steinmann, for example, started at 6.00 a.m. and prepared two small rounds of around 420 households. After a short break, he started on deliveries using an electric tricycle and trailer but only did one of the two rounds himself. He delivered all letter mail, including registered items, and small parcels to take the strain off PL. Of course he also took the Nespresso bags back to the delivery point for recycling. His shift ended after the round, generally between 10.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m. (depending on the consignment volume). In the afternoon, he worked from home, dealing with his other tasks and keeping in touch with his team.

“Great pride”

To enable colleagues to lend operations a hand, other members of the team, unable to help with deliveries due to their personal circumstances, took over some of their tasks. They ensured that day-to-day business (support, training, development, building management etc.) was maintained and that progress was made on projects despite the extraordinary situation. “I’m extremely proud of my colleagues for the way they rose to this challenge without any fuss and made a major contribution in delivery. But my thanks also go out to all those who did extra work from home due to the coronavirus,” explained Annette Vogel. Everyone mucked in together.

That is something the mail carriers from PM50 will take with them from their stint:

written by

Ines Schumacher