Insights from IKEA: Adapting and focussing on co-workers during Stage 4 restrictions
With a government-mandated lockdown on Melbourne, IKEA Australia adapted swiftly following the introduction of Stage 4 restrictions.
The Large Format Retailer was able to provide its customers the full range online and introduced a series of services including contactless click and collect, contactless delivery, and virtual planning services.
The lockdown resulted in IKEA stores in Melbourne, including Richmond and Springvale, to modify their function from customer-facing retail stores to that of distribution units.
“The home has never been more important, so we are proud to have lived up to our vision of creating a better everyday life at home by providing our customers with affordable work from home solutions, our children’s IKEA range of toys, bakeware for the cooking enthusiasts and everything else in between,” said IKEA Richmond Store Manager Chris Brown.
“When we received the news of the closure of all retail businesses the changes were swift.
“Our amazing team showed great resilience and adaptability and were able to transform the business into an online fulfilment operation, essentially overnight.
“Through click and collect and online delivery we were able to continue to meet the needs of our customers during retail closure.”
Despite retail stores not operating during the Stage 4 restrictions, IKEA continued to provide work and pay its Victorian co-workers.
“Very importantly no IKEA co-worker was stood down or lost hours as a result of the retail closure, we have not only been able to provide meaningful work during this time but we’ve also been able to recruit new co-workers into our organisation,” said Mr Brown.
In recent months IKEA Australia has been focussing more on the importance of the resilience and mental health of their co-workers with the launch of the Stronger Everyday program in addition to its Learning Academy.
“Stronger Everyday is a company-wide program that looks to help provide tools for co-workers during these times of uncertainty,” explained Mr Brown.
“And IKEA’s Learning Academy provides co-workers new skills to ensure future employability and talent for emerging areas in the business.”
“Our key focus during this time has been to ensure the ongoing health and safety of our co-workers.
“We have done this not only through COVID safety measures but also in acknowledging the mental health aspects that different co-workers as members of the community are undoubtedly facing in different ways.”
IKEA currently provides its workforce additional training to reskill or upskill in order to support new requirements of the business.
Co-workers were also given opportunities to be deployed into different roles and focus areas such as fulfilment, e-commerce, customer service and click and collect.
“Among our team of over 600 co-workers in the Victorian market, the IKEA values of togetherness really came to the front during this time, for example our co-workers who would normally work in our IKEA Restaurant quickly adapted to working in our click and collect team, with some of these co-workers even permanently joining the team as a result of the experience.”
“Co-workers are at the heart of our business,” affirmed Mr Brown.
“The importance of work/life balance for our co-workers and leadership team has been emphasised especially during the pandemic and mindfulness training was also extended to some of our senior leaders.
“We introduced co-worker engagement activities to help foster a positive atmosphere for our co-workers and used our internal co-worker social platform Yammer to engage and share ideas about what co-workers are doing during the lockdown.
“We also provided free ‘iso’ packs to our co-workers consisting of IKEA products from the range that could help co-workers have fun or relax while at home during the lockdown.
And prior to the closure of our co-worker restaurant we also provided free meals to our co-workers.”
In these times, IKEA’s strong value of togetherness draws its co-workers even closer, leading them into action as they support each other, their communities, their customers, and the wider world.