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Interview with Radu Muntean from SumUp on Employee Experience

Employee Experience before and after the pandemic
In this article

Hello and welcome to a new interview from our series “The Workplace Scoop”! 

Today’s guest: Radu Muntean, Workplace Experience Manager at SumUp. He’s the wizard behind the new SumUp campus, a project where he is working together with real estate agents, architects, lawyers, property owners, and facility managers. SumUp is the financial partner for more than 4 million small merchants in over 35 markets worldwide, helping them run their businesses.  

Today’s topic: the employee experience before and after the pandemic. 

So, let’s dive straight into the questions. 
 

Employee interaction before and after the pandemic

Alina from Tidaro: Radu, do you feel that the way employees interact inside the office has changed when you compare the before and after the pandemic?   
Radu: Yes, I do. The pandemic and lockdown had a significant impact on the way employees interact in the office. Before the pandemic, most employees worked in the office and had face-to-face interactions. During and after the pandemic, many companies had to shift to remote work, or find solutions to continue working in different styles. Hybrid work models came in place where employees work both remotely and in the office.  

Alina from Tidaro: Let’s hope that they are here to stay. We couldn’t help but notice that some leaders are still reluctant when it comes to the hybrid or remote working models.  

Now, let’s get back to the office a bit. Is the workplace going through a transformation when it comes to the way space is designed to meet certain purposes?  
 Radu: There are different thoughts here, depending on how management sees the future of working.  You can design spaces that foster creativity, brainstorming and more interaction, or spaces where people can focus better.

On employee wellbeing

Alina from Tidaro. Another topic I want to tackle with you is employee wellbeing. The pandemic forced us to be more aware of it. Do you feel that the approach to employee wellbeing has improved over the past years?   
Radu: Yes, it definitely has improved. It was well known that the ergonomics and the physical health were in focus for the past years, but now mental health is taking a big part of wellbeing-focus. 

Alina from Tidaro: Do you feel there is a correlation between employee well-being and employee retention?  
Radu: The employees that feel supported and satisfied with their work environment are more likely to stay with their employer. The employees that experience high levels of stress, burnout, or dissatisfaction are more likely to leave their job. 
Employees become more aware of the wellbeing in general and what companies have to offer.  

On culture and employee experience

Alina from Tidaro: I’m so happy with this trend. We’re finally breaking some barriers here. Now, which do you think are the pillars of a healthy and productive employee experience?  
Radu: Work-life balance, recognition, growth opportunities, clear communication and feedback culture are just a few of them.  

Alina from Tidaro: Speaking of culture, how do you feel remote and hybrid work have affected the feeling of belonging inside companies?   
Radu: Many things changed, and the feeling of belonging is no exception, but of course, to some extent. I have to mention that this is a complex topic and depends on various factors including the management approach and communication strategies, but also the work model. I believe we are still exploring this new realm and there isn’t a template that fits all. 

Alina from Tidaro: How do you think that the approach to technology changed inside the workplace because of remote and hybrid work?  
Radu: The approach to technology changed significantly due to shifting to hybrid or remote work. Cybersecurity, cloud-based technology but also wellbeing tools are a few areas that were accelerated by this change.  

Alina from Tidaro: Do you think that hybrid work forces us to develop new skills?  
Radu: I don’t know if it forces us to develop new skills but there is a process of adaptation that employees are experiencing and depending to what extent you are affected by the new work, you might need to adjust as well.  

Alina from Tidaro: You are right, the key here is “adaptation”. Now, how do we create discipline around managing a hybrid workplace?  
Radu: By creating new habits, implementing new tools, having specific requirements from employees and creating a digital calendar & office booking system. 

Alina from Tidaro: Touché! We also think the office booking systems can really help with office management in hybrid environments.

Alina from Tidaro: And a personal question: did you ever wear pajamas during a Video call? 😊 You can invoke the 5th amendment if you want 🙂  
Radu: Nop. Not my style. I wake up, take a shower and change into the working mood & clothing, regardless of if I stay home or go to work. It has a psychological effect.  

Alina from Tidaro: We think alike then. It’s my fifth year of working remotely, and pajamas don’t feel feng shui for me.  Thanks, Radu, for your time!

This concludes our second interview from our series “The Workplace Scoop”. If you want to connect with Radu, you can find him on LinkedIn, here. If you want more insights on how to manage hybrid work, we’ve prepared this thorough guide you’ll definitely enjoy: Mastering Hybrid Work

Alina Belascu
Alina Belascu
Alina is a digital marketer with a passion for web design. When she’s not strategizing she’s doing photography, listening to podcasts on history and psychology, and playing with her 2 dogs and cat.