Sonnedix uses Smartsheet to maintain collaboration and support employees during COVID-19
From creating COVID-secure offices to supporting staff through new ways of working, Smartsheet has helped Sonnedix bring its phenomenal culture to life throughout the pandemic.
- Energy and Utilities
- Medium (50 - 999 employees)
- Automation Features
- Project Visibility
Smartsheet is the common language of our company. It has been instrumental in the way we deliver project management services to the business, and I use it in every component of my work.
As we strive to create a more sustainable future, investment in clean energy sources is critical. Companies like Sonnedix – an innovative Independent Power Producer (IPP) that designs, finances, builds, and monitors high-performance, cost-competitive solar plants – are leading the way, harnessing the sun’s power to deliver a greener, brighter world for all.
But with solar plants and offices dispersed around the world, Sonnedix knows that collaborating successfully as a single team is fundamental to its long term success. “At Sonnedix, we say we are one team,” says Andrea Vecchi, Head of Project Management. “Part of being in that one team is that no matter where you are in the world, you know you are part of Sonnedix.”
When the pandemic struck, Sonnedix knew it would need to work hard to develop processes to keep its ‘one team’ company culture strong and support employees across the board.
Like most businesses, COVID-19 meant Sonnedix had a serious challenge on its hands to adapt to the demands of mass remote working in a matter of days. Fortunately, as Head of Project Management, Andrea was ready to lead on many of the necessary initiatives. And he knew that Smartsheet would be an ideal platform to help Sonnedix implement new initiatives to support colleagues working through the pandemic.
When Andrea arrived at Sonnedix in 2018, Smartsheet was already present in the business. On his quest to deliver greater project optimisation and standardisation, Andrea quickly came to realise Smartsheet was being underutilised, as he identified the huge collaboration and communication potential of the platform.
Initially, Andrea used Smartsheet for projects such as the standardisation and optimisation of the emergent acquisition process, finding that Smartsheet “helps us clearly visualise the pipeline and ensures the functions collaborate well together.” After continuing to explore the possibilities of Smartsheet’s workflows and application integration throughout the second half of 2019, the platform was front of mind for Andrea when the challenges of remote working began to bite.
Sonnedix has since used Smartsheet for initiatives ranging from new policy training for remote work, through to office safety measures and home office assessments – all of which has ensured Sonnedix’s culture stays inclusive and supportive.
Delivering training with high engagement
As lockdown began, Sonnedix’s HR team needed to support employees with a new way of working. It had already been developing a series of high impact training sessions – so HR reached out to Andrea to accelerate the delivery of training to help managers lead their teams through the challenges and stresses of mass working-from-home.
Using Smartsheet, the team rapidly iterated an HR portal that would allow people to request and receive training at speed. Global employees can book training in different sessions – and once they’ve used the form, a series of automations are triggered, such as a back-end approvals process for paid training programmes. This is a significant improvement on the previous booking process that mostly relied on emails with data recorded in excel.
Over six months, Sonnedix increased the amount of training by at least one order of magnitude, delivering more than 90 training sessions totalling over 1000 hours, all of which were booked through the Smartsheet system. Employees can easily run a report to track their development, ensuring that everyone keeps growing and achieving.
“We had to make this training visible and accessible for people, to encourage engagement,” Andrea adds. “ Smartsheet enabled us to do this. We’ve had nothing but positive comments.”
Prioritising safety and security while reopening offices
Sonnedix is committed to protecting its employees’ physical and mental wellbeing, and the company worked hard to facilitate effective home working. But it also acknowledges that for those without the right home conditions, the office is a vital lifeline. So, once regulations permitted, Sonnedix needed a way to safely open the office for those in need.
Andrea played a central role in this, running an internal taskforce for COVID-19 management. Following a request from the French office to support the logistics of office working, Andrea initially created a simple sheet for colleagues to book in office days with a checkbox. Through this, the office manager could receive alerts about capacity, while users could plan their visits accordingly. In time, this evolved into a convenient QR code capability – with colleagues able to ‘log in’ to the office by quickly scanning the code with their mobiles – and was complemented with dashboards, including travel widgets with live guidelines about the safest time to commute. In the London office, for example, data is embedded from the Transport for London website, so staff can see station quiet times.
Staff across various locations can now visit the office with confidence, while Sonnedix can use its Smartsheet records to track any potential virus exposure to prevent further spread.
“Smartsheet has been invaluable in our COVID-19 response,” says Andrea. “It’s enhanced the safety and security of our people.”
Visibility and efficiency for home-office assessments
As it became clear that home working would be a long term adjustment, Sonnedix was keen to ensure all employees were supported with their home-office set up. With employees in so many different locations, each with different requirements (and some having already taken items like chairs from the office), keeping track effectively became a key concern. Plus, HR needed to contact, assess, and support every employee individually, which was a significant undertaking.
Smartsheet was used to deliver and record home office assessments for every colleague. With a clear, centralised process, employees were able to engage with the assessment process effectively. HR could clearly map who had what and who needed further support – while office managers had a dedicated report to keep track of office furniture.
“Employees have very different needs and requirements, and we wanted to support that appropriately,” says Andrea. “Smartsheet enabled us to do all of that in one place, creating really clear visibility for the people in charge of making arrangements.”
Having realised the benefits of the platform across so many different use cases, Sonnedix expects to utilise Smartsheet further in the future. Exciting plans are already afoot, and Andrea expects to use the platform to carry out a review of Sonnedix’s database structure, ultimately providing a more holistic view of processes and optimising back end operations.
Maintaining a strong company culture and supporting employees remotely is a huge challenge – but with commitment, creativity, and the support of the Smartsheet platform, Sonnedix are continuing to push forward successfully.