Since Monday, the 4th of May, the Bugatti company headquarters in the French village of Molsheim is slowly coming back to life. Under strict safety precautions, some employees returned to their workplace in order to continue pursuing their passion - building the most unique hyper sports cars in the world. The health and well-being of these employees and of all those, who have been working from home since March, is particularly important to HR Director Anja Utermark and her team.
During this time of uncertainty and constant change, Anja Utermark – the HR Director of Bugatti since August 2019 – ensures transparency and clarity, partly on site and partly from her home office in Strasbourg. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her team have been working on a stable foundation to guarantee the best possible and, above all, safest working conditions for the entire Bugatti workforce. In doing so, she coordinates the diverse challenges of the various Bugatti locations while constantly exchanging with the most important decision makers.
Her job is varied and based primarily on communication - currently mainly digital or over the phone. The spectrum of her business area ranges from information work, advising managers and employees, to daily cooperation with the COVID-19 task force. In coordination with her colleagues from management and the teams of all departments, she is in charge when it comes to the lawful organization of short-time work, work inspections and finally the resumption of work in the workplace. Of course, the task of childcare is another important topic during these challenging times. “An energetic child’s laugh in the background during a Skype call occasionally brings a little sunshine into the seriousness of the situation,” says Utermark, who can be found in her apartment in Strasbourg wearing her headset for most of the day. "We do everything possible to support our employees in mastering the professional and private challenges during this exceptional time."
Cross-border networking with colleagues from the departments of development, production, quality, sales and marketing, finance, procurement and communication, as well as with Bugatti President Stephan Winkelmann, makes it possible to quickly develop legally compliant solutions in dealing with the pandemic in working life. “At Bugatti, we not only meet the highest quality standards when it comes to our products. We apply them to all our processes. This includes guaranteeing responsible and compliant behavior,” says Winkelmann.
In those matters, Anja Utermark relies on support from the legal experts in her team. Working from home, Chief Compliance Officer, Michael Wanke, and Chief of Legal, Larissa Friedrich, take care of all legal audits, as well as the checking and supervising of ongoing legal and compliance matters relating to COVID-19. They oversee matters such as the application for funding, offers to employees or the examination of donations. “As a member of the Board of Management, I consider it essential to show how important it is right now to meet all relevant legal requirements with diligence. We are committed to acting responsibly towards our employees. That only works if we adhere to our legal standards,” explains Utermark.
While Anja Utermark is mastering her professional challenges with clarity and strength the crisis also harbors personal challenges. As she is tied to her French home office, video calls are the only way to be close to her partner, family and friends in Germany. “That can be nerve-wracking, especially because these times require a lot of strength in general. Nevertheless, safety comes first, and hopefully I'll be able to spend the next birthday or Easter with my loved ones again.”
The clouds are clearing up and little by little the employees can take up their jobs again. Always connected to her hard-working team, contributing a great deal as a permanent contact for employees, and full of hope, Anja Utermark is getting ready for a restart after the crisis.