From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Zalando put the health and safety of employees first while serving customers across Europe. In all of our locations, strict preventative measures that followed and even expanded on government guidelines and recommendations have been implemented.
As this year’s holiday shopping season coincides with the second wave of the coronavirus in Europe, Zalando is reinforcing the existing measures and introducing several new ones to ensure maximum protection for our employees. We implemented additional principles around work safety, as well as commercial steering to minimize risks for our workforce. Specifically, these principles include:
Our guiding principle for making commercial decisions is that we prioritize the health and safety of our employees over sales targets.
For example, for this year’s Cyber Week sales event we start from the warehouses, with the available capacity corridor there determining the sales volumes, not vice versa. The safety measures and rules in place within our logistics organization will dictate the capacity the warehouses can provide and are superior to commercial trading decisions. Processes have been set up to control the maximum amount of orders our warehouse workforce can process while adhering to the latest safety rules.
In parallel, the marketing & sales department is prepared to steer consumer demand to help remain within the logistics capacity corridor and avoid risks for our workforce. This includes flexibly adjusting marketing activities and balancing discount offers across all Cyber Week days. Communication with customers during Cyber Week will also be adjusted in order to avoid the sense of urgency while providing information on deals. Should demand exceed logistics capacity resulting in longer delivery times, we will make this transparent to our customers and ask for their patience and understanding due to the health and safety precautions.
Reinforced safety measures in the warehouses
In the past months, the Zalando warehouses have been equipped with the best possible measures to combat COVID-19, from social distancing and obligatory masks to hygienic measures and separation of shifts. The latest enhancements of these measures include:
- Increased ventilation to ensure a 100 percent share of fresh air in the warehouses. Additionally, carbon dioxide sensors have been installed in meeting rooms and canteens to check air quality and take action if needed.
- COVID-19 testing is offered to employees on a voluntary basis in collaboration with medical partners. As a first step, Antigen Rapid Tests are offered by Zalando in collaboration with physicians at our German sites, and by external partners in our international sites with the benefit of no laboratory capacities required. Positive Antigen Rapid Tests are then validated by PCR-tests. So far, more than 20,500 tests have been carried out in our fulfillment centers.
- Specifically for peak season, Zalando is minimizing movement between teams in order to keep departments separated. If shifting employees between departments is necessary for efficient use of capacities, only those employees who got tested voluntarily and show a negative test result are shifted.
Remote work where possible
All Zalando employees who can work remotely are asked to do so where possible. Additionally, we have enabled non-warehouse employees who are vital to the execution of Cyber Week, including retail management, engineering, pricing and customer care functions, to do so from a remote location such as their home. For those who can’t work from home, office working spaces have been provided with strict safety measures in place.
Finally, enablement sessions have been conducted with leaders across the company to help ensure a healthy working environment which complies with all rules and regulations.
All of these measures will allow Zalando to continue business through the peak season with maximum possible protection of our employees.