Mimi’s response to Covid-19, remote working and moving forward into 2021

HR Manager Mimi Hearing

Yvonne van Rensburg

HR Manager, Mimi Hearing Technologies

2020 brought with it many challenges and sudden changes to the way we work here at Mimi. 

Our HR Manager Yvonne van Rensburg shared with us the challenges Mimi faced at the start of 2020, how the company responded, and how we plan to move forward as a team in 2021.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

Yvonne van Rensburg, Cape Town, South Africa, 25 for life. The soundtrack to my life has to be Bare necessities and the journey.

2. What attracted you to Mimi?

What attracted me to Mimi was the company’s purpose. When I learned about Mimi, it was the first time I had really thought about hearing health as a key topic and this really intrigued me. Not only this, but I was really excited about the challenge that comes with working at a startup. 

Coming from a corporate environment, I wanted a change and to be a part of making a difference to a company from the inside out. Setting up HR processes and procedures that aren’t yet there, making data-driven decisions, creating initiatives and setting up budgets were all things I wanted to do. 

I also really wanted to move to Berlin and whilst planning my move, I was researching English-speaking jobs and that is when I found Mimi. The more research I did into Mimi, the more I realized how vital hearing is in everyday life. We are all so aware of our eyesight but hearing is never really a mentioned topic. It certainly wasn’t one I had considered as I hear really well (I actually have the best hearing score at Mimi so far!). Since joining Mimi, I have become a lot more aware of hearing health. I now see people on the train or walking down the street with headphones in their ears and it concerns me when I can hear what they can. 

3. What were the challenges Mimi faced with Covid-19 restrictions and how did the company respond?

When Covid-19 first hit in 2020, we were worried about not having face-to-face interactions and generally, how we were all going to work while not in the office. We were also worried about how not seeing one another in person would affect our culture, as these interactions are something we really value at Mimi. 

Being set up where employees had everything they needed to work from home properly was our first challenge. We set up a “Corona task force” in order to work out what the team needed, both physically and mentally. During the first lockdown in March 2020, we had members of the task force drive to everyone’s homes delivering all the equipment they needed straight to their doors. 

We also offered our employees tried and tested tips we had researched about working from home, and provided our parents at Mimi information and tips about homeschooling. Understanding how difficult it must be for parents managing to stay at home with their children while still needing to work, we have also offered them as much extra support as we can. 

Monthly Yoga Sessions

Monthly Yoga Sessions

Something we have stuck by throughout the past year is never completely closing the office. We want to offer our employees an option of somewhere familiar that they could work from. This option allows our Mimians somewhere for a change of scene, stable internet and a chance to use our facilities if and when they need (limited to a small group per day)

Mental well-being is an important topic at Mimi. We offer remote mental health sessions with mental health professionals to each of our employees. and we do regular 1:1 check-ins. We have also introduced monthly Yoga sessions to help everyone relax, unwind and stay healthy.

Another topic we had to tackle was how to onboard and offboard our employees. For onboarding, we worked on a number of new ways to integrate and welcome our new joiners, these have included: 

  • Giving all new joiners a Mimi buddy who will introduce them to people outside their immediate team and enable them to understand who they can go to for what. 

  • Onboarding task lists and challenges to help them familiarise themselves with our systems and online platforms.  

For offboarding, we have missed the personal goodbyes which we used to be able to do in the office. The team has become rather creative though by putting together thoughtful videos bidding their team members farewell and digital farewell cards.

Mimi Virtual Cooking Event

Mimi Virtual Cooking Event

To help keep our teams engaged and the morale high, we also run regular corona-compliant team activities. These have included quiz nights, a cocktail-making evening, cooking events, beer tasting, coffee breaks, team lunches, and of course a German afternoon favourite, the Kaffee und Kuchen. 

As we couldn’t have our annual Christmas party, we created a Christmas goodie box and virtual advent calendar. This helped us gain a nice balance of being together onscreen, having a variety of activities to complete, and also give the team some nice treats to enjoy during the festive season.

We also have a Covid-19 update for all employees at every Monday morning all-hands team meeting. We give updates about the most up-to-date rules and regulations put in place by the government. 

4. What are the company plans for the rest of 2021 and remote working?

Mimi had a flexible working policy pre-covid-19 and this is something that we will continue to implement moving forward, which gives our employees regular working from home opportunities. The Berlin office has also stayed open throughout 2020 and continues to do so, with guidelines in place to help us adhere to safety measures.

Mimi Hearing Technologies’ office Berlin.

Mimi Hearing Technologies’ office Berlin.

We are also currently looking at implementing a newer hybrid model for 2021 and beyond, and giving our employees more flexibility to choose their working patterns. How it will look exactly is still being finalized, taking into account what the Berlin Senate decides, what we have learned in the past year, and input from current employees.

It has been a tough but very good year at Mimi. We are looking forward to what we can achieve together in 2021 with the amazing team that we have!

5. What do you like the most about working at Mimi and what makes a Mimian to you?

The freedom to try things. Having ideas at Mimi is really appreciated and you are given the opportunity to drive your ideas forward and try to make them work. I have now been at Mimi for almost 3 years and I still remember how welcoming everyone was from day 1. Coming from South Africa, a country so far away, Mimi was so helpful with the visa process,  learning German and navigating German bureaucracy. Not to mention just giving me general tips on the city!

A Mimian is someone who questions the status quo, likes being challenged, receiving feedback, and is not afraid to be who they are. Someone who is also flexible in approaching topics and tasks as we are all learning and working together as a company.


Interested in joining the Mimi team?
We are really excited to be able to continue to expand our team.