The Transition: The Fight against the PandemicEmployee Journals
I’ve been working for RJPH for 10 years and 6 months now. During my first few months, I’ve been given accounting tasks such as assets management and government document processing for tutors. Everything was done manually at that time, so perhaps you can imagine how mind-numbing and complicated our processes were back then. From being a member of the Accounting Team, I was eventually assigned to form and oversee the Administrative Team, along with some of the pioneer employees of the company until our humble “home” grew and became a department.
To give a better picture of what our department is in charge of, let’s dive a little deeper into one of our major undertakings: taking care of various tasks that support RareJob Philippines’ business. One of these tasks is the management and maintenance of office facilities. What we always keep in mind is our goal of providing a conducive and pleasant working environment for all our staff. We see to it that all of the equipment is available, replenished, and is working well to serve the employees’ needs.
What we always keep in mind is our goal of providing a conducive and pleasant working environment for all our employees.
For example, when something in a workstation is damaged, an admin staff immediately handles it as soon as our department gets notified. From a box of paperclips, to the office internet, and even to the laptops and computers we are all using, our department makes sure that all employee needs are provided for. Apart from that, our department also handles providing the company-sponsored lunch to those working in the office, as well as bring said employees to and from work daily using the company shuttle.
Now that we’ve covered the scope of my department, let’s move on to my story.
Drastic changes in terms of work setup began at the onset of the pandemic. I can still vividly recall the events on March 16, 2020 when we had to change to a remote work setup. This was also the day when our sleep changed from sapat to kulang since our response team, together with the entire RJPH management, needed to meet and discuss the changes needed to be made regarding the pandemic, and we had to do it quick.
There were more than just a couple of things that needed taking care of. For one, we needed to determine how to alleviate the health risk among the employees. At the same time, we needed to set a plan to ensure the continuity of operations to lessen the impact to the staff’s productivity and income. What was most important, however, was to ensure the company’s compliance with the government requirements considering that most if not all the agencies were operating on a skeleton workforce. Mentioning it in detail one by one would take up a lot of time, but for sure most of us understand the situation, as we all went through a similar ordeal.
One of the pressing issues that we encountered at that time was the consideration of transitioning to a 100% work-from-home setup, given that we only had limited company resources. This prompted the management to reconsider the options, and in spite of the reservations we had, the work from home setup was implemented, especially to the departments whose tasks could accommodate the change. To make this possible, we needed to distribute more than a hundred laptops, which put our department on the spot. We needed to take immediate action, starting with talking with the vendors and negotiating the cost and delivery time.
Together with the IT Team, we worked under a compressed schedule to set up the laptop units. We were skeptical that we could meet the target for the laptop distribution, but we worked as hard as we could. Take note that at that time we were under the ECQ – these units were bought and distributed to the staff in following the guidelines set in place at that time. With the help of other concerned teams, we successfully nailed it! We were able to distribute the units to the homes of all staff within the expected schedule, and they were able to work from the convenience of their own homes in no time.
Meanwhile, the response team also needed to address other COVID-related concerns: What should be done in case a staff member gets infected, or is a close contact of a COVID patient? How could we assist employees and cover even a small percentage of their personal expenses while working from home? How could we ensure safety in the office and the lodging facilities for employees staying there temporarily? Finally, how could we process government requirements in person while avoiding contracting COVID-19?
What we did was to introduce new precautionary policies and guidelines as countermeasures. Regularly, these policies are revisited and adjusted to align with what is being practiced, or what is applicable.
Now, we of course do not want to forget the initiatives in making sure that everyone is productive, despite the current situation. This is where the role of the management comes into play. I believe the company leaders should always make sure that their staff are engaged, motivated, and driven to meet each target. Just like in our department, leaders organize various activities such as daily meetings, end-of-day updates, get-togethers, and team bonding activities to check up on them, see if they need assistance or guidance, and to promote the sense of belongingness within the group.
One year has already passed and I’d like to think that things are looking up. By now, maybe some of us have already adapted to the new normal, while others may need a bit more time. Let me share one thing I’ve learned from this situation: acceptance.
We have to accept that this is our reality, and it may not be the last challenge we are going to face. If we can accept that everything changes and that some of them are out of our hands, then we can instantaneously adapt and move on. We will naturally find ways to overcome difficulties, and hopefully develop a more positive approach to any situation presented to us. Only then would handling these challenges, whether in our personal lives or our careers, will be easier for us.
Together, let’s accept what’s given to us while looking at the bright side, continuing on with our journey while keeping ourselves safe and informed.
Consistency is Key: The Road to a Healthier Body and Mind
While working from home definitely has significant benefits, especially now that the numbers of infections have increased, there are undoubtedly some drawbacks. As we stay home to keep ourselves safe from the ongoing pandemic, the temptation to live a sedentary lifestyle and binge on various snacks is stronger than ever, which may result in other health concerns.
A Year Without Destinations: Beach Bound during the Pandemic
As we reach a year into the pandemic and the work from home setup, it’s understandable that some of us would feel antsy, not being able to move around as freely as we used to. On top of that, canceled vacation plans from 2020 still weigh heavily at the back of our minds, as if they were a vacation itch we just could not scratch.
A Supervisor’s Story: Shining Despite the Plight
When I got hired, I had no thoughts of moving up the corporate ladder as I applied for a part-time position, which I considered as somewhat of a temporary placement. Years went by and I was absorbed as a full-time staff, and this was this time when the thought of getting promoted was introduced to me by the company. I did get it eventually, but it never crossed my mind that it would be given to me amidst a pandemic.