Return to work initiative, adjustments continue as firms adapt to ‘new normal’
(The Philippine Star) - June 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Things are still far from being ‘business-as-usual’ for most companies and their employees even with the shift to a more relaxed general community quarantive (GCQ).

As the country reels from the psychological and economic toll of the lockdown – not to mention the continued fear brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – businesses and the workforce are starting to adjust to the so-called “new normal,” with some coping a little better than others.

For instance, employees returning to work this past week have complained about the lack of options to get to their workplace, considering that public transportation is still being prohibited from operating at full capacity.

Fortunately, some companies such as Pilmico Foods Corp.,  the food and integrated agribusiness unit of the Aboitiz Group, have offered free shuttle services to transport workers that are essential for their on-site operations. For those who are not required to go to the office, work-from-home (WFH) arrangements have been made available.

According to Tristan Aboitiz, president and CEO of Pilmico, safety remains their number one priority. “We can assure our personnel, clients, and suppliers that, in the crucial period after the lifting of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), we will continue prioritizing everyone’s safety, while making quality products consistently accessible,” he said in a statement.

Pilmico, like many of the essential services that operated during the ECQ, will continue to enforce the safety protocols they have had in place, such as providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and sanitation products for on-site personnel. Also, only essential personnel will be allowed inside the buildings and/or facilities, so no visitors will be allowed in order to minimize the number of people in each facility. Deliveries to-and-from the business will also be done quite differently, following social distancing and contactless protocols.

And following the protocol they utilized during the ECQ, correspondences with customers, suppliers, and other entities will be done mostly online.

“Our focus in Pilmico at this point is to constantly look after our stakeholders, including our team members, and externally, our customers and suppliers. With the disruptions caused by this pandemic, it is important that we try to ease the burden on our stakeholders as best as we can by establishing a COVID-safe work environment and flexible work arrangements,” Aboitiz added.

Pilmico is now implementing flexible return-to-work arrangements for those who need to report onsite. For the majority of Pilmico’s employees, they will continue their existing work from home setup to reduce potential risk to everyone.

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