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‘Sana all’: Hybrid setup and other things we wish for in our workplaces

Gerald Dizon - Philstar.com
âSana allâ: Hybrid setup and other things we wish for in our workplaces
Filipinos are now asked to return to their workplaces, but are they truly safe? Many, if not all, are still wary of going back to the office. We can't blame them.
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MANILA, Philippines — Return to pre-pandemic life is most certainly possible, but not just yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), saying that premature lifting of restrictions could lead to “deadly resurgence.”

Moreover, variants such as Omicron will continue to emerge, as WHO monitors more subvariants worldwide. Fortunately, we’re now seeing the current surge waning and the daily caseload decreasing in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.

Filipinos are now also asked to return to their workplaces, but are they truly safe? Many, if not all, are still wary of going back to the office. We can't blame them. That is why local and international companies are now adapting their workplaces to offer a sense of safety and reassurance.

We’ve been seeing this shift and here are three things we wish for in our workplaces: 

1. Hybrid setup/flexibility

‘Sana all’: Hybrid setup and other things we wish for in our workplaces
Hybrid work allows employees to work wherever they think is best, whether that’s from home or onsite.
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Hybrid work, as opposed to a traditional work setup is where management is amenable to allowing employees to work wherever they think is best, whether that’s from home or onsite. This could also be arranged where businesses can opt for alternating schedules, where employees work onsite some days and from home the rest.

Having this mode in place allows for more flexibility and safety from exposure to the novel coronavirus, and makes for better work-life balance.

According to recruitment agency Manila Recruitment, about 80% of Filipino employees prefer the hybrid setup due to the ongoing global health crisis.

2. Taking care of well-being

‘Sana all’: Hybrid setup and other things we wish for in our workplaces
It’s important that employees have access to health insurance that assures medical services.
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Filipinos love a good self-care routine during this pandemic, whether that involves some good old retail therapy via online shopping, ordering their food cravings online via delivery apps or simply having off days for a “mental health break.”

On a more significant level, what Filipinos prioritize even more is their overall health and wellness, especially to those who are more vulnerable.

This is why it’s important that they have access to health insurance that assures medical services, like annual physical exams as well as consultations and counseling whenever they need it.

Even more relevant is companies making sure that they have COVID-19 support available for their employees, should employees and their dependents should they wish to get vaccinated or wish to get tested for the virus. 

3. Career development programs

‘Sana all’: Hybrid setup and other things we wish for in our workplaces
It's important that companies have initiatives that offer more career growth for their employees, like seminars and workshops.
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As professionals, there’s nothing worse than feeling stagnant at work or finding yourself at a dead-end when it comes upskilling vis-à-vis their career interests and plans.

This is why it is of equal import that companies have initiatives that offer more career growth for their employees. This includes seminars and workshops that they are able to attend even from home.

Having these in place makes employees feel more valued and more motivated to contribute to the company, and promotes loyalty and higher morale.

Exemplary foresight

‘Sana all’: Hybrid setup and other things we wish for in our workplaces
Unilever Philippines has proven that it is ahead of the curb in pivoting and adapting to the times in support of its employees, guided by its vision of a Purpose-Led and Future-Fit organization.
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Unilever Philippines has proven that it is ahead of the curb in pivoting and adapting to the times in support of its employees, guided by its vision of a Purpose-Led and Future-Fit organization.

“We need to ensure productivity amid the prolonged presence of COVID-19, protecting lives as well as livelihoods. We believe that face-to-face collaboration is extremely important for innovation, creative problem solving and culture building—to unlock further growth,” Julie Hudtohan, vice president for Human Resources at Unilever Philippines, said.

To date, they have launched several initiatives towards these goals, including:

  • Access to internal e-learning platforms Degreed and Linkedin Learning Licenses
     
  • Purpose Workshops, Agile Fundamentals, Servant Leadership Workshops and Always-On Digicon and IMMAP Digicon, for support and upskilling
     
  • Talent resourcing tool FLEX Experiences for upskilling employees based on their interest and career plans
     
  • Monthly-themed well-being initiatives, as well as free psych and nutritionist consultations
     
  • Unplug/Focus Fridays and a company meeting manifesto that helps set boundaries between work and home time
     
  • HR Services Initiatives to Support e2e Employee Life Cycle in this Pandemic
     
  • COVID Support Policy since 2020 that ensures access to COVID testing through their HMO partner or the Philippines Red Cross
     
  • A partnership with Maxicare and other medical institutions to ensure visibility on bed capacity and accommodation
     
  • Annual physical exams in partnership facilities nationwide as well as a vaccination program for employees and their dependents alike

A future-fit Philippines

Globally, Unilever is also committed to providing flexible employment options by 2030 by pioneering and launching a new employment model called U-Work.

With U-Work, employees are paid a monthly retainer fee where they commit to a minimum of six weeks a year. They also get assignment pay and an opportunity to earn a bonus, all while getting benefits such as healthcare and a defined contribution pension.

“While there have been personal benefits of flexibility and reduced travel, many of us have also been plagued with distractions, struggles to delineate work from personal time, and feeling disconnected from our peers and teams. It’s time to pivot together to hybrid to get the best of both worlds,” Hudtohan said.

With times a-changing globally, it is indeed an opportune time to make better adaptations that are in the best interest of hardworking Filipinos, whether working at the office or from home.

 

To know more, visit www.unilever.com.ph and www.unilever.com.ph/sustainable-living.

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