MANILA, Philippines — The economic recovery in the Philippines is underway as the government ordered more relaxed restrictions under Alert Level 1 in Metro Manila. Since most people were already vaccinated, daily COVID-19 cases remain low. However, the government maintained COVID-19 prevention measures at a minimum level, such as social distancing, proper ventilation, mandatory use of face masks and proof of vaccination as necessary to move around.
As a result, businesses are back in full swing and most companies already require their workers to return to their offices. Public transportation is also back to 100% capacity, allowing more seating capacity for commuters.
Most schools commenced a pilot run for face-to-face classes and local tourism is already open. Experts expressed confidence that this will help stimulate the Philippine economy.
"We have waited a long time for our economy to reopen and most businesses to get back on track. Now is the time to recover what was lost and capitalize on the lessons learned," said AMTI EVP for Technology, Sales & Marketing Bong M. Paloma. AMTI is a Digital Transformation enabler and one of the most diversified ICT companies in the Philippines.
"Businesses should have a game plan to prepare for what comes next—regardless of whether we'll stay on Alert level 1 or go through another strict lockdown due to a new variant of COVID-19. No one could predict the next phase of this pandemic. But two years is a long time and we have managed to stay afloat and we all learned to adapt. Now is the best time to move forward and be always ready," he added.
Hybrid work, investing in tech
Some experts expressed that one way to keep the economy going is to get people back in the office. Although most companies support flexible and alternative working arrangements depending on business functions, such practice is an excellent way to reduce individual health risks.
But there is no denying that the enforced work-from-home scheme has favored most workers and has become a determining factor when deciding which job offer to take. Today, some companies are implementing hybrid work or flexible work schedules.
"If one's business can operate in a hybrid setup, then we should not doubt do it—modern-day workers favor hybrid setup. Although hybrid is not for everyone, this should be the way forward for most companies," Paloma shared.
Going hybrid has its benefits: it reduces office footprint—creating a safer workspace, access to talents across locations, flexible work opportunities, regaining employees' lost time and productivity due to traffic and many others.
To make a hybrid work setup successful, companies must invest in technologies. In addition, employers must provide their employees with devices that meet the flexibility and emerging demands of the business. Moreover, they should also modernize their IT systems to make them scalable, secure and flexible to offer better accessibility to their distributed workforce.
Omnichannel approach, e-commerce and digital services
According to data, the Philippines comprises 76.01 million internet users and 92.05 million social media users as of January 2022. The Philippine online landscape increased since online channels became people's leisure outlets while in quarantine. As a result, e-commerce and online services have also grown to mirror these rising online consumers.
Today, more people prefer a cashless experience; thus, e-wallet businesses, online banking and digital payments have increased. For those companies who have missed out on this, it causes their demise, leading to shutdowns or bankruptcy.
Today, many brick-and-mortar businesses are reopening and perhaps it's an excellent opportunity to leverage the best of both worlds—offline and online services. Akin to the continuous growth of online users, the shift in consumer behavior is here to stay.
People now prefer the experience of convenience and contactless over in-person retail sales. Businesses should step up to this challenge and innovate to survive business uncertainties.
Because of the pandemic, we have witnessed the workplace revolution and upended the working norms of businesses and workers. Today's business outlook may be straightforward if eased restrictions continue but companies should be ready for future eventualities.
"Although the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, only a few are ready for it. Now is the time to transform businesses using technology to create a digital environment to thrive in any challenges or crisis," Paloma said.
AMTI and Lenovo help local businesses keep pace with the changing business landscape to emerge victorious in today's digital and remote work-driven business environment. They provide leading-edge computing devices with inherent security, flexibility and intelligent features—allowing employees to perform their best anytime and anywhere.
Talk to AMTI now to help you analyze your current business situation and remote work readiness to develop recommendations and solutions tailored for your business.
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