How the workplace is evolving amid the COVID-19 pandemic

April 27, 2020
Mondelez International

AS we continue to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies and organizations have had their operations disrupted and upturned amid the observance of community quarantine and social distancing.

As such, a growing number of companies with office-based work have strengthened their work-from-home scheme in order to keep things business as usual at a time when things are very unusual.

This now raises the question on the evolving definition of the workplace. No longer bound by a traditional office setup but through a digitally-enabled environment, the workforce can essentially ‘work’ anywhere as long as they are connected to a stable internet.

And while a work-from-home setup has a lot of advantages, the challenge now for many organizations lies in how they will manage their employees and keep track of their progress and productivity online. And while many companies are learning as they go, some already have existing policies in place and are arguably well-equipped to adapt to these changing times.

One such company is Mondelez Philippines, which implemented a flexible work-from-home setup for most of its people as early as 2017. This, coupled with extended benefits such as 120-day maternity leave and comprehensive health plans which benefit same-gender domestic partners too. These policies have enabled the company to quickly adjust to a remote work setup and have the proper channels and support systems in place.

In employing a remote team setup, the snacking company quickly understood that such a drastic change in the work dynamic requires the collective effort from everyone in the organization: From the leadership to its people. Moreover, this system is built heavily on open communication, objectivity, proactivity, and trust from its workforce.

And in its effort to bring on a sense of normalcy and continuity, Mondelez Philippines has also employed online employee engagement tactics such as virtual town halls, as well as utilizing online channels for continuous learning and development opportunities – even at home.

“We’re not all together right now, but we are #strongertogether. This means that though we might not all be physically present in the office, we retain a sense of normalcy in terms of goals, connections and even fun while working from home,” shares Shiela Pangilinan, Mondelez Philippines’ HR Business Lead. “We have regular catch-ups on video calls, we have an information campaign on safety and what we’re doing for the community and try to have fun through contests like “Show your workplace right now.” We are privileged to be able to continue operations at this time, so that we can provide food to consumers. That’s why we’re making sure our team is equipped and inspired to continue working for the country’s benefit.”

During this time, many other initiatives were launched by the Company to provide support to its people, like an online on-boarding session for new hires, tele-consulting for medical needs, and a reprieve on payment of company loans.

Furthermore, the Company also ensures a continuity of its social responsibility efforts. It is guided by four pillars: Where employees make it with pride, make it possible, make it with impact, and make it uniquely theirs. Since the quarantine, Mondelez Philippines as well as its employees in their individual capacities, have pledged donations and other support, in cash and in-kind, for employees of its service providers who are unable to work right now. The Company has also shared snack product donations – including its chocolates and cookies like Oreo and Tiger, and Eden Cheese – with health front liners and communities in danger of facing hunger.

Pangilinan adds, “We are also showing our full support to our own brave food front liners who continue to produce our snack products, so consumers will be able to have them. These are our manufacturing colleagues, and sales and logistics team. Their courage to provide service to Filipino consumers is very much appreciated and recognized by our Company. We owe them a lot.”

“I maintain a positive outlook amidst these challenging times. I know that I am able to contribute to bringing joy to the homes of people by making our snack products available to them,” shares Ronaldo “Rani” Roque from the Company’s Sales team.

“I would like to extend my thanks to our leadership for providing us the needed tools like safety equipment to be able to continue our work,” adds Melvin Castañeda, also of the Sales team. “I know our Company is not alone in facing challenges, and I am thankful that we continue to be supported through benefits. Rest assured that I will do my best amid this very extraordinary time.”

Having implemented these people policies to create a winning growth culture of fulfillment both professionally and personally, the Company strongly believes that organizations should move forward into the changing times and adapt to ways of how people should be working.

And so, once the quarantine is over or when the COVID-19 pandemic is under control, how will companies adapt to continue supporting its people through the ‘new normal?