On the evening of March 16, 2020 President Rodrigo Duterte addressed the nation and called for an immediate Luzon-wide Enhance Community Quarantine (ECQ) as a measure to suppress the transmittal of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) which has hit the country. The ECQ caught everyone by surprise, after all the Philippines was the first country in South East Asia to close its borders. This decisive action has contributed to the relative control of the outbreak in the country.
The next day, the six floors that Global Process Manager Inc. (GPM) occupies looked empty. Only a few personnel were at the GPM premises. While the streets along UN and Taft avenues look deserted and made a ghost town of Ermita, it was business as usual for GPM.
A recent survey by the IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) on its members revealed that because of the ECQ, 50% of the staff were at home and were unproductive, while 40% were on Work from Home (WFH) and 10% were part of the skeletal workforce and were still working in the offices. GPM however, has managed to have 94% on WFH, 5% in the skeletal workforce in Times Plaza, and only 1% unproductive at home.
This efficiency may be attributed to the quick and effective actions of the GPM IT department. GPM President Mr. Erik M. Nielsen lauds the IT department for their efforts, “The praise goes mainly to our IT department, as they facilitated that we could bring IT equipment home and remotely installing VPN on these computers, and of course providing excellent support by dealing daily with the tickets raised by our colleagues still in the office and those on WFH.” This is further validated by GPM IT Manager Ryan C. De Lara who commits, “We guarantee that our clients will surely continue their business even if we are in the midst of this pandemic. Services to our clients is our topmost priority.”
The GPM Account Managers were also responsive to the needs of the clients as they stayed in close contact and constant communication with the clients about their WFH requirements. They facilitated the purchase of dongle WiFis, upgraded their home Internet subscriptions and attended to other online concerns. They provided the usual operational support to the clients like processing of cash advances, liquidations, billings and responding to calls or emails on various requests and queries.
While we are serving our social responsibility of staying safely at home, GPM continues to serve its clients. The Marine Payroll team brought home their desk top computers and is processing the payslips of our beloved seafarers so they may get their allotments on time. The Multi Media team continues to serve the thousands of marine vessels plying around the world and rely for their news and information through the Home Harbor Daily News and Balitang Marino Daily News.
While in ECQ, the Finance Services group continues to provide the finance and accounting back office processes to our clients in different Magsaysay groups. According to Finance Services General Manager, Ms. Maria Criselda S. Velayo, “The ECQ set-up unveils to us a more essential business continuity strategy, we were able to move our team to a WFH set up to continue our processes and deliver the services required of us by our clients. This shows that even distance can bring greater collaboration of our teams and clients to achieve our common goals. Yes, sometimes we face challenging circumstances, but these challenges give us significant opportunities to extend our capabilities to perform and deliver.”
It is likewise business as usual for the HR Shared Services Department. In fact at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Health and Wellness group through the company nurse, Ms Ynas Morales has been educating GPM and the clients regarding the virus. The team continues to provide medical assistance to those in need, wherever they are.
The Payroll and Benefits team is intact and is up to date with their payroll obligations even while working from home. The talent acquisition team is occupied with their usual tasks of processing applicants to fill current vacancies. In fact the team has just hired some aspiring talents for our clients this ECQ. The HR management team continues to provide employee support by handling HR concerns like regularization, employment verification, loans, etc. and provides engagement activities to GPM employees during the ECQ.
Head for HR Shared Services, Ms Maria Cecilia Odoño Gamos assures GPM and the clients, “While there is chaos around the whole work industry regarding work from home, leave without pay and all others, what we can assure within GPM is full payroll service through all the payout periods. The HR team is in full force in WFH mode to assist the employees.”
In a recent email to the GPM employees, Mr Nielsen assures that in spite of the COVID-19 crisis, GPM is doing fine and we are well covered in looking after the businesses of our clients. GPM is doing much better than other companies in the IT-BPM industry. He emphasizes that in these tough times GPMs priorities are:
- Protecting our employees
- Ensuring business continuity
- Supporting our clients and stakeholders
- Growing through crisis: a transition to the “new normal”
“I am immensely proud of how GPM was able to respond at very short notice to an unprecedented crisis situation as the one presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Mr Nielsen. “In just a couple of days we were able to mobilize and enable 94% of our workforce to WFH, using a mix of company laptops, personal laptops and company desktop PCs & monitors. So GPM continues serving its many clients in widely different fields, so that work is continuously done despite this pandemic affecting most of the world now. At the same time, we have all learnt new skills when it comes to working and collaborating from home, staying socially connected while staying distant from one other.”
In this difficult moment in history, GPM will mark a transition to a new way of working, and even living. While a lot has been lost, so too have a lot of opportunities opened. We must learn from this crisis and adjust to the new reality which will still be characterized by the need for social distancing – or better: distant socializing. While returning to normal operations may still be far ahead, GPM will bounce back from this pandemic. He concludes, “This new CoronaVirus has also taught us that when all people on the planet face a given danger, we can show solidarity and do the right thing together in order to fight it. And we will overcome, and GPM will be able to get through it and emerge stronger from it, with the help of our colleagues, clients and other stakeholders.”
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