As a designated essential business in every country we operate in, all our colleagues around the world are taking additional precautions in order for us to continue safely supplying food and beverage ingredients relied on by customers and consumers globally.
Whilst those based in our labs and plants have adapted, including with additional safety measures, most of our office-based staff are also working from home in line with local health guidance which aims to minimise the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Ben Wong, Regional Sales Director ASEAN/India, based in Singapore, and his team have been working from home since the beginning of April and, it’s not the first time this year our colleagues in Asia Pacific have moved to remote working. In a part of the world where it is less common, Ben shares his home-based insights on how to adapt, and stay healthy and connected from home...
Of course, every country has different instructions from their governments, but at the beginning of April, my colleagues and I were instructed to commence working from home by the Ministries of Manpower and Health here in Singapore. Amongst our team, we trialled a staggered working from home initiative earlier in the year, so we had gained a few insights already coming into this new restriction. Here are some of the points that my team and I are being mindful of in these unprecedented times:
- Social distancing – The obvious one. We’re back working from home because social distancing on packed trains and buses isn’t possible in Singapore, or of course other cities around the world, and health authorities know it’s essential to slowing the spread of the virus. Being a responsible citizen is about following this guidance.
- The new WFH model – Working from home is far less widely practised in Asia than in Europe, and in Singapore, a densely populated city, people have limited space and privacy. Figuring out how to share this space with family members is a challenge many face. Accepting this is the ‘new normal for now’ and talking openly and proactively about these stresses is healthy.
- Productivity will be impacted – That’s okay! I know some people feel guilty about this, others are more accepting that we are simply doing our best under difficult circumstances. Remember, no one is productive 100% of the time in or outside of an office. Don’t kick yourself if you have an “off day”.
- Limiting social media time and enjoying other media – I’m quite self-disciplined when it comes to following what’s going on in the world. To avoid being overwhelmed by all the Covid-19 news, enjoy other types of content, such as entertainment news, music, reading or other offline activites. It’s good for keeping your spirits up!
- Routine change – My routine has certainly changed, but one benefit is I’m taking many more short breaks to break up my day. I’m also stretching every so often so I stay comfortable throughout the day. Remember the positive changes you’re benefiting from and think about how to build them into your future working life.
- Staying active – It’s a challenge to keep active inside an apartment. For now, I’m able to keep playing tennis or swim using the facilities downstairs of my apartment while maintaining social distancing. For others, it might be going for a walk or run. If it makes you feel good, prioritise it in your day. I’m also hoping we will start doing a virtual Yoga class soon!
- Staying connected – Our leadership team in the Asia-Pacific region understand the importance of staying connected to our teams right now, especially as some colleagues are really missing the social aspects of office life. As we familiarise ourselves with new technology, we are finding new and novel ways of connecting, hearing each other’s voices, seeing each other’s faces.
- Customers appreciate us – We're in regular contact with our customers, and they are really responding to the personal touch and visibility of our response. It is so gratifying to know we’re making a real difference to our partners and the people they serve.
- Knowing that things will get better – We all have good days and bad days, but what helps us keep our spirits up is that, whether it’s through remote working, availability of protective equipment or safety measures at plants, we know we’re working in safe conditions and are able to exercise social distancing. This is something we’re thankful for.
How are you staying healthy and connected during this time? Share your thoughts with us on LinkedIn or Twitter.