While the world has moved at different speeds and with varying success in adapting to the post Covid-19 world, Enshored has successfully moved to a work from home model for nearly all operations.
The president of the Republic of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, ordered a “Manila lockdown” starting March 16, 2020, which meant that the City was one of the first in a country without high numbers of confirmed cases to go under community quarantine. That event led the Enshored management to quickly move forward with its rapidly evolved work from home plan. These plans have come under more strain as Duterte has extended and tightened the lockdowns to include the whole island of Luzon where Manila is.
Enshored had begun to prepare for such a situation from late February, and identified key risks to moving to a work from home set up. These included getting the necessary computing equipment in place, sourcing reliable sources of access to internet, and ensuring that access to client systems would be possible. We’d also need to find ways to track our employees attendance.
We also knew that there would be a series of ongoing knock-on effects on our clients. Some faced slowdowns while others faced often rampant increases to their volumes of work, or when in the day the volumes would occur. Others still saw their other BPO partners failing to adapt to work from home.
We identified also that there would be a major challenge in logistics in the Philippines. Getting a hundred of employees home with computing equipment safely was a challenge. We needed to identify and make ready transportation that was going to be coming under pressure to stop working at the same time as the needs were highest. We were amazed by the efforts of many of our Enshored heroes to help with this. It felt like everyone had read CEO Ian Jackson’s standard operational text “A Message to Garcia” as problems were knocked out and the big move happened locally.
With the combined effort of everyone in operations, but especially in our IT department, Enshored managed to hit 75% WFH as of March 19, 2020. By March 25 it had hit 90%, with this number increasing steadily after as additional computing equipment was readied and issues were worked through.
“Overall the feedback is good on the WFH experience so far. We are working on how best to manage communications within teams and training, using the tools at our disposal including Hangouts, Loom and Zoom”
Ian shared with all employees via email
A grateful post was shared via Facebook by an Enshored employee, Christine Corado, “Just got home after getting our PC from the office. They let us borrow the PCs so we can just work from home. I knew being in this company was a blessing. Kudos to the IT and Management team and to our CEO who keeps us updated from time to time since the quarantine took place. Special mention to our Team Leaders, Shift Leaders, and Operation Managers. Sana ganun din yung iba pang BPO companies, wag nyo pahirapan empleyado nyo baka kayo din ang mawalan sa huli. (I hope other BPOs will act the same. Don’t burden your employees else it’s company’s lost at the end). Stay safe everyone”.
“Thanks for the backup, Enshored! Globe prepaid wifi kit and an extra desktop monitor”, shared via Facebook by Roberto Sernande, Enshored leader.
“A little sad but should keep going, graveyard shift from home. Thanks to our company for considering us! God will make a way! Stay safe, stay at home,” shared via Facebook by Rainier Alacida, Enshored employee.
Enshored has also started recognizing exceptional employees who showed above and beyond efforts and are called “hero of the day” to support the work from home set up.
What’s the Strategy?
Communication is key
The Enshored leadership now meet daily, seven days a week, for a stand-up scrum meeting to make sure all new challenges are fully understood and are prioritized and tackled. As a company that has worked with remote clients and remote leadership, the biggest challenges relate to how we manage. Informal listening in is hard to do remotely, and we’re needing to schedule more one on one sessions rather than group meetings.
Our first goal in transitioning to working remotely was to ensure that everyone who currently worked at Enshored had a job so they could continue to support themselves and their families (who may be seeing a reduction in family income as other members were furloughed). While we were focused on that we realized that some of our clients need more help and that we’d have to start remotely staffing up some of our client teams.
Our recruiters, IT and trainers have adapted really well to these new challenges. Already as we reach just the end of March we’ve added over 50 new hires to client teams.
Keeping flexible and responsive
Some of our clients simply cannot know what the short, medium and long term impacts on their businesses will be. Short term some of our teams have been swamped (think flight cancellations, missing packages as the global infrastructure changes gears). These teams have offered up overtime, rest day overtime, and simply found ways to be even more efficient.
Others have seen volumes stop or slow, often due to supply chain issues or the changing priorities of work from home consumers and businesses. Our goal remains to support them all as best we can – be this helping them ramp up teams, or have them scale back short term, and find temporary new homes for their teams until they are needed again.
Filipinos are highly social as a people, and it feels like the least likely place for people to want to work from home long term. That said everyone is enjoying the flipside benefits. Gone are commutes that at times in the year can be up to 3 hours each way. Reduced is the constant honking of jeepneys and buses. The air quality will surely improve the short term too.
We as a company and a leadership team are so proud of the team’s accomplishments to date. We look forward to seeing how we all adapt to the ongoing threat through April and May and see what more we can do to help a confused world adapt and survive this crisis.