Every company is tackling the challenge of remote work in their own way. Some are firing up the Friday arvo quiz to promote team bonding, others are embracing SaaS tools to help employees work from anywhere.
One thing is clear, though. People – and entire businesses – have had to adapt. Here, we talk to some inspirational leaders about how their companies are supporting employees through this challenging time. These guys generously shared their time at the recent Momentum Live APAC 2020 event – you can catch the full recording here.
KPMG was ready for the new normal
Even before COVID-19 transformed life as we know it, Craig Wishart, CIO, KPMG Australia, was focused on enabling remote work and delivering services that are available and accessible regardless of location or time of day.
“We want our people to be able to interact with their clients, teams and others, seamlessly – whether that be through the use of collaboration services like video and voice, or functional workspaces like document writing and co-authoring, or whiteboarding activities where participation and engagement are key desired outcomes,” he said.
Craig acknowledged that advances in internet speeds, device capabilities and SaaS-based platforms have helped businesses cope with the crisis enormously. But the underlying focus has been on building positive end-user experiences that encourage advocacy in the team. He also put the onus on CIOs like himself to keep raising the bar, saying, “CIOs will have to become increasingly obsessed with the experience they provide to employees, customers, and partners – and really focus on engaging with people.”
Canva is promoting empathy and understanding
With offices in Wuhan and Beijing in China, CanvaCanva has been riding out the COVID-19 storm since its earliest days. Throughout the pandemic, the company behind the hugely popular graphic design platform has been following three guiding principles: safety and wellbeing, supporting its community, and rallying together to grow.
As Tiffany Tai, General Manager of Enterprise and Head of Business Operations, Canva, explained: “We’re learning a lot from other companies and ourselves about what works and doesn’t. Most importantly, we need to show as much empathy as possible – so it might be a virtual trivia night, a virtual happy hour, or one-on-ones with people.
Across the board, Canva managers recognise that people are not working in optimum conditions right now. There might be kids at home, flatmates to contend with, or other pressures that people are facing. In light of this, the management team is adapting expectations and really showing they care about their employees’ wellbeing first and foremost.
Aligned to its principle of supporting the community, Canva has also been busy helping everyone from the World Health Organisation to the French Government to get health and safety messages out to the masses. They’ve also been offering free access to the platform for businesses – for, as Tiffany said, “We’re in this together. Our focus is to do whatever we can to make things as easy as possible.”
Prudential Singapore is doing things digitally
Financial services firm Prudential would usually rely on face-to-face meetings to seal deals with customers. We spoke with Sherwin Siregar, Head of Distribution Business Management, Prudential Singapore, to see how the Asian hub of the global firm has adapted.
Sherwin explained that while Prudential Singapore has always supported and encourage people to work from home, COVID-19 has clearly taken things to a new level. “Our financial advisers are not able to meet customers in person – it’s all done remotely via videoconferencing, with an iPad that has the acknowledgement forms ready for the customer to sign. It’s a big pivot from working together.”
But they are certainly managing well. Digital tools like DocuSign are enabling customer contracts to be prepared, signed and managed from anywhere – as Sherwin said, there’s a new level of convenience and capability that wasn’t there before, and he suspects that these new tools will not disappear when the pandemic does.