The post-pandemic workplace: lessons from Asia Pacific, as normality slowly resumes

March 3, 2021

This article originally appeared in The Drum. 

With agencies around the world at different stages on the long return to the office, we look at what lessons have been learned by agencies in APAC – and considers how agencies in the west can take note.

Check out the feature of our Hong Kong office and what our People team has been doing to ensure our teams were and continue to be supported through the challenges of COVID-19:

Hong Kong

 

Having lived through SARS back in 2003, as news of Covid-19 started circulating in Hong Kong, the ForwardPMX team took immediate action in early January 2020 to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its staff.

Kristine Tang, the people director for APAC and Russia at ForwardPMX says the agency’s quick reaction and global connectivity with other offices allowed it to source face masks from Europe and distributed it to all APAC offices where supplies were limited.

ForwardPMX also implemented remote working and work-from-home arrangements for all staff and shared Covid-19 news across the region through internal communication channels.

“As the pandemic swept across the region, we recognized the need to permanently adapt our working arrangements to help all our staff adjust to changing conditions. We created a new section in our employee handbook on flexible working that included best practices for managers and employees on remote management, tips for parents working-from-home and how to make flexible working work for you,” she explains.

“In addition, promoting healthy habits became one of our top priorities. Thus, we introduced our weekly Wellness Wednesday Newsletter, featuring articles and videos that promote mental and physical health for all employees. We also actively encouraged participation on Health & Wellness Awareness days, such as Mental Health Week by providing access to webinars and other materials for staff.”

Tang says it is important to respect and understand the needs of staff, which is why employees are back in the office but ForwardPMX has flexible working in place so staff can choose to come to the office or WFH if they prefer.

“Although we’re all going through the same pandemic, each person’s experience could be very different. Keep an open mind to the challenges of your staff and give them the flexibility to adapt their own working habits to find what works best for their personal situation,” she adds.

Read the full story for insight on other regions and agencies’ approaches. 

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