The last two years have been crazy, to say the least, and the pandemic has really given us challenges we have never faced before. The pandemic has given birth to new work trends from the zoom fatigue, remote work, hybrid workplace, languishing, and the one that everyone has been talking about, the great resignation. If I reflect on all these emerging trends in the workplace, there is one thing that keeps going back to my head, how is our team navigating all of this? How is their wellbeing?

Like most organizations, we have experienced new challenges as we go through different covid waves and extended periods of working from home. It was a quick turn-around of change we had to do, from a traditionally office-based company to a fully remote team. On top of that our team is faced with personal challenges like school closure and the impact of isolation. We knew our team’s wellbeing and safety is our main priority. Our team’s wellbeing is the key to not only surviving but thriving amidst covid waves and lockdowns. Vietnam had one of the strictest lockdowns before where our team is not allowed to leave their homes and our manufacturing team had to stay on-site for months to continue production.

In situations like this, leadership sets the tone and this is when each head of the department steps up to open conversation channels to ensure the team can voice out their concerns, ask questions and give the team the assurance. We listened to the challenges at hand, the concerns on mounting work and personal responsibilities and we knew we needed to do something fast. First,we explored how we can give our team the tools to help them manage their own time and improve their wellbeing. I love the concept of a pilot; I think it’s a great way to learn and see if there is anything that is relevant before we went all in. We tested the waters with a week-long wellness program where we partnered with experts to talk about ways people can improve their mindfulness, physical wellness, financial security, and preparing healthy meals. This hit the spot, we got a lot of interest and we knew people wanted more.

The next target is meetings, the biggest culprit when it comes to taking a lot of time. We used the data from Microsoft MyAnalytics and ran a self[1]reporting campaign and asked our team to tell us how their focus hours, collaboration hours, and quiet time has been. The data was clear, our team was struggling and the line between work and life is getting blurrier by the day. We found out that 39 percent of our managers are spending time more than 50 percent of their time in meetings and more than 50 percent of them are also working considerably beyond their working hours. We had to act fast! We looked at our meeting culture and realized we are spending too much time and involving too many people diluting productivity. We looked at best practices and started to cap meetings at a maximum of 3 hours. We also looked at how many are attending and the level of co-attendance which signals micromanagement. We also looked at how we can help our team do more deep work and we introduced a No-meeting day on monthly basis. Lastly, we made sure to run workshops to train our team on the tools and engage on how we can be more productive. Doing all of this we manage to reduce our meeting time by 63 percent, give our team the empowerment to take back their time and energy.

“Wellbeing is essential for high performance, when you look after your people, they look after your consumer, and your business grows”

For our team in the factory, we worked closely with our on-site team to ensure they are provided necessities and team-building activities to keep them engaged. We also know that they worry about their family and we had to make sure they are looked after through small gestures as care packages for their loved ones at home. We introduced Covid care packages for our team and our employees.

We had to ensure our factory team also have the right social support as they continue to be away from their family.

Looking back, we have really seen unprecedented challenges and it is really through our team that we are able to deliver record-breaking results. By focusing on our team’s wellbeing, we are able to build an engaged and empowered workforce. I think wellbeing is a new evolving space, especially in Asia and there is still a lot of opportunities and changes our leaders can take.

Wellbeing is essential for high performance, when you look after your people, they look after your consumer, and your business grows. When you give them tools to prioritize their wellbeing, they will have the energy to deliver and perform. In this new normal world, looking after our team is the biggest way we can make a difference to our business, society, our shareholders, our team, and their families.