The new normal for most working moms during the COVID-19 pandemic is as real as it gets. With a reality that further exposes the blurred line between work and home, it is not easy to remain sane these days—working at home, while attending to domestic chores and more just to ensure the safety of their family.
And what more for frontline mothers and those whose leadership may affect the livelihood of thousands of people—the load, heavier; the pressure, multiplied.
For women leaders in a company considered as essential goods amid Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), their maternal instinct seems to help in preparing and managing their people, making sure that their employees are safe and well, as they heed the call of the government.
“This COVID episode is above the normal needs of the business, so technically COVID requirements and guidance for our employees are another layer of work over the ‘business as usual’ stuff, so work now is more intense,” pronounced Vivian Cheong, senior vice president for Human Resources and Corporate Affairs of Pepsi-Cola Products Philippines, Inc. (PCPPI).
“But as what we have told and called on our ‘Bravehearts,’ our employees’ well-being is of paramount importance to the company, and while we answer the call of the government for continued food and beverage supply, we will continue to support our employees be safe in exercising this call,” she added.
Like a mother’s touch, the care has always been in place at PCPPI even months before the ECQ. The company ordered thermal scanners, face masks, and alcohols for employee’s supplies, as early as January. And in February, PCPPI installed foot baths in offices nationwide—all these were in place way before the ECQ to show that the health of their employees is important to PCPPI.
For managing family life and plant operations, PCPPI operations manager Sheryl Elic, said, “It is hard to balance, but I have to accept it. It’s not fully sacrificing the safety of my family either or sacrificing the welfare of many as long as all precautionary measures are being followed.”
“As a mother and career woman, I see to it that my safety and the safety of my family and my subordinates are my top priorities. I always see to it that all of us adhere to all the basic safety and hygienic measures through constant supervision and alignment, with the help of the line managers and the team. When all precautionary measures are being done relentlessly, then all of us will be more productive and work will be more conducive,” she continued.
During these uncertain times, these women leaders believe in the importance of boosting the morale of their people by showing how much the company values them and by providing them the resources they need.
“The pandemic is something unforeseeable and uncontrollable, but it does not mean that we cannot provide action plans to continuously address the demands and needs of the market and our people, especially that there are hundreds of families that depend on their job. It is our responsibility to ensure that we make efforts to provide job security for all despite the pandemic,” said PCPPI Sales director Leila Dionora.
“I always tell them there are a lot of things that we should be grateful for as the company is doing everything to protect the welfare of its employees. That the top team are finding ways and means to supply the demand. The benefits remained intact especially the sales incentives,” Dionora added.
Explaining in detail, Cheong said, “The morale boost comes not from what we say, but from what employees see as the company’s action to show how important they are to PCPPI. We have provided financial and various resources both to reporting employees and those who wish to stay home. We keep employees engaged by teaching them what to do, how to care for themselves, among others through a number of communication and learning sessions.”
But as PCPPI recognizes the fact that the company has not been spared as with the rest of the world impacted by COVID-19, these working moms consider the immediate decisive action of PCPPI management in looking into mitigating actions to cushion the blow on the business helped a lot.
“PCPPI keeps the principle of being agile in adjusting to the situation, even on our financial choices and concerns. This said, I am proud of my company to not even consider laying off people despite the difficulty that the business is facing. If at all, we continue to secure the support of our people because they, too, know that they have the company’s as well. Passion and resilience being the mark of a true ‘Braveheart’ will bring us through this bump in the road.”
In good times and even in the time of a pandemic, it seems that, indeed, mothers know best—knowing their way around the world to protect the things and people who matter, at all cost. Their wisdom, touch, and instinct almost proven, whatever generation and situation the world may be in.