International law firm White & Case Global Operations Centre Manila (WCGOCM) thoroughly stepped up to the task in 2020 to provide an incredible depth of care and support for employees during extraordinary circumstances and earn their recognition as a Great Place to Work-Certified™ Company.
Early on, the company made it a priority to safeguard the jobs and benefits of their 500+ staff members and implement remote working arrangements to keep them safe. At the onset of the pandemic, more than 50% of their staff worked on desktops – but within just eight days, the office was 100% configured for remote working.
This impressive feat was achieved through a spirit of teamwork and collaboration, as their Procurement, Technology and Facilities departments joined forces to purchase an additional 310 laptops, have them configured by IT and then delivered to employees’ homes along with other critical equipment such as monitors, headsets, keyboards/mouse, docking stations, internet dongles, MAC desktops, and webcams.
The financial security of their people was also thoughtfully addressed, with an Additional Remote Working Allowance to purchase home office equipment and a data allowance being provided.
Special care was provided to the few critical third-party members who were needed onsite, such as drivers, security and housekeeping personnel. They were put on a rotating schedule of two weeks at work onsite with free food, transport and accommodations, followed by two weeks of paid rest/quarantine. To acknowledge their sacrifices on the front line, these personnel were also given an additional Php 5000.00 each month in April and May.
Despite an uncertain economic environment, the company invested significantly into maintaining the overall wellbeing of its workforce. Adjustments were made to their benefits packages to include Intellicare’s IntelliConsult and Medgate’s Telemedicince remote medical services, 10 free counselling sessions through its Global Lifestyle Assist program, six sessions with a mindfulness coach through its AWARE stress reduction program and weekly instructor led Virtual Guided Meditation sessions.
Engagement was also prioritized to ensure employees had sufficient channels to gain information and have their queries and concerns addressed. White & Case utilized their customized iConnectYou mobile app to provide information on Covid-19, coping with the lockdown, and stress management, while a special online newsletter called ‘We Are Juan’ was created at the onset of ECQ to provide fun and informative features and updates from both internal and external sources.
Ensuring camaraderie and unity was another key priority, undertaken through fun photo contests (with employees submitting their unique home workspaces and outfits of the day [OOTDs]), puzzle competitions, a Pride celebration and the launch of ‘Culture of Gratitude’ featuring a “Fairy Gratitude Mother” that read aloud thank you notes sent in by employees for their colleagues.
Personal and career development did not fall by the wayside, as White & Case leveraged on its Learning Capital framework to continue employee growth in topics relevant to their current situation, such as ‘Feedback that Works’, ‘Managing Virtual Meetings’, and ‘Creative Problem Solving.’
The organization maintained its keen approach towards community support, both for its internal and external community. Internally, they took special care of their ‘Third Party Team’ (critical personnel who had to work onsite) and conducted virtual ‘Pass The Hats’ for employees to contribute towards colleagues who have lost family members to the pandemic. At the same time, White & Case continued its support for 50 children under their care in Baseco, Tondo under the World Vision program.
Thanks to the heroic and thoughtful actions of their leaders, WCGOCM employees drew inspiration from them and displayed amazing resilience to ensure all operations continued to run smoothly in spite of the pandemic.