While many of us are already showing signs of pandemic fatigue, business leaders are prioritising a tight focus on pandemic survival strategies, envisioning a healthier post-pandemic recovery. One executive offers data-driven insights on how the New Normal is starting to look.
People strategies form a key aspect of provisioning a solid platform for an organisation’s immediate future, according to an online interview with global app platform Adjust’s Southeast Asia sales director April Tayson, who is based in the company’s Singapore office.
Founded in Germany in 2010, Adjust, which has a workforce of 500 and 16 offices around the world, started implementing work-from-home measurements as early as January this year.
“Our priority has first and foremost been to keep employees safe, so we made the decision to close all our offices relatively early on – employees around the globe have been working from home since early March. Our teams in China, Japan and Korea have been working remotely for even longer,” said April.
This has borne fruit, she said, adding: “The silver lining to this situation is that we’ve seen just how productive employees can be while working from home. We had a very successful start to the year and went into Q2 full steam ahead. On the client servicing side, we are continuing to provide the same quality of support and service as we always have, and shipping new products and features according to schedule, with plenty more in the pipeline in the next few months.”
Turning to data-driven insights on what the ‘new normal’ looks like, April commented that the company’s own business situation appears fortunate.
“More broadly, we’ve seen that many app verticals in the app economy have shown a lot of resilience in the face of Covid-19. With so much of the world’s population stuck at home, they are turning to their phones for entertainment. Gaming apps have fared particularly well – in the last week of March, our data shows that the vertical saw a 132% increase in the number of installs compared to last year.”
“We now work with over 35,000 apps all over the world – from big multinational companies such as Procter & Gamble to up-and-coming startups. In Southeast Asia, our clients count brands such as Traveloka, Netzme, Booky and many other leaders across the banking, travel, gaming and eCommerce verticals,” she said, which opened up the discussion for broader comments on market behaviours.
“The current situation has changed the way we work for good, forcing all companies everywhere to become as agile as possible. Many employers have dragged their feet when it comes to making working remotely accessible, despite the supporting technology getting better,” she said.
“Our data has shown that with the pandemic forcing the majority of employees to work remotely, Business apps have seen a huge rise in sessions (up 105% from Q1 2019) and installs (up 70%). Revenue events are also up 75%, as users opt for premium versions to help ease the transition to working from home.
Verticals facing particular disruption include the food industry, she continued. “This [food] industry has had to adapt to the circumstances. With many restaurants forced to turn to takeout-only, Adjust data shows Food & Drink apps also saw a significant increase in sessions – up 73% on this time last year, while installs increased by 21%.”
“The last few months have proven that, with a little bit of patience, the majority of office jobs can be done just as easily from elsewhere – so looking ahead, it’s clear that more companies will adopt flexible working from home policies post-pandemic.”
Digital and humans
Like a double-edged scythe, digital transformation had already sparked waves of business and societal disruption in the years before the pandemic.
“As a tech company, we are always really excited to see how new tools can improve our workflows,” April said. “The biggest benefit for us is being able to work fairly seamlessly across different time zones and geographies – tools like Slack, Zoom, and Google Drive mean teams on different sides of the world can collaborate in real-time.”
However, she admits that: “Although we are living in the digital age and a lot can now be communicated through email, and video conferencing, we have found it’s incredibly important to regularly meet our teams and clients in person. Nothing beats face-to-face meetings – even if that isn’t possible at the moment!”
“From a leadership perspective, a challenge we’ve had to adapt to is making sure we keep close to clients and prospects, so we have a clear understanding of how best to support their business through this unprecedented time,” she said.
“One way we’re doing this is by organising a whole host of educational online seminars to keep clients informed and educated remotely, especially considering the number of conferences that have had to be cancelled or postponed.”
“We also wanted to make sure employees were well set up to work from home for such an extended period of time. That’s why we offered every employee a budget of up to 500 euros for any materials they might need, whether that’s a new desk, monitor or a huge supply of coffee,” she continued.
“In terms of keeping teams motivated, we’ve found it important to step up communication internally to reassure employees on how we are handling the situation,” April said, which is in common with how other companies are overcoming social distancing.
“Not being able to speak to colleagues face to face also means we need to be extra proactive and transparent about projects and updates to ensure everyone is in the loop,” she said, adding that the company also set up a work from home support program to tackle the challenges of isolation and lack of face-to-face interaction.
This program includes a Slack channel, where employees share tips, playlists, memes, productivity hacks or similar. “We have also put together a live-stream events schedule led by Adjust team members, which includes a range of fitness and recreation classes, virtual meetups for parents, and after-work social events like live DJ sets and trivia nights.”
“We have always been fairly well set-up to support employees working remotely,” she revealed. “Remote work has been a longstanding part of company culture and means that from one day to the next, employees were fully prepared to spend the next few months at home. With structures and the right technology in place, it has been relatively easy for us all to adapt – at least in terms of processes.”