Recovery Readiness - How to Safely Return to Work

Recovery Readiness - How to Safely Return to Work

On May 20 AMCHAM's Human Resources (HR) Committee held a video conference titled Recovery Readiness - How to Safely Return to Work to over 70 attendees. The event featured guest speakers Manoj Chatpibal; Corporate Services Director of ManpowerGroup Thailand and Gareth Powell; Senior Director of Cushman & Wakefield. With covid-19 showing signs of slowing in the Kingdom, many companies are looking forward to a safe return to operations. With Cushman & Wakefield having a significant presence in Thailand and China, Gareth was able to give insight on how their company is returning to the workplace in both locations. Manoj also had considerable knowledge of company operations as Manpower works with some of the largest companies in the Kingdom.

HR Committee Co-Chair Richard Jackson moderated the session and opened it by saying that "the lockdown has been certainly easier than the return" referring to the difficulties that many organizations are having with returning employees to the workplace. Manoj emphasized that being completely ready to return to work was far more important than the speed at which people return to work. Now is the best time to rethink about how employees are engaging with the workplace and for employers to consider the future when it comes to restructuring the office. Gareth commented on Cushman and Wakefield going as far as looking at walking paths in some of its locations to reduce traffic. He also went on to mention that companies should be flexible when considering how they will utilize their office space. While co-working spaces were once a rising trend, they will have to reconsider allowing how many people they allow to work in a single space at a time. Gareth was confident in co-working spaces eventually rebounding from covid-19 after a thorough investigation in safety.

Manoj mentioned the importance of physical distancing not only in the workplace but also during commuting to work. He stressed that employers need to communicate with employees on how to maintain proper hygiene in and out of the office. Some companies are arranging transportation outside of the office in order to further reduce the risk of unwanted interruption. "A second wave could happen at any time, so we can't fully relax," Manoj urged, "This is a time for us to rethink and plan for the long term."

Richard cited a study saying that 18% of jobs could become Work From Home (WFH) permanently which raises new questions on how and who should be returning to the office. Fellow HR Co-Chair Chris Shultz remarked that his own company's hours have become more flexible. He encouraged employers, who traditionally consider it a necessity to be in the office, to explore the possibility of changing this thought process as many employees are still efficient out of office. A survey within DKSH showed that nearly 80% of employees saw that production had maintained or even improved when working from home.


For more information on returning to work safely, please visit Manpower and Cushman and Wakefield's covid-19 resource pages:


A video of the videoconference is available on the AMCHAM member portal.

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