COVID-19 came to Pakistan in March but we had grown accustomed to thermal scanners February onwards. The routine smiles by the guards at the gate were now reserved to welcome nods behind their N95s.
The staff at the PTCL HQs started to get acquainted with a life with elbow greetings, jokes about social distancing and a sudden fixation for hand sanitizers until a time came when the number of Corona cases started growing and the government gave a nationwide directive for all offices to move towards remote working.
PTCL is a digital company and the country’s largest telecommunication provider but it is also a very traditional company. We have prominent diversity in gender, ages, and socio-economic backgrounds. We have people who are second-generation employees with over 24 years of experience to their credit.
Needless to say, this abrupt shift in the way we work was overwhelming for many of us.
However, 3 months into working from home, it is so pleasant to see the PTCL Family embrace technology as a way of life. While our essential staff still needs to go to the field and work from office locations, a majority of our employees have been moved towards remote working, including the Contact Center.
We have started to enjoy our morning Teams meetings. Cups of tea are shared together, children walk in to say hello and cats make appearances. Leaders are now better connected to their teams and we get to have a sneak peek into their personal lives also.
A daily newsletter drops in our inbox each morning and provides a much-needed positive kick-start to the day. A very useful platform to acquaint employees with the use of digital forums, share health hacks, and feel the pulse of our people through fun polls and surveys.
Webinars are hosted on a daily basis and employees are thrilled to be a part of a new discussion with an opinion leader every day. External leaders are invited to host symposiums, give sessions on stress management, and help rejuvenate with breathing yoga.
The people of PTCL are a true representation of Pakistan. They are resilient and their drive towards philanthropy is exemplary. Shortly after settling into their new work routines, we started getting queries on how we planned on facilitating the affected population in this time of dire need.
A comprehensive CSR intervention was chalked out and a generous number of PTCL employees contributed their two-day salaries for the pandemic relief effort. The employee contribution was directed towards a magnanimous ration drive in Ramzan whereby 30 cities were selected from Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, KP, AJK, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
A month’s worth of staple food items was provided to 7000 poverty-stricken families courtesy our philanthropic partners and our employee volunteer force; PTCL Razakaar. Rs.100 Million was donated to the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund so that livelihood support could be provided to the most affected population.
Furthermore, financial and in-kind assistance was provided towards increasing testing capabilities, providing medicines at a quarantine facility, and providing PPEs to front-line staff with the NDMA.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and so close to home. It has completely changed our perspective and made us fear for our lives, for those of our families, friends, and the world at large. Yet the pressure to churn quality services is also is a reality.
We feel the weight of the expectations of our customers. We understand internet usage is higher than it has ever been and the need for high speed and seamless connectivity is now a basic necessity.
PTCL has a perseverant workforce. We are committed to deliver the best we can in adversity and pray we all come out of this stronger and perseverant as a nation.