More than a month ago, we saw a dramatic rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore. It was apparent to us that it would soon become an evolving global health concern, a comprehensive business continuity plan has to be ready in the event that the situation worsens.
Fast forward to today, COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and isolation orders in various countries are happening to curb the number of outbreaks. Furthermore, most experts are expecting it will take a considerable amount of time, perhaps several quarters before the virus can be contained.
As part of our effort to stop the spread, we understood the need to enforce measures that would minimize disruptive situations. One of our mandates was to enforce social distancing rules for our offices — it is times like these where we need to be prepared to make fast and aggressive adjustments to changing circumstances.
“it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” — Darwin
As a Fintech company, being able to adapt and react to change quickly has always been one of our core strengths — it has essentially become a part of our culture. We were also inspired to be even more adaptable by the Singapore government’s proactiveness in pushing out health and safety measures immediately upon recognizing the severity of the virus.
While we established a Business Continuity Plan last year — adjustments had to be made based on the COVID-19 situation.
Many considerations were made when crafting the plan — for instance, the need to preserve the workforce of our KYC team as, without them, our onboarding processes would effectively be on a standstill. Upon forming a task force, we were ready to execute our plans before the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
We are aware that other companies of similar nature to Xfers might be facing similar issues and we hope that sharing these would be beneficial.
With employees in 5 different countries, a crucial challenge for us was making adjustments to our operations to accommodate different government measures.
For instance, the restrictions for public transportation in Indonesia — which has caused some inconvenience for our employees based in Jakarta. We recognized the urgency to quickly adjust operational plans and disseminate information across the different offices succinctly.
As part of the business continuity plans, standard staff advisories have been published on our internal communication channels.
We have also created a color-coded operational status guideline that can be easily adjusted based on the severity of the CORVID-19 situation. Through this guideline, we have a clear idea of the actions to take upon hitting the stated triggers. The statuses, however, are not universal for all our offices and therefore require us to be constantly updated on the situation of the different offices.
For example, all our offices’ statuses are currently ‘green’ aside from Indonesia, which is currently on ‘yellow’ status due to public infrastructures being affected by government measures.
As of 16th March 2020, Work From Home (WFH) plans have been implemented for our offices in Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Indonesia. For our offices in Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam — we are running on a rotation-basis WFH plan which ensures that at least one representative from each department would be present in the office.
Our office in Indonesia, however, is on a large-scale WFH plan, where only essential operational staff are required to be in the office. With public infrastructures having been affected along with the consistent worsening of the COVID-19 outbreak in Indonesia, we believe that this was the right decision.
While we are currently utilizing some of the best software and tools in the market to ensure the consistency of our operations and productivity — we consolidated them to remind employees of tools that can facilitate them in this period of remote work.
These software and tools have served us well and as a technology-driven company — we would like to share it with you guys as well!
As of the time of posting this article, the execution of the business continuity plan has gone well. However, in the event of the situation worsening, improvements can be made to allow for most departments to engage in remote work instead. Overall, we have found the need to constantly improve, and communicate best practices and processes for better remote work.
We would like to remind everyone to take precautionary measures — if we all do our part, we can reduce the spread of the virus significantly. We hope that these would serve as an inspiration for companies that are in similar nature to Xfers.
We urge other companies to share visibility on their practices as well. Together we can all work together to #stopthespread.
Stay healthy, stay safe!
Chief Executive Officer