What’s News

What’s News features summary of current company activities, initiatives, and events

Our Response to COVID: The NLEX New Normal

by Geraline Jorge and Sam Escolano

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COVID-19 hit us like a storm surge. Day-to-day activities, such as business, meet-ups, and gatherings were swept away, and people were forced to stay at home. 

As scientists race to create a vaccine for COVID-19, the world has tried to slowly return to its feet. Much-needed activities to sustain economies were pursued with modifications to prevent the spread of the virus, creating the term, the “New Normal”. 

With Innovation and Teamwork as part of its core values, our company has not been left behind in formulating ways to cope with this change in doing business. In this What’s News, we will be highlighting how our company cares under the NLEX New Normal.

Prior to lockdown, employees have been used to the daily life in NLEX. When the lockdown was announced, restrictions were suddenly imposed on NLEX’s daily activities.

When the lockdown was enforced, NLEX Corporation was quick to announce the new flexible working arrangement for employees. Work from home is allowed in order to limit, if not eliminate, employee exposure. Employees that are needed to be in the office are given a weekly schedule. Protective gear, vitamins, and shuttle to and from home are in arrangement to guarantee safety. The company confidently assured that employees’ jobs are secured despite the financial impact of the pandemic.

As the new normal and the threat of the virus may pose difficulties to its people, a readiness survey was undertaken to identify and manage these challenges. General anxiety, internet connectivity, transportation and social isolation were identified as top challenges — challenges where NLEX stepped-up to respond to.

NLEX combatted general anxiety by intensifying communication and offering psycho-social services. Communication programs were made available through various platforms such as Northloop, Northlink, Roundtable Mornings with JLLB and with RLI, and Kamustahan via MS Teams. Mental health programs and helplines were launched to give support for NLEX employee wellbeing. Online consultations with the company doctors were also set up so employees can seek medical advice. NLEX’s mother company, MPTC, also launched its My Wellbeing App to keep track of the general state of Tollways employees.

While work from home brings comfort to employees, it brings about connectivity concerns. This was promptly addressed with NLEX expanding its employee’s digital tools. Different collaboration platforms accessible to all such as MS Teams, Zoom, Viber, and chat programs were used. Access to essential documents for employees who work at home were also given.

Alternating work schedules had been put into effect in response to the reduced office capacity requirement during community quarantine. Office floor plans were also remapped to put workstations further apart. The number of employees in meeting rooms were also limited.

Under the NLEX New Normal, the company has also supported a new framework on how to keep employees in their best health. NO MASK, NO ENTRY policy is also introduced, and so is social distancing. Posters and signs are everywhere as a reminder for employees. Going beyond what was prescribed, NLEX ensured that all its employees underwent rapid testing, including our beloved utility personnel and drivers from SESI.

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NLEX also recognized the need to temporarily suspend deduction for collection shortage, damage to property, and cash advances.

Added to our company’s efforts are the efforts of NLEX’s various departments — regularly sending precautionary measures and COVID-19 updates, responding to facilities’ safety and health concerns at various company sites, and ensuring that the company’s financing, operations, traffic, and construction will be sustainable for the company.

As the lockdown has gradually been lifted, employers had been finding ways to make employees safe and comfortable upon returning to work. One thing seems clear, traditional office set up will no longer be the environment when we return to our desks. And the NLEX New Normal is not one to cower down with its battlecry: “NLEX Ako. NLEX Tayo. Nag-iingat, Nagsisilbi!”


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