In a world that has forever been changed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, suffice to say that nothing can, nor will, remain the same. Yet, despite how one tiny virus has managed to shut down entire countries in one way or another, governments still need to run, as do schools, governments and businesses.
To say that people are switching to a “new norm” is an understatement, yet those that are still lucky enough to work will attest to their brand-new realities. TISG chose to reach out to an employee of mc.2, a Singaporean company that describes itself as “Singapore’s First Smart Blinds Fashion Gallery” to get a clearer view of how his job has changed since the pandemic hit.
TISG asked Mr Jei Leong, a 27-year old sales manager for mc.2, about his initial thoughts on the announcement of the circuit breaker measures as compared to how he feels about it now, as well as the way it’s affecting his job. Mr Leong shared, “First thoughts was, businesses is going to be affected hence salary (commission) is going to be affected too.” But then he shared that afterwards, he understood that the measures were a “necessary move by the government” to lessen the number of people getting sick. He also said that “The sooner this is over, the faster we all go back to our normal lives.” But one has to wonder, what exactly will be considered “normal” when all of this is actually over?
Mr Leong is already feeling the changes in his job. When asked about the way it has changed so far, he admits that there have been obvious modifications since the circuit breaker measures were called into place.
Mr Leong mentioned three ways that things are different now, starting with the use of video calls for client discussions since they can’t go to the showroom at the moment. He also mentioned that they can no longer meet clients onsite in order to do the necessary measurements, and they now have to do all sales virtually. And given that their business is selling blinds, virtual showrooms, meetings, and sales haven’t made it any easier.
Of course, there’s another side to technology, where it has become quite useful as well. Mr Leong was also asked how it has helped so far in his “new” role and he mentioned, “Platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangout, WhatsApp video call have allowed us to continue doing sales and connecting with our clients. It’s a crucial part for our business.”
He also explained his views on what the biggest challenges have been with adjusting to this new way of working. He explained, “My biggest challenge is to communicate with clients online and not being able to show them certain products that are inquiring on such as curtains and blinds system. These are things that is a must to try, feel and see to understand. For now, all we can do is to explain to them to difference and benefits of each single fabric / mechanism.”
Admittedly, these circuit breaker measures aren’t just affecting the management side of things, but they are also affecting how people shop, and how clients now need to wait for installations which have been postponed due to the lockdown. Mr Leong iterates, “All installations have to postponed. This results to (sic) clients not being able to move in at the time they want. I think that affects them the most. Some even have to rent hotels, or stay with their family members during this time as their new house is still under renovation.”
While things may be different now, Mr Leong is hopeful that it will only be this way while the circuit breaker measures are in place. He explains, “To be honest, I don’t think any aspects of my work will change permanently. Our services is still something that people will have to engage. They still have to visit our showroom to touch and feel the fabric etc.” Meanwhile, he’s just grateful that while the lockdown is in place, technology is helping them “continue doing what we do.”
Nevertheless, they continue to face the difficulty of making the business work under uncertain times, Mr Leong knows that the spirit of SGUnited has shone through in clients that have been “supportive and understanding” even if they cannot fulfil their instalments completely.
He also advised fellow Singaporeans on how “Being socially responsible is extremely crucial” in these trying times. He suggests that they should “Stay home, engage delivery services if need be. Most importantly of all, stay positive.” /TISG