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How the Covid-19 pandemic has affected auto industry leaders

The Covid-19 pandemic will most likely go down in history as among the most life-altering global events in modern times, on level with the two world wars and the Spanish Flu pandemic. Such events leave a deep impact on virtually every individual on the face of the earth, at any age and at any social stratum, and carries over to future generations.

The pandemic’s initial—and recurring—consequence has been the lockdown or quarantining of wide swaths of the socioeconomic spectrum, virtually paralyzing all but essential transport activities. With this in mind, how have automotive industry leaders been affected by this ongoing pandemic, already two years running? Inquirer Motoring asked industry movers and shakers to share with us the most important lessons they’ve learned, and how this would influence their leadership decisions moving forward.

Work-life balance re-assessed

By Atty. Albert B. Arcilla, The Covenant Car Company Inc President and CEO

“Always prepare for the unexpected. In March 2020, when the world became fully aware of the gravity of the Covid-19 pandemic, we as a company knew we had to pivot quickly. For both Chevrolet and MG, this adjustment was manageable because we had already mapped out how to leverage the strengths of our online channels. From 2018 onwards, we set the groundwork for a strong digital strategy for us to make this eventual shift.

Your people are your finest asset. TCCCI is composed of a tight-knit group of professionals who we refer to as stewards. At the height of the pandemic, it was truly my honor to witness how several colleagues stepped up to the numerous challenges brought about by Covid-19. From product planning and distribution, to sales, aftersales, to finance, marketing, business development and dealer operations, training, IT, human resources and corporate building administration, everyone put in remarkable efforts to adapt and deliver. We did have strategies in place to keep the business running, but it was by the grit and dedication of our stewards that we were able to truly get things done.

Re-assess the meaning of ‘Work-life balance.’ Many of us no longer have the opportunities to get out and do things as we used to do then, pre-pandemic. Things like travel, vacations, and even just meeting up with friends at public places. The pandemic has stripped many of us of these opportunities and now, more than ever, it is important to pay attention to living a fulfilled and balanced life. It may be as simple as having a gadget detox for a few days or catching up with loved ones via video chat to keep the soul happy.

I have always tried to live as balanced a life as possible but cannot wait to get back to my regular routine of meeting friends and family on a more regular basis. The pandemic has given me many opportunities to take stock of what matters most, and it is this perspective that will keep me positive and balanced moving forward.

Be available to work from anywhere. The concept of duplicating your resources means that you are able to work remotely from any location, and this starts with making your work fully digitized and available through shared online channels. TCCCI has made it so that a vast majority of our service groups can work efficiently offsite. Majority of our work systems are fully online, which has resulted in quality performance amid the challenges brought about by a physical workplace setting.

Personally, this has been a challenge since I am still getting accustomed to how ‘mobile’ work can truly be. However, I am excited by the possibilities this work set up brings, how much more efficiency can be achieved, and how much more time I can set aside for myself and my loved ones.

Keep your composure. When the pandemic struck and the lockdowns began, it would have been easy to panic. However, this would have not benefited anyone, so it was a gargantuan mental task to remain focused and composed for that first couple of days in March 2020. But because of the confidence I have in our company and our people, the initial anxiety blew over quickly enough, and we were able to adapt and get back on track.”

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