All of us are locked down somewhere in the world.
As the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic handcuffs nations and borders, I'm serving my sentence in Melbourne. All this while, I've been receiving and exchanging stories of lockdown with friends from all over. I spoke previously with Mary Muthoni, President and CEO of the Women in Business Network in Kenya,
The COVID-19 Lockdown Series is a cumulation of stories shared with Affluent Society by its members and members of Platinum Circle.
Prithu Srivastava is President Director for DHL Supply Chain in Indonesia and a member of its Asia Pacific Management Board. A DHLveteran of 14 years, he has worked across role spanning strategy, sales and P&L ownership in the US, Germany, Singapore before Indonesia. Based in Jakarta, Prithu oversees DHL’s operations spanning 75 cities in Indonesia. He and his wife have been kept entertained throughout the lockdown by their 2 young boys.
Affluent Society (AS) spoke to him about his experience with the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia.
AS: What is the lockdown like in Indoneisa?
Here in Jakarta, lockdown restrictions have been slowly eased. The “New Normal” is upon us and people have begun to emerge from the isolations. Though consciousness and carefulness around social distancing norms remain high. The situation though evolves daily and we continuously react to new context.
AS: What challenges did you face when the lockdown started?
Logistics is considered an essential service and even more so now as we ensure that all critical supply chains continue to run seamlessly during this pandemic. The primary challenge has been to ensure our ways of working incorporate strict SOPs around social distancing to ensure the safety and health of our teams. Our frontline employees have made a gargantuan effort to come into work, keep our operations running and ensure that our customers’ shipments are moving in a very challenging environment. This is so important in maintaining the flow of supplies and goods in communities, and also in supporting the continuity of trade activities for businesses. It is incredibly impressive that our employees are showing more commitment than ever in the current challenging situation.
AS: How are you coping with the lockdown?
My first concern on WFH was whether I will be able to work effectively, it very soon morphed into the concern of not being able to switch work off! Finding a rhythm has taken time, interweaving the 2 works better for me. Taking a 10 minute break with my 2 boys, 6 and 3 in-between calls is better than regimenting a strict 8 to 6 concept.
1 counter-intuitive notion is that I actually feel much more connected to the teams during lockdown. DHL has operations in multiple cities in Indonesia and our head office is just 200 out of 4000 colleagues. My previous concept of staying connected was a very demanding travel schedule and that was still touch and go. Going online has meant more interactions and deeper discussions with a wider team range.
AS: Anything positive came out of staying and working from home?
Surprisingly our productivity have remained high and I must add that we found time to pursue those back-of-the-mind topics that were getting lost before in the daily grind. A lot of good work has gone into digitalizing processes. Internal efficiencies have improved and people have learnt to enjoy huddling together in the online environments. Thanks to 3 months of time spent on digging internally, we are operating at our peak efficiency levels now.
We are seeing a lot more digital incorporation into our engagement activities. To keep team morale high, we conducted online programs on mental health, financial planning. We even organized Saturday evening zoom yoga sessions, tik-tok dance challenges or cooking photo competitions. Not dealing with Jakarta traffic also means that I can meet with more customers and teams now than before.
AS: What's happening to return to normalcy?
Being a supply chain operator, fine planning of SOPs comes easily to us. There is extreme carefulness and diligence in implementing office safety protocols. Things like daily self-safety assessment, office rostering to allow for social distancing in office, temperature checks, air purifiers, disinfection routines, even daily vitamin handouts. Also as our current productiveness remain high, we are not rushing into normalcy and are sticking to a cautious approach.
Next up: We speak with Sara Watts, about her COVID-19 lockdown experience in Australia.
The COVID-19 Lockdown Series is brought to you by the Partners of Affluent Society including Crystal who redefines the way the world views luxury travel. Crystal Cruises is the World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise Line, having earned top honors in Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader Choice Awards for 26 years, including winning “Best Medium-Ship Cruise Line” in the magazine’s 2019 awards, and voted “World’s Best Large Ship Cruise Line” by Travel + Leisure readers for 23 years.