Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
SL company to repay COVID-19 induced, reduced staff salaries
Would you believe it? There is a company in Sri Lanka which will repay COVID-19 induced, reduced salaries of staff. It is probably the only one in the world to do so.
WSO2, an open- source technology provider will remit the salary portion which was cut from staff for the past three months back to them in the July salaries, Sanjiva Weerawarana, Founder and CEO of WSO2 told the Business Times in an interview.
He said the company had prepared for losing up to 50 per cent in the quarter salaries were cut but the company had made money during these months to the effect that salaries could be reset. WSO2 has 650 employees out of which 100 work outside the country.
Mr. Weerawarana noted that WSO2 is returning into a growth phase where US$10 million will be invested within a year and then another over 100 employees will be absorbed within the next 12 months.
The coronavirus pandemic has shifted attitudes about working from home, altering the dynamics of the work environs.
But now that work- from- home has been shown to be possible for millions of workers, odds are that when the COVID-19 crisis is over, more employers will let some employees do it some of the time. Employees all over the world have increasingly sought out positions with remote working capability in addition to flexibility and generous amounts of time off in order to achieve a better work/ life balance - but it has been - more often than not - wishful thinking.
Mr. Weerawarana added that Sri Lankan companies should embrace the work-from-home concept. He said that since his was a global business, it forced them to work from home. "We used to always work from home but the preference was to come to office when there was a need – for example a meeting," he said.
With the pandemic settling in, working from home had a ' non-– negative' impact on the $ 50 million-worth company's productivity, he stressed. "Mainly the commuting time was eliminated. Some employees travel from Gampaha and that takes a good 1 1/2 to 2 hours commute."
Mr. Weerawarana also noted that unlike most other similar companies, most of WSO2' s sales team are based in Sri Lanka. "We have done half of the $ 1 million sales over the phone without ever meeting the customer," he said noting that WSO2 has been selling online for the last 15 years that it has been in existence.
So, the pandemic forcing firms to work from home was a familiar phenomenon for the company.
Mr. Weerawarana added that the entire world all of a sudden fits into what they have been doing all the while.
He noted that company management should shed the wear-a-tie and arrive in the office that they have been wired into for generations. "I find that employees are being more efficient in this context. In any work which revolves around digital sphere, one should be able to do from home."
Shifting their focus to how they can create sustainable business models so they can better adapt to the new realities of working and doing business at an unpredictable time should be the focus, he said. “This is partly because staffers demand it after having worked remotely successfully. Partly, it’ll be to reduce the cost of the employer’s space and related costs in office.”
Tech giants including Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter announced that most of their staff is mandated to work remotely due to the coronavirus. Twitter told its employees that many of them will be allowed to work from home in perpetuity, even after the pandemic ends. These moves signaled a growing shift in attitudes in certain industries toward remote working — a change that could have lasting implications, Mr. Weerawarana said.