Careers Inside Voices

What’s Your ‘Bounce Back’ Plan?

There’s been a lot of talk concerning productivity, and whether it’s actually productive to be productive. Earlier articles would be encouraging: “Yes, go do things! Don’t let this lockdown stop you from achieving your dreams!” A few weeks into Enhanced Community Quarantine, however, we sort of just fell into this collective realization that staying productive under these circumstances — global pandemic, extended isolation, threatened livelihood, agitated society — is hard AF. We agreed, in the spirit of camaraderie and commiseration, that it’s okay to not learn a new skill, or start that passion project, or stay impossibly fit, while cheering on those who have. Now the end of the lockdown’s strictest phase looms, and many of us are beginning to feel the pressure to reopen and let productivity back into our lives. Do we pick up where we left off? Do we change plans? Do we start over? It’s a daunting task, but we wrote this article to let you know that you’re not alone. We asked some of our friends — creatives, business owners, public figures — about their post lockdown “bounce back” plan:

I plan to be fluid and flexible. I will adapt to whatever procedures and resources can be used relative to my profession. At present, I have adapted and become comfortable with Webinars.

Angel Jacob, TV host

I plan to pick-up where I left of. The very first step is to make protocols as we enter the “new normal” to keep our staff, family, and clients safe from the pandemic. Then, it’s business as usual.

Sky Gavin, When In Manila

Given that we are in a market heavily dependent on tourism we are limited until travel returns to normal, which may take longer to recover. Once this comes back, we aim to reconfigure our restaurant to ensure the safety of our customers and staff is top of mind, and implement best practice protocols. We will also focus on streamlining costs with our menu, targeting customers who are looking for a healthy takeout experience, as well as expanding into more family friendly offerings and cook-at-home deli items for those staying at Airbnbs, as well as long term guests and residents. – Shria Florencio, restaurant owner, Nonie’s Boracay

To spiritually live and love life every minute of the day. – Luis Espiritu, fashion stylist and creative director

Personally, one of my post pandemic plans is to support local businesses. I am sure everyone’s badly hit, but I can’t imagine how small businesses are coping now with rent and other expenses, such as salaries for their staff. I’m sure it will take a while before I can go back to my travel blogging, so I am looking for other ways to continue blogging about other things. Also planning to support local tourism first if pwede na ulit mag travel. – Ana Gonzales, blogger

The lockdown has made me realize that I don’t want to “bounce back” to my fast-paced, stressful life pre-ECQ. I want to ease into a more unhurried way of living and retain the mindful practices I developed during this two-month long quarantine by letting go of the unnecessary: saying no to non-essential engagements, eating healthfully, setting aside time for meditation and exercise, rethinking the way I do my work, and going home early to be with family instead of spending my evenings in traffic.

Emmeline Aglipay Villar, DOJ Undersecretary

Sa totoo lang, we just plan to wing it. Times are so bizarre, I don’t think anyone has a concrete plan for the “after.” We also don’t know how people’s spending habits will change. What we can plan is being available to our customers, post lockdown, by providing good service and delivering great products as we have always done — luckily, our dedication is not affected by COVID. It’s also important that we are transparent to customers about the changes we will adapt, such as sanitary measures, distancing between our production staff, and some lead time adjustments to manage expectations. Options are very limited now. The most conservative way to do it, at least until a vaccine is discovered, is to cruise on by with enough.

Maxinne Ignacio-Liwanag, founder, Las Arca

I’d really love to bounce back by putting all my personal goals into action. That means finding my own place and making time for friends and going out. I used to take my independence for granted and now that it’s been taken away from us, it’s made me realize that relationships are really important.

Marga Buenaventura, writer and creative director

Our recovery involves a two-phase plan, short-term and long-term. While this will take a while to firm up because of uncertainties, for now, we are focusing on ensuring that the brands we handle remain relevant to consumers even during this time. The challenge for us is to become better storytellers — how we convey the message and in what format. Sentiments change, attention span is shorter, different platforms keep growing, and everything moves more quickly so we need to be able to adapt at the same pace to serve the need of both our clients and their consumers. – Michelle Del Rosario, founder, Storyscope Strategic Communications Group

ECQ has indeed been a challenge, but it’s also presented us with a golden opportunity to take a step back from daily operations, and instead take a macro view on the business. During this time, we drew from our company’s core purpose of gathering and growing communities. We started our pivot from within, by focusing on our people first. We noticed there were employees that have strengths outside of their current role, so we gave people the opportunity to make career switches. Employees are happier than ever, and our internal procedures are now even more optimized. With that optimized internal setup, we have been planning for our customers. Safety is our priority, as is operational feasibility when we reopen our commercial spaces. Although we don’t know what the “new normal,” post-COVID19 world would look like, our Lotus Development team is solid, confident, and excited to thrive in this new world. – Dennis Lee, business owner, Lotus Development

We will be implementing strict precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our clients and our employees. Mecca will focus on a holistic approach, targeting one’s well-being and beauty concerns. As we all know, a lot of people had anxiety while on quarantine. We came up with programs to address that. Both online and on-site. We are also exploring the idea of bringing our services to the comforts of your home, including machine treatments. Mecca will have payment options to minimize handling of money that can spread the virus as well. – Mars Abesamis-Balajadia, business owner Mecca Aesthetic

Our main strategy in order to “bounce back” was to pick our battles wisely. We had to make the tough call of choosing which business to close temporarily and which ones to operate. My advice is for business owners to assess their financial capacity, and choose which ones to prioritize. If you fight every battle, you might just waste your resources and end up risking more than you can afford. – Shana Solis, Solina Resort Gigantes

This pandemic is probably the greatest challenge of our lifetime. This is the war of our generation. There is no playbook to guide us on the right thing to do. Not everyone will be infected by the virus but everyone will be affected by it. For entrepreneurs, you have to accept business will not be the same. It’s not business as usual. It’s business the best we can. Pivot your mindset.
It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of a global emergency but one thing I realized is when you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself instead to control how you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is. Change is inevitable. Progress is a choice. Flexibility is so important at a time like this. To sit down and not do anything is fatal, especially if you own a brand. You have to adjust, adapt, and be fluid to survive. Re-ignite your entrepreneurial spirit. Keep your perseverance alive and don’t be discouraged. In times of significant crises, amazing reinvention can also take place not just in business but in yourself. A crisis like this is a catalyst. We should all come out of this better – THAT should be the new normal. Rissa Mananquil-Trillo, author/entrepreneur, Happy Skin

We remain hopeful and optimistic that the travel and tourism industry in the Philippines will recover from this crisis. And only this time, better and well-equipped to serve clients while at the same time paying respect to nature. A huge part of our “bounce back plan” is to put in place necessary health and safety protocols in operating tours as mandated by governing bodies like the Department of Tourism, DOH and the LGU. More importantly, we would ensure that we implement our advocacy for responsible and sustainable tourism and communicate its importance to our corporate structure, our local communities, and valued clients. We will travel again but when that time comes, we have to travel the ethical way. – Aphrodite Cruz, business owner, Las Islas Travel and Tours

With all our restaurants in Boracay, bouncing back will be a little more complicated and take longer for us. But what will definitely be the key for a successful reopening for us is that tourists feel safe and secure in visiting the island again. That means our plan will involve closely working with other resorts and restaurants in Boracay to communicate how safe it is for people to come over. This means letting people know about the availability of medical facilities and how protocols are closely followed on the island, for example. As we reopen, we’ll also talk more about how our restaurants are 100% Filipino-owned and locally grown. I’m expecting that Filipino consumers will become more conscious about their buying choices after this pandemic and will be happy to support Philippine brands. – Nowie Potenciano, restaurateur

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