Best At Work: The Women of Lazada Are Thriving Amidst The Lockdown
These women are the driving force for change and ambition in their workplace—and we’re so inspired by it!
The months-long lockdown has created many challenges for women in the workplace—with the sudden shift to a work-from-home set-up that was more difficult for mothers without constant childcare, to new responsibilities of blended learning and home-based remote schooling, to even the constant emotional and physical demands of a work-from-home set-up. And yet, the pandemic has also given women everywhere opportunities to showcase their best traits—flexibility, resilience, ability to adapt quickly, and an innate sense of community.
Case in point: The amazing women we met at Lazada—the leading eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia who has a strong presence in the Philippines.
In fact, in May last year, the New York Times released a story hailing how women-led nations were doing better with the COVID-19 crisis. which counted New Zealand (led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern), Germany (with Angela Merkel), Finland (led by Prime Minister Sanna Marin), and Taiwan (with President Tsa Ing-wen), bearing the most success in early control of the COVID-19 cases in their respective countries.
Meet the women who have inspired us to be more.
User Growth and Performance Marketing Head
This powerhouse handles User Growth and Performance Marketing in Lazada. She is completely focused on the user, and how the platform engages them through marketing and other touch points. Her team is in charge of the strategy and execution of end to end Customer Lifecycle and online marketing initiatives related to user acquisition, retention, and engagement activities.
Before the pandemic, she would start her day early, and would try to put in hours in the gym everyday starting 6AM, then coffee at 830AM before punching in at 9AM. After work, she would hang out with friends or relax at home.
However, during the lockdown, her routine changed completely, and instead of the early morning workout, she moved it after her work day as it helped her stretch her body after a long day of sitting, in this case, in her home office chair.
She admits that the challenges she had encountered are probably not as difficult compared to industries whose primary functions are offline. In Lazada, they are used to online meetings and calls.
“But as the pandemic changed the habit of our consumers, we needed to come up with new ways of communicating and further engaging them in our app through our online ads,” she says, making sure that they are aware of new products, promotions, and entertainment options that they have.
In her case, the most fulfilling part of her job is seeing how e-commerce is growing in the country. And while initially, Filipinos have been hesitant to buy online, having Filipinos shift and trust the platform eventually fulfills her and pushes her to work harder.
During her time in lockdown, she learned to take time for herself and her family. “Part of being healthy is taking care of your overall well-being. From actively taking vitamins, finding time to exercise, and making sure the age old work-life balance still holds despite the upended schedules,” she says. In her case, she spent her weekends honing her skills in painting, as well as started to pick up new language skills through Spanish classes.
Chief Customer Officer
As the Chief Customer Officer of Lazada Philippines, Jacqueline looks after their buyers’ and sellers’ experience by understanding their needs and driving platform improvements based on those needs. “We look at every touchpoint and channel that a customer engages with Lazada to ensure that their experience is seamless and consistent,” she explains. “We work with different internal stakeholders to create a remarkable online shopping experience that customers can only get on Lazada.”
Before the lockdown, her day consisted of mostly travel, work, and sleep. Her only break during the workday is to walk to meeting venues. Now that she’s working from home, the workload is still the same except that the meetings are online. Her routine actually changed a lot. Now, she has more time to make breakfast and coffee in the morning, while she can also maximize her short breaks to do simple exercises like jump rope or hula hoop. She also discovered that these short breaks actually help refresh her mind after long stressful meetings.
“The biggest challenge for me is not being able to check on my team face-to-face. Our line of work is stressful as we constantly deal with complaints and issues. So I try to do personal check-ins on how the team is doing, ensuring that they still have a work-life balance despite the new set-up,” she shares.
Part of the challenge of working remotely also is maintaining strong teamwork. It was much easier to do in an office set-up—as you can see if someone is overloaded and needs help. This is why she knew that even in this new normal of remote work, communication is key. Since they don’t get to see each other, they compensate by checking on each other regularly using their messaging app, DingTalk.
During the lockdown, she managed to visit their farm every weekend and found that she enjoyed planting, as well as the small of fresh air as she’s surrounded by nature.
Chief People Officer
As the CPO for Lazada, Johanna leads the team responsible for the overall employee experience of every Lazadian. They partner with their business leaders in driving the culture and values of Lazada. Her priority is employee engagement anchored on their culture and values, and they collaborate on strategies and executions of attracting and retaining talent, along with career and professional development of employees. She works closely with the CEO and the management team on organization design, while keeping the employees in mind, and this allows her to give her HR perspective on decisions that they make as an organization.
Before the lockdown, she would see her kids off to school early in the morning, and get some extra minutes of sleep before getting ready for the office. Then she’ll go back home in time for dinner with the family, and like most women, would split-shift, or continue working at home once her kids go to bed. “I would finish up any other urgent work to-dos before detoxing from the day by reading or watching TV with my husband,” she shares.
Now that they are in lockdown, her family has breakfast together before they “go to school,” in her case, online distance learning or ODL. After this, she can go to work. What happens is that the work day is extended and seems to have taken up the time she would have spent driving to and from the office, so it’s a conscious decision for her to take breaks and set boundaries.
“I realized I actually miss my commuting time because it helped me transition from personal to work mode and vice versa. So now, I’ve tried to recreate this, even just at the end of the day, by walking around the village before having dinner with the family,” she shares.
The new work setup has reduced the otherwise close interaction she had with her team. “The work-from-home set-up has made us less available to each other and something that came so effortlessly for us before, just exchanging thoughts and ideas out loud became a bit of a challenge,” she says. “Something spontaneous before, now had to be scheduled via meetings, and while we use our chat groups a lot, it’s not exactly the same,” she adds.
Giving more insight into the new work place, Johanna discusses their challenges in recreating the environment for Lazadians, so some of the solutions included pivoting their campaign kick-offs, town halls, training and engagement activities to virtual set-ups instead of the usual face-to-face events in the office. “We also had to make employee well-being a key focus area for us because we understood that the pandemic affected people differently and we wanted to address any possible concerns our employees may have,” she says.
Yvette has been with Lazada for two years now, and she is currently the brand manager leading the campaign Nasa Lazada Yan.
Pre-lockdown, she was lucky to be in the same city where the Lazada office is, so she actually gets a chance to walk to work! During lunch, she’d eat out with her teammates, and once a week, her support group would meet up so they can pray for each other. During mega-campaigns, they would stay in the office until past 12 midnight to watch their countdown and monitor their performance. During those times, she’d recall how the office would be packed with food and activities for the employees to enjoy.
All this halted during lockdown, but luckily, as she worked for an e-commerce company like Lazada, work can still be done even if they’re all working remotely. Surprisingly, they were able to launch even more campaigns last year than the years prior, and even had to hire more headcount as support for their growing business.
As an extrovert, her biggest challenge is really missing the interaction with her colleagues. Plus, there’s also the challenge of the stretched working hours. “Before the pandemic, delayed replies are acceptable especially if you’re no longer at your desk, but now, there’s that expectation that because we’re all at home anyway, we should be able to reply regardless of time,” she says.
Why Women Are Thriving in the Workplace
As to why women are in the best position to thrive in the new normal, Aby chalks this up to adapting and multitasking. “[These are] two skills that women are born with and cultivate even more throughout life,” she says. “Even before the pandemic, women have always juggled multiple roles and are quick to adapt to the different changes in their lives. And now, they have seen the continued progress of how women manage working form home, distanced learning, even exploring new ventures and making the most out of old and new hobbies,” she says.
Jacqueline agrees with this, citing from experience as a mother. “I am used to helping my kids with schoolwork and maintaining our home all at the same time. In the new normal, I still get to do all those, but this time, I get to see my kids 'go to school,'” she says. She feels that as they spend more time together she can be more hands-on with them; now they can easily ask her for help with their school activities.
Yvette, on the other hand, attributes this to the ability of women to wear many hats. “I’m not just an employee, I’m also a wife, a mentor, a friend, a sister, and a daughter,” she says. “Before it was a lot easier to alternately wear these hats, but in the new normal, all these hats would sometimes overlap. The good thing is, women are blessed with the innate skill of multi-tasking. We are able to do various things at the same time and do them well,” she says.
Plus, women also have a remarkable way of processing through their emotions, she adds, because we are comfortable in sharing our thoughts and feelings with other people. “Women are able to find and connect with other women who would support them or journey with them, and that kind of community is desperately needed in such a time as this,” she says.
In Lazada, they keep connected by having online activities together such as book reviews, team games, and creative workshops. “We make sure to have fun activities, so we get to know each other beyond work, especially those who have joined us during the new normal and we haven’t met face-to-face, yet!,” explains Jacqueline.
There are also group discussions, training, and even company-wide town halls and virtual parties, shares Johanna. “We are doing everything we can to still maintain the feeling of being part of a bigger Lazada community versus just the teams we work with on a day-to-day basis,” she says.
Plus, there are surprise deliveries to the team and to all Lazadians! “We try to mimic the environment we would have if we were in the office and I would like to think that this has also helped to remind them that they are part of a broader community. We have sent out food, drinks, care packages, Lazada merchandise, and so much more in the past year,” she says.
Having the Right Tools
To many, working from home necessitated a changes in lifestyle, and at the same time, work tools. In the case of Aby, she initially found working from home difficult because she didn’t have a home office. So the first thing she bought was an office chair. It was also important for her to take care of her skin, so she made sure to use apply sunscreen even when indoors because it’s said that light from devices can also damage skin.
For Jacqueline, considering her tele-conferencing set-up was as important as having her desk essentials of table and chair. Her ring light is perfect for video calls. Since there’s not a lot of opportunity to go out, she also set-up her own coffee nook where she makes cafe quality coffee at home using her Breville coffee machine, coffee grounds, and coffee syrup, all from Lazada.
For Johanna however, it was important for her to create four different work and study areas around the house, and these included ergonomic chairs, laptop and mobile phone stands, extension cords, trolleys, organizer bins, school and office supplies, and more.
For Yvette’s must haves, she lists the Foldable Laptop Table which has saved her neck from getting stiff when she works on her laptop all day. Her dumbbell set, which is the highlight of her gym at home, and finally, her Fit Bit Versa.
Discover more things that women need in order to thrive, whether in their work, hobbies, and passions. For all women's needs, you know that #NasaLazadaYan.
To find out more about Lazada company culture or look for job opportunities, visit their website, and to shop for these home-office must-haves, download the Lazada app or browse through lazada.com.ph.