The Future is Now

The current situation, although grim and uncertain in many ways, is quite challenging as it forces us to look outside the conventional practices we’ve always relied on. Leaders need to understand that our reality is going through a faster pace of change and if we are unable to reinvent and reimagine how businesses need to be run, then we run the risk of being outpaced by smarter, more agile organisations that can survive the test of such disruptions.

There’s a saying that the mind is like a parachute; it cannot work unless it’s open. Just so, it’s fairly unpredictable how long we will have to endure this new work arrangement. However, the positive aspect is that the fundamentals of business operation remain unchanged. Although teams are forced to work remotely and virtually, the ultimate goal is to keep achieving service-level agreements for clients, as promised.

Given the options and the widespread risk the pandemic poses, it was imperative for us at Propay Partners to adapt to the changing situation in a responsible and phased manner. Although working remotely hasn’t been the standard procedure, we managed to immediately respond to the crisis by setting up a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) solutions committee by late February. We also made sure our contingency measures with respect to the Restriction of Movement Order were rolled out within 24 hours so that sustainable strategies could be planned for both our team and clients without any compromise on protocol.

Transformational shifts in organizational culture, communication and technology were other core aspects we directed our energies to. Now is a great time for leaders to stay grounded, listen intently and ensure human capital gets its rightful place. Important as it is, leaders need to connect the dots across the entire business ecosystem, blending the welfare of the team with sustainable client servicing. Accountability permeates all rungs of the hierarchy in a crisis such as this and teams are always working to prioritise efficient outcomes rather than emphasizing on work hours. KPIs have become a dynamic metric and the focus is now more towards resilience and agility.

Communication is key

No leader has ever been criticized for communicating too much and I feel the current situation, no matter how normal we make it seem, will never eliminate fear from our minds. The fear of what may happen next, of financial insecurity, continuity of operations and concern for our families are what we cannot get away from. Clarity in communication, timely messages and being forthright about the long-term may be the best option for all of us. It’s also important to understand that change is not easy for everyone and only through positive reminders can we bring everyone to unite and work as a team.

At Propay Partners, we engage through tool-box meetings every morning so that we stay aligned and supported. We also look into the opportunities and challenges that face us both at work and off it. We plan to conduct our April townhall with 30 team mates all at once to make sure that change is in essence just a jump into digital formats, nothing else. We are hopeful of celebrating birthdays and running cooking sessions by our office Master Chefs online to ensure there’s never a dull day.

Even though the world seems to be in standstill, digitally, we are operating in full swing. IR 4.0 is at its best, forcing us to adopt smarter systems, green technology and invest more Learning & Development into digital capabilities. Though certain sectors may be in for a downturn, opportunities are galore for those who see the ‘digital’ lining. Companies are turning their focus into risk-management strategies in key sectors like payroll, compliance and may prefer to hire talents for short and mid-term contracts to avoid long-term employment. Recession might have a positive impact on our services as companies will be able to scale up by leveraging our solutions.

For those who are wondering about the future, I’d like to say, the future is now.

Manish Mehta is Business Director at Propay Partners ( based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He can be reached on