UNIVERSAL ROBINA Corp. (URC) said the safety measures it undertook for its workers did not hinder the company from reporting a profit during the pandemic year, and added that it is considering extending the arrangements in some form beyond the pandemic.

The company, a unit of the Gokongwei group, makes food, including many consumer items that suffered minimal diminution in demand during the public health crisis. 

Elisa O. Abalajon, URC chief human resources officer, said in a statement Thursday that the company’s employees remained productive over the course of the troubled year.

“This has allowed URC to overcome headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  It reported a 15% growth in net income to P11.6 billion last year,” Ms. Abalajon said.

Ms. Abalajon said the company has had health guidelines in place since February 2020, which initially started out as a flexible hours scheme for some employees, that became a five days a week work-from-home arrangement after the government announced a lockdown in March that year.

“In the months since the remote work system was implemented, it’s been proven that URC employees remain highly productive. The company is now considering keeping this arrangement post-pandemic,” Ms. Abalajon said.  

Ms. Abalajon said the company provided temporary lodging to 600 employees that needed to be on site such as machinery operators and technicians. URC also provided free shuttle services to employees who needed to travel daily.  

“Apart from easing the workers’ burden of commuting between their homes and URC’s plants, it also provided them an extra layer of safety as their outside exposure to the virus was minimized,” Ms. Abalajon said.

“Human resources noticed that employees seem to be working even harder than usual during this pandemic,” she added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave