Q: Do you expect the national economy to pick up this year?
A: If the third wave of the pandemic is brought under control as soon as possible, then we can expect the national economy to pick up towards the second half of the year.

To ensure this happens, the vaccine must be sourced in large numbers, and rolled out quickly and efficiently to the required areas. Simultaneously, aggressive testing for new cases and locking down certain areas to curb the spread of the virus also need to take place.

When the pandemic is under control, tourists will be able to fly in while manufacturing and exports will also pick up – all of which will help to gradually get the economy back on track.

Q: How is your company planning for the medium term – i.e. for the financial year 2021/22 – given the ‘new normal’ era that is now upon us?
A: Since the pandemic began, Vision Care Optical Services has always remained mindful of the fact that we have to ensure the safety and wellbeing of employees, customers and the general public.

So we introduced strict safety guidelines in keeping with the advice of the health authorities and have ensured that everyone adheres to them at all times. We encouraged employees to work from home (WFH) and provided them with the necessary resources to do so. Meanwhile, some employees are allowed to work at the nearest branch to minimise travel.

Given the fluid situation in the country, we have focussed a great deal on being flexible to meet the fast changing external environment. Looking ahead, we will make every attempt to stay positive and flexible in our approach.

Q: In brief, what are the main challenges confronting corporates at this time?
A: Due to the pandemic, customers are understandably distracted and worried. They also have limited funds and their movements are restricted. Therefore, even those who want to go out and make purchases are severely affected, all of which impacts a company’s bottom line due to reduced sales.

Digital channels have certainly helped to bridge the gap but certain products are difficult to sell over such channels.

When it comes to operational aspects, some employees are struggling to adapt to WFH due to various reasons and their efficiency levels have declined.

In addition to these, certain long-term projects of the company have also been held back in the face of such adverse circumstances.