Interview with Mr Khalid Tawab – Chairman, Tawab Group of Companies
PAGE: Tell me something about yourself and your organization, please:
Khalid Tawab: I am Chairman of Tawab Group of Companies which is renowned named in the manufacturing of paper, board and steel. I have served as Senior Vice President and Vice President of FPCCI and Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry. I am honorary Consul General of Mozambique since 1989. President of Pakistan awarded me Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2009 in recognition of my outstanding public services. My company got two time FPCCI Exports Awards and one time International Asia Award due to highest exports. I am also philanthropist and trustee of Aiwan-e-Tijarat-o-Sanat hospital.
PAGE: How would you describe the impact of COVID-19 on the employees working in various sectors?
Khalid Tawab: COVID-19 has impacted all the sectors of the economy. Like other countries, at the initial stage the Government of Pakistan also imposed lockdown throughout the country and managed the social distancing in order to save people from COVID-19. Moreover, various IT and other service providing companies also allowed workers to work from home. The lockdown situation has affected the economic activities badly and it is assumed that the unemployment and poverty will increase, however, in the wake of good policies of the Government, we are least affected. Government with the assistance of State Bank of Pakistan offered soft loans to those industries and factories, which would not lay off their employees and laborers in this situation. Moreover, Government also distributed Rs. 12,000 to 20.2 million people via the ‘Ehsaas Kifalat Programme’.
PAGE: Do you presume the use of technology would spike in every job from now onwards?
Khalid Tawab: The pandemic has changed the working environment and now people are moving towards the use of technology. There will be a long-term decrease in business travel due to the emergence of video-conferencing tools which not only save the cost but also increase the efficiency and globally may reduce working hours and maintain better health. The technology will change consumer behavior, away from traditional methods. This forces us to adapt to new trend, such as working from home and move towards a future that could be free of offices.
PAGE: What kind of transformation would corporate employees go through in the next couple of years in the wake of pandemic?
Khalid Tawab: Governments, business leaders, and companies will allocate more budgets for investing in healthcare facilities while fighting with any disease. More tech startups will emerge with creative applications which will improve efficiency and the employees have to improve their skills by taking training sessions. The employees will prefer to work more from home instead of office and use technology in financial transactions. The technology will also increase e-commerce activities which also would bring revolution in the usage of internet and other technology.
PAGE: Do you think organizations would be able to decelerate their cost by virtue of digitalization in the workplace?
Khalid Tawab: Yes, technological advancement will decelerate the operating cost of organizations, businesses and offices. According to some research conducted by different organization, the digital formation can reduce 40% cost of the organization and improve efficiency almost 20 percent. For example, digitalization does not require travelling, food, accommodation and sending of documents by couriers etc and also impact positively on environment. Overall, we can say that the digitalization will improve the working environment and it will increase access to information fast and improve the efficiency of the organizations.