The COVID-19 outbreak has found all of us rearranging our lives like never before. Work from home is the new normal now. But running a business from home is not as easy as we may think. It does need some restructuring.
In this unprecedented time, companies have to navigate the ongoing situation by being predictive and proactive in their planning in order to reshape business strategy and plan for recovery.
Good planning, strong team communication and prioritising employee and consumer safety are essential to keep any business afloat.
"Swiftly realigning the goals according to this temporary disruption caused due to Covid-19 has called for allowing teams to work remotely and keeping engagement levels high. We had a couple of collaborations, store launches planned which have now been postponed owing to the unfortunate situation. We, however are making sure everything is ready and on track. These are extraordinary times that demand us to work remotely making it difficult to coordinate, or easy to get bored and start procrastinating in such times," said Vineeta Singh, CEO- SUGAR Cosmetics.
Even though sales have come to a standstill, except for essential items, brands are utilising this period to rewind, strategise, review and build on various brand areas.
For a start-up or young brand, there are various things that constantly need to be looked at which can be done from anywhere. Ankit Mehta, co-founder of Walking Tree, noted: "The digital medium has given us the most bandwidth to continue undisrupted work. We have used this time to engage our creative teams in a project, which we would have perhaps outsourced to a digital agency under ordinary circumstances, but instead, we have our teams remotely collaborating, cohesively working together to learn and build something new. We have a team of ten people working remotely together to crack the new project which has technical and creative challenges. What seemed like an impossible task, may perhaps lead to exciting creative output."
Several companies have implemented initiatives to keep their workforce productive and utilise the lockdown period to make them come out stronger than ever. TPV Technology India Pvt. Limited, brand owner AOC and license partner of Philips TV, Audio, Monitors and Professional Display's in India, have established a training routine for the teams to enhance their product knowledge and help them understand newer technologies as well as consumer demands; which will lead to a better positioning of the products in the market, informed the company's spokesperson.
SUGAR has started a companywide initiative called "Golden Hour Session". It is a one-hour freewheeling chat where they invite colleagues from across the team to share their learnings/experiences on a topic of their choice and what they're passionate about. "This is conducted on Zoom App where the entire team is invited to hear what the speaker of the day is here to share. After getting some participation for employees across the country, we are now also planning on get guest speakers from other companies to share their insights/experiences and learning with the team," informed Singh.
Kalyan Jewellers is keeping its employees engaged in training programmes and giving them an opportunity to improve their skill set. Earlier, these training programmes were done in batches by experts in individual cities. However, this phase has enabled us to take this training online and have a much larger number of employees to be part of the training, informed Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director, Kalyan Jewellers.
PR firm Pundit has designed connect sessions to re-energise and help its staff find motivation as Archana Jain, Managing Director & CEO, PR Pundit, feels that since the PR (Public Relation) business is based on socialisation and a whole lot of interaction, "we are cognisant that social isolation can lead to stress for team members." She added: "We are also using this time to upskill teams by administering company-wide weekly internal and external online training programmes."
As most of the employees are juggling between their work deliverables and house tasks, companies have also come up with flexible timings and are also encouraging cross pollination of work for them to manage their work better. But one of the most important aspects which all the firms have to consider is to bring the best out and keep the teams in a creative and positive space without "being demanding".
Stressing on the point, Mehta said: "The most important aspect of this relationship is that we do not have unrealistic expectations of the teams. The key to keeping a team engaged is to make it interesting. The work should ideally be a win-win for both -- add value to the personnel from a personal growth perspective (via a new skill or challenge) or add value to their own role, while also adding value to a business or solve a business problem. It should also be mindful of the personal issues and schedule of the team members in the current situation, with realistic expectations and timelines."