Managing Self During Lockdown
These are indeed tough times. For corporate executives at leadership levels, its even tougher because of the associated responsibilities towards the safety and well-being of their team members and the business compulsions that are changing by hours. Confined to their homes, most are learning to cope with the pressure to get used to the new rhythm of life. Spending quality time with family members, managing their anxiety and ensuring essential items available at home during the time of crisis such as this are some of the other responsibilities that add to the pressure.
Striking a balance is the key. Read on to know how the three senior employees of HCCB, namely Tanmay Agarwal, Vice President - Business Shared Services, Kayan S, Zonal Vice President - East and Pallavi Agarwal, Associate Vice President, Distribution are managing their routine and what all they have learnt from the current crisis.
• On the greatest learning while working from home
Tanmay: I have developed a new found ‘respect’ for so many things we take for granted that happen for us. For instance, I realised that managing a home is not easy. On the office front, I would, however, like to say that what one prioritizes is not really a function of working from home or office or time at disposal. In fact, I feel more connected working remotely, simply because everyone is genuinely concerned about the safety of the other.
Kayan: For me, it’s simple – Survive to Revive. The need of the hour is to first ensure the safety of people and business continuity and then think about retaining and growing our market share.
Pallavi: I realised it’s much more satisfying living a balanced life. Earlier, there was a constant guilt, a constant compromise as a working mom.
• On a learning that they would like to carry it to the workplace after the situation becomes normal
Tanmay: It must be the listening skills - be on mute until the other has finished speaking. I would now like to ‘check in’ with the team more frequently when in office.
Kayan: We have learnt a great deal about Change Management in the current crisis. The greatest learning for us is that sooner we realise changing environment around us and accept it, faster we take charge of the situation and start moving.
Pallavi: Yes! I would like to continue living a balanced life and continue investing in self. Between work, traveling and kids, I would push back investing time in my learning or health. I hope I continue finding time for these in normal times too.
• On what are they missing the most about the office while at home
Tanmay:Stand-up meetings and white-boarding.
Kayan: I am missing the action in the field – the thrill of execution of strategies and accelerating further.
Pallavi: I too miss being in the field, as well as interacting with colleagues and chatting up over those chai/coffee breaks. Virtual Chai cannot replace the real thing!
• On any new good habit that they picked up during the lockdown
Tanmay: I have re-started meditation at 5 am after quite a gap. I also wrote an article after a long time for a CPO-Innovation group on ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the Economy’ during the period.
Kayan: I am currently fully engaged in my work, so I could not get time for any hobby. Although I tried to revive my reading habits, but invariably I ended up in the kitchen.
Pallavi: I have started investing my time in e-learning. In our fast-paced, high travel lives, there is no time left to learn new concepts. I have recently started taking out time - twice a week, 30 min - to learn new concepts. Also, my kids and I do evening workout-routine. It’s a necessity for us, to burn out their energy as their physical activities are minimum now – but it’s something I have started looking forward to, everyday!
• On the biggest challenge that they are facing while working from home
Tanmay: Connectivity issues off and on.
Kayan: It’s essentially about productivity – input vs outcome. This is more relevant for people like us, who are required to be physically present in the field.
Pallavi: The biggest challenge is to manage everyday household jobs, office work, and kids, all together. We wake up early in the morning, sort household chores by 8.30am, and laptop is on from 9 am. My kids’ online classes have started, so they need help in between (we are still getting used to Google Hangout and Google Classroom). Thankfully, my husband and I have divided tasks (and kids!), so it’s getting better.
• On any one change that they would recommend to the organisation to be better prepared for any such scenario in future
Tanmay: I feel that every function has managed this very well and very fast, with new innovative solutions. For instance, implementing ‘Work for Home’ for more than 300 people of our Tell-Sell Team was earlier un-imaginable. We should do cold test and hot tests for any kind of BCP situations. While no one could have predicted a scenario like this, the current situation has instilled a belief in all of us that nothing is impossible.
Kayan: I sincerely feel that going forward, our focus should be Grocery, Grocery and Grocery. We have now realised that this is the most valuable channel that remains operational under all circumstances. It’s only appropriate that we start providing top most priority to this channel.
Pallavi: I would say, HCCB is doing an outstanding job in communicating to us employees, about our safety and well-being. Such times make us appreciate the importance of good communication, a personal connect with each employee. One change we can drive as an organisation, taking learning from this scenario, is to liaison with our Distributor and Retailers to use technology to drive business.
• On what did they enjoy the most during the lockdown
Tanmay: It was indeed a bliss being around the family more than ever before. We played carrom together after many many years.
Kayan: I feel the crisis has brought out the best from each one of us. It was heartening to see the way we connected with our families, friends and colleagues. Our bonding has strengthened further.
Pallavi: I am enjoying being with my kids more often. My kids are young and have (too) many questions! This lockdown has given me an opportunity to spend more time with them, do some fun activities with them, and much more. Uno is our family game now, and we are maintaining register-based scores to carry forward for next evening!