Dr Sheetal Nair
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a catastrophic change across the world. Obstacles can arise from good as well as bad circumstances, but they should never deter or overpower you. Be like the earth, which supports all living creatures indiscriminately, without distinguishing good from bad. The earth is simply there. Your practice should be strengthened by the difficult situations you encounter, just as a bonfire in a strong wind is not blown out, but blazes even brighter.
During the lockdown, while few sectors effectively managed to work from home, daily wage labourers and the industries where remote working wasn’t feasible bore the brunt of this lockdown. When the lockdown lifts off, the ‘new’ normal will be in your face for your daily routine, especially your work life.
When you get back to work after lockdown, you will have to brace yourself for dynamic changes in the physical office space and the work culture. Here are a few things that you can expect:
New Normal Body language
Businesses and organizations will have to implement the social distancing rule with adequate spacing between workstations, staggered lunch timings, and restricted gathering inside the canteen and common office areas. The entry and exit points of offices and the elevator lobbies will be modified to prevent crowding and ensure smooth movement of people.
Access cards will replace biometrics. Adequate safety measures will include a stringent cleaning system, screening of employees entering the office, regular sanitization of the workplace, and maintaining proper ventilation. Hand sanitizers at each workstation will become commonplace. Also, organizations will be extra cautious in managing sick employees. Get used to the smell of Dettol on your hands, (P.S. buy a nice aloe vera hand gel)
Client Meetings!! Hardly any….
After the lockdown lifts off, business clients would be wary of physical meetings and conferences. Instead, they would prefer telephonic and video calls over the former. Organizations dealing with sales and marketing will have to get accustomed to this new culture and switch from business-related travels to online arrangements. Imagine Media sales guys pitching for Radio or TV ads, how tough will it be to crack a deal if you are unable to share that hot cup of tea with a prospective client.
The lockdown has forced many organizations to embrace remote working. To ensure employee safety, chances are most organizations will continue remote operations for the majority of the workforce, barring those on crucial projects. Remote working will also help organizations cut down on office infrastructure expenses and save employees’ commute time.
But this would mean ensuring employees are equipped with the required internet bandwidth and uninterrupted connectivity. (Go Jio, no wonder Mr. Ambani is smiling all the way to the bank). The organizations will also have to implement a systematized plan for workforce productivity and people management to continue a seamless remote working culture.
Working from home has certainly increased the incidences of virtual meetings. During Google Meets or Zoom calls, you would have faced issues where your personal space would have not been able to withstand the professional expectations. That being said, such situations have made one more accommodating on a personal level.
There has been more leeway in professional etiquettes. Now remote working will further reduce the stress on corporate dressing and grooming. (Sales of personal grooming products have increased: The Man Company). Another benefit of virtual meetings will be a convenient collaboration between people physically present in the office and the ones working remotely.
In the End
The lockdown has lessened the rigidity of a physical workspace and the need to be present at work. Once the lockdown is lifted, organizations might implement flexible working hours and actively ensure a professional and personal life balance. Special measures will be introduced to engage employees working from home and make them feel a part of the organization. Companies will have to prioritize the physical and mental well-being of office employees and remote workers. When you get back to work after lockdown, remember to maintain social distancing and take adequate safety measures. Stay positive and build a routine for a healthy mind and body. Because remember even in the most difficult situation there is always, somehow, a way to triumph.
The Writer is Corporate Head of DSS Group of Companies.