I have followed Peter Drucker since my college days and one of his interesting interpretations of the future workforce recognized the evolution of working population from being manual workers to factory workers to service workers, and to the birth of knowledge workers. Sometimes, it requires a global pandemic like COVID-19 to convert an adversity into an opportunity to unlock the true potential of a knowledge worker.
Professionally, I have witnessed inspirational moments of colleagues and larger teams in my network rising to the occasion of change, I have felt pride in my organization’s preparedness in doing timely pressure tests to operate in a remote work environment, being fully ready before the lockdown got announced and the way we have adopted technology to ensure business continues with minimal disruption has amazed me.
At a personal level, I am reminded of my recent discussion with our Talent lead Natasha Dave where we discussed how the COVID-19 crisis busted a lot of myths for better and I want to share some of those myths combined with my learnings from the world’s largest work from home experiment.
- Birth of elastic digital workforce: Boundaries of regions, zones have been dissolved. You can be anywhere and contribute beyond the physical territory.
- Work from home is not a cover-up for a holiday: Never the one to believe in WFH concept, I am pleasantly surprised with how business decisions are being made, communication is thriving and quality of work produced is not getting compromised.
- Being Human: Heightened empathy towards the fact that people are in the same storm but not necessarily in the same boats and corporate empathy can cover up for economic apathy.
- Power of humour: The memes and COVID-19 jokes are a great reminder that laughter is indeed the best medicine.
- Death of Doordarshan was a myth: Who knew Mahabharat and Ramayan would make a comeback and would revive childhood memories in the 21st century! Once again, people follow content irrespective of the channel/platform!
- Employees who sit together work well together: Thanks to technology, virtual connect is as real as it gets and out of physical sight does not necessarily mean out of mind.
- Learning happens in classrooms only: We have seen great traction in people upskilling themselves through virtual sessions and web-based sessions.
- Gender stereotypes got busted: The magic of teamwork can ease the burden… ‘maid for each other’ is the new mantra for surviving at home ;)
- Clients will be clients: One of our most revered clients announced that for them, Media Agency is an essential service. Respect.
- Again, quoting my favourite Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”: Culture becomes an important lever for organizations to brave this crisis and how you manage experiences for people will go a long way in keeping them together.
- Virtual meetings v/s Face-to-face: Jury is out, our teams have turned around some amazing work, won pitches, defended businesses and a lot more during the last six weeks.
- 3 E’s of success - Engagement, engagement and more engagement: This has been our key mantra to ensure that our large purple family stayed connected throughout the journey with COVID-19 so far and across various geographies in India, region and global level. All of these in some amazing formats - Townhalls, Evening Hangouts, Chai & Charcha and musical evenings.
With every industry, function and geography affected, what will differentiate organizations will be the ability to adapt to the ‘new normal’, agile decision-making aptitude and a robust ‘survival to revival’ strategy as the recovery game plan.