“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”–C.S. Lewis
It is one and a half months, that we are all in this lockdown due to the Covid19 pandemic; and together we are coping well with this situation. At Magicbricks too, our teams are now used to this new way of work and life.
We had rolled out work from home almost two weeks before the official lockdown was announced to prepare ourselves and evaluate the effectiveness of this work pattern. With the support of our employees and management, this has proven quite productive. Also, fortunately, all our employees are safe, and we haven’t witnessed any cases of infection till now and hope to maintain the status quo on that.
Many organizations have witnessed a steep slowdown during this lockdown and we at MB haven’t been immune to it either. But we are looking at this time of stress as ‘Eustress’ and with utmost positivity utilizing this period which has given us ample time to plan for the year ahead, identifying key activities that will help us in gaining market share once the business resumes and setting up the key business and system processes for the long run and most importantly a rejuvenated workforce which is adapting to the new norm of working from home and enjoying it too.
Our support teams and senior management have been pulling out all the stops to enable employees to be at their productive best, mentally, emotionally, and physically in the current lockdown and continue the same once after they resume office too. We have taken measures to prepare ourselves for this unprecedented situation and today we are working towards making workdays more fun and interesting for our employees.
The biggest change has been a shift from in-person meetings to virtual ones. Being a fast-paced organisation, we are used to having a lot of meetings, daily huddles and inter-department connects for active problem solving through collaboration and brainstorming within teams. In-office, it is always easier to schedule a quick meeting with all stakeholders involved in any situation which requires de-bottlenecking. This way decision making was found to be much faster and efficient.
As we move virtual, the teams have laid down their expectations, and everyone syncs upon timing and schedule. Employees are advised to lay the agenda beforehand so that everyone comes prepared with their respective points making meetings crisp and focused. Video calls definitely help in maintaining the emotional connection among the teams and we also sometimes exchange pleasantries with their family members. On Fridays, the entire team meets for a virtual coffee or a quick fun game online.
We are enabling our employees with smarter tools and technologies to make their work time more productive. We have introduced new office collaboration tools where the teams can discuss key updates, any challenges, and plan the mitigation strategies. The meetings happen seamlessly on our official messenger and video calling platforms. Employees have the liberty to join through their laptops or handsets as per their convenience. Our robust HRMS systems help us to remotely capture all employee-related information accurately. We have also made sure that if any employee especially a new joiner is in need of an IT asset or support, then it is provided to them in a timely manner or they can work from their personal devices as well.
Our onboarding team also ensures seamless virtual onboarding is carried out and maintains the same level of an enhanced experience for our new hires.
Caring for Health and Wellness
To ensure the physical and emotional fitness of employees during these times of restricted activity, we have tied up with a leading industry partner in this field, who provide personalized guidance and workout routines through their online sessions or videos. Employees can join take these classes at their time of convenience every day. We have also tied up with a doctor on call facility in case any employee falls sick and needs virtual doctor consultation. These benefits are extended to their family members as well.
These times are great opportunities for businesses to focus on the learning and capability building of employees. The requirements range from re-skilling at a functional level or companywide transformation across functions. To achieve the same, MagicbricksLeadership Academy (MBLA) has started to roll out various byte size courses across functions groups. All employees after taking the course come up with their key learnings and feedback which helps us make the whole process even more engaging. The L&D team also organizes virtual training sessions for conducting behavioral training and shifting the learning styles to on-the-job and self-learning modules.
All core and support function groups have been working from home for the past 1.5 months and this lockdown stands as validation that enabling and support functions can also operate as effectively as the core businesses when working remotely. We have observed that the efficacy of these teams has increased during this period, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention.
These teams have come up with innovative ways to ensure their work protocols are followed diligently.
As people managers are also embracing the change to manage their teams remotely, they are focused more on getting the results/outcomes along with providing the flexibility for employees to manage their homes and families well. We encourage them to communicate with their teams once daily and engage in virtual coffee/ lunch breaks, take regular status updates for the week, and plan for the week ahead. Our management teams have definitely adapted to more empathetic and humanistic ways to handle employee concerns/issues during remote work and support them to the fullest possible.
To further assist employees in these crucial times, the organisation has extended support to provide additional statutory and other benefits. Increase in medical insurance coverage, the option of availing Provident Fund advance, flexibility in work timings, and leave utilization to balance their personal and professional time.
With intent of creating hope, our leadership team is in regular touch with all employeesto share organisation level updates on business, people process, and steps taken to safeguard business interests. We are taking all measures to reduce the ambiguity and ensure our employees are safe and enabled for the current situation.
As an organization, we believe in the philosophy of “People First”. We have always supported all our colleagues across teams and locations in the best possible manner, and we wish to continue doing the same to the best of our ability, even in the worst of times. We are thankful to our employees for owning up to the projects and responsibilities of their teams and the organisation at large. Hope we will soon recover from this situation with renewed vigor and energy.