The COVID-19 pandemic has turned everyone’s lives upside down. To say it was overwhelming would be an understatement. The immediacy of the adjustment to the new normal was unbelievable – all of us were looking at ways to adjust and accommodate to this new model where most of us now work from home.
Overnight, work and family life came together under one roof, isolated from relatives, friends and community. It impacted everyone—from my kindergarten kid to the older 11-year-old and the immediate family.
Changing gears with self-belief
As we all know, successful businesses are made up of successful people with great leaders focused on the task and proud of the brand and its mission. In the current scenario, the most critical transformation required is to pursue a digitally agile business model at an organisational level, and for each of us in our personal and family space too.
This will enable businesses and all of us to successfully adapt and change, which is necessary to both survive and thrive in this unprecedented environment, in the professional and personal spheres.
It not only helps brands show leadership and care for their people, and offer reassurance to suppliers and customers alike, but also deliver on projects committed at work.
The new routine created an anchor for me and a lens through which I could relate to the myriad challenges our customers, staff, and partners were facing – along with completing things for myself and my family members that would otherwise go on the back burner.
Integrating work and life
Like for millions of other women, the phrase “work-life balance” can sometimes feel like an oxymoron, and we often wonder if it is even possible to maintain our competitive edge at work while also nurturing a healthy personal life.
I believe that the answer to this question is a resounding yes, and I say this because I see people across the world perform the seemingly impossible fear of juggling their professional and personal responsibilities daily, very successfully.
I also believe that work-life balance is not a one-size-fits-all notion. It means something different to everyone, with a common thread being our digital workspaces, it is about integrating work into our lifestyle.
This is evident as we are increasingly embracing flexible work hours that allow us to personalise our preferred way of work and life.
Success code for brands
The new routine not only became a survival code but also helped me relate to the physical and mental well-being needs of our staff. It brought a new sense of realism and meaning to all people-focused initiatives we introduced into the business in recent years.
We always knew that engaged people make a brand great, and even in these unusual circumstances, we have never lost focus on judicious leadership and understanding of our people.
Every business must build and protect brand equity – the hard-won reputation for an unparalleled quality of product, service built through close and trusting relationships with their customers.
This successful relationship with customers has been sustained over the long term by prioritising personalisation and engagement in every single interaction we have with our customers. We were all in the same storm but not necessarily in the same ship, because every client and customer is unique, and so are their requirements.
We did not take a one-size-fits-all approach but rather chose to create and deliver business solutions based on the specific needs of clients and customers. This approach also factored in specific employee requirements as well considering the unusual scenario.
These customised solutions were critical in successfully personalising the overall engagement and experience for customers, and in successful client delivery.
Workplace safety at all levels including physical, mental and emotional well-being became the very core of our belief system in our business.
Over the years, I have witnessed that safe workplaces are also productive ones, and we continually find new ways to ensure that our remote, frontline, and in-office employees are safe and healthy. These have been stepped up to top gear in the pandemic scenario with rapid response plans and long-term work-from-home solutions with top-notch technology and infrastructure.
Not falling for the superhuman trap
On the business front, I believe in reminding ourselves daily that we are all in this together, and that we collaboratively work hand-in-hand with our clients, partners, and employees, and never as silo units. The success mantra for achieving this is effective communication and listening – by communicating well, we can ensure emotional and mental well-being for all.
I would also like to reiterate that taking care of oneself first and reaching out for help is critical for each one of us to successfully cope with adverse situations, be able to reach out a helping hand, and provide the necessary all-around support to our families, friends, and colleagues.
By going on this journey of self-discovery, I have found a new sense of purpose when it comes to communicating and providing care for employees so that they can look after our customers and show the brand in good light.
The one thing that has been constantly reinforced is the need for a successful business to look after and care for its people at many different levels. This focus on human factors, up and above all else, is critical to survival and a sustainable strong brand.