On March 23rd 2020, the entire nation went on a stringent lockdown and with that most companies went on a panic spree. Most of us were not well-versed with the idea of not coming to the studio everyday and discussing ideas in person. Yet, it felt like an adventure of sorts as we set on the Work from Home journey where we learnt and imbibed some interesting practices.
A few days down the road, our meetings, like most other organizations, went online and our work was constantly communicated on Slack. While we acquainted ourselves with the new practices, we couldn’t think of missing our #WednesdayWisdom sessions. Before the lockdown started, every Wednesday, we would gather in one corner of our cozy studio and share ideas, news, research findings and memes with each other. It is the time our team looks forward to. One of our interns once described the #WednesdayWisdom sessions as a platform where everyone is at par and everyone is learning. Our learning couldn’t have stopped during this lockdown and we started using Google Hangouts for the sessions. Sometimes, it was difficult to remember days, but most of us managed to remember Wednesdays from the haystacks of weeks.
We established concrete steps of online communication. Content Creation was facilitated by google docs and sheets, Calendars for tasks were in order, reports were monitored and discussed with csv files and some native tools helped us in scheduling content in advance. With all of this straight and sorted, we looked upon upcoming trends and researched on the consequences of the pandemic in order to align our future strategies. Regular online meetings/calls with clients also helped us run these strategies with them and act promptly with the brands.
Towards the end of phase one of the lockdown, after one online meeting, some watercooler banter started happening and the fact that most of us are located in different locations across the country didn’t matter. With gossip about politics and the increasing mercury, we unanimously cribbed about all the household chores that are weighing down most youngsters who are working from their homes. Most of us know that we are efficient multi-taskers at work, but not quite so at home. Work + Home has proved to be quite a disaster for most Indians. While exchanging notes, we realised that we needed to work on flexible hours. Slack helps us stop notifications when we call it a day and we practice this feature extensively as there are times when the nocturnal ones choose to work at night.
Like most reality shows, our work from home also had a wild card entry! We had a new joinee whose date of appointment happened to be entangled with the lockdown par lockdown..lockdown par lockdown (sorry got a little carried away). This was a daunting task. To ensure that a new joinee gets the right experience of his internship while being in an ad hoc situation is a little nerve-wracking. Just a little. As Karan joined, we decided to open up our book of banter and make him feel acquainted with all of us. He got to know everyone and started taking up tasks with ease alongside his associates. He would feel free to drop messages and communicate his doubts and voice his opinions as if he was a part of the team since ages. He makes better jokes and makes better points than we do sometimes. We learnt more, unanimously.
As times passed, we forgot about the lockdown phases and kept going ahead with all the work. Taking follow ups from our clients every once in a while is a practice that we continue to abide by. Ideas, thoughts, practices kept evolving and coming to the table and we didn’t realise when we made our studio go virtual.
Making the most of all sorts of technology to ease work, reducing stress and anxiety by introducing flexibility, encouraging work life balance (like we always do) were words that we had read and forgotten in management schools but we have been able to take one step further during this lockdown.
P.S. If the phase par phase continues, we shall get back to you with more learning.