How are these business bosses utilising the coronavirus lockdown time
The lockdown hasn’t been easy for anyone. Urban working people have to still meet their targets and deadlines and at the same time, pick up the tools and help with the daily chores.
While we often think that the bosses must be having it easy, it clearly is not the case. They have their game face on as they are managing their teams and running the businesses as usual while also dealing with additional responsibilities at home.
Sakal Times caught up with a few business leaders to find out what they have been through during the lockdown and how they are finding the fine balance between work and life.
LEARNING SOMETHING NEW
For those with kids at home, it can get a bit difficult to manage both home and work. But Gautam Kaushik, managing director and CEO, PayBack India, has not only learnt to manage his time at home with family but has also managed to learn the piano that his older daughter teaches him. “At the office front, not much has changed except that I am not stepping out as much or spending a lot of time travelling. However, the lockdown has helped us to reach out to our teams across verticals and brought us together in these challenging times. We often find looking after each other’s wellbeing. The communication is definitely up since now we are all available to connect more often,” says Kaushik.
He mentions that he has two lovely daughters, and the lockdown has given him a lot of time to have a good family bonding. “The board games that were once eating dust, are now out of the cupboards, and it is pure joy playing as a family. But since my younger one is quite young, we cannot play all the games. So we indulge mostly in Jenga, and I enjoy playing Scrabble with my older one. I enjoy having the two meals together -- it is just so relaxing now,” he says.
To maintain the balance between work and life, Kaushik says that he hasn’t changed his work schedule a lot. But he makes sure that he has an open office at home so that his children can walk in whenever they want to, except when he is on conference calls -- that is the time when the children are kept engaged.
“The morning routine usually includes helping with the chores and getting the two ready and plugged in for their classes. Once in a while, I find myself cooking too -- both exotic and regular dishes. It’s these little joys now that keep us moving forward,” he says.
That’s not all, Kaushik tells us that his older daughter has also taken up the initiative to teach him how to play the piano, so the lockdown has taught him something new.
ENGAGING WITH WORK FAMILIES
Sriram Mahadevan, managing director, Joyville Shapoorji Housing, has of course been busy. Still, he makes sure that his day starts with Pranayam followed by a brisk walk for about 60 minutes in the morning.
Talking about this work from home experience, he says that except for the change in the setup, his daily routine is quite close to what it was in the pre-lockdown days. “While it is business as usual, I now have the additional time to attend knowledge gaining webinars which are being held almost on a daily basis,” says Mahadevan.
Apart from virtual meetings, Mahadevan is balancing his life out and sparing time to do something he dearly loves --listening to music. He adds that now he also finds slightly extra time to watch the news and consume online content.
The MD says that apart from managing time at home, he has made sure that his engagement levels with the team are higher. “For a leader, the engagement with the team during adverse situations has to be much higher than normal times. I am ensuring to be personally in touch with most of the functional heads and team members in a structured manner through Microsoft Teams App. This helps me to understand the teams better and also, in turn, helps me to keep motivating them through these tough times. After all, we too are a family,” adds Mahadevan.
Looking at the entire shift people have made, the MD points out that human beings are indeed adaptable to a large extent. “We have slowly but surely started adjusting to the continuous work from home situation and have managed to control both sales and operations from our respective homes. If there is a method to the madness, anything is possible,” he says.
When asked what is the one thing that he would do differently once the work from home phase ends, Mahadevan says that he is going to ensure that they routinely have virtual meetings across all the functions as much as possible, so that it becomes a way of life for them to conduct business and have a dedicated team which focuses on assessing their readiness in similar situations although he hopes it doesn’t arise.
Situations like the current lockdown make you do something new. For Finway CEO, Rachit Chawla, it was babysitting his toddler. “Babysitting my son is something I have never done, but now I can proudly say that I do it quite well,” says Chawla.
He believes that the lockdown has helped him not only spend quality time with his family but has also enabled him to find time for his mental wellbeing.
“I have fit in a time slot for me to meditate. This one hour is my time wherein I just relax and rewind. Believe me, this gives you different energy and perspective in life and really helps you get through the day,” he says.
He points out that the lockdown has opened a side of him that he did not know existed. He also says that this period had made each family member accessible and added a lot of family time even on a day to day basis, which was earlier possible only when the family took a vacation together. However, working from home isn’t as easy as it sounds. Chawla says that the lockdown allowed them to rethink their business strategy and how to compound on a personal basis. The silver lining is that it has taught every individual a different lesson; more importantly, a positive one.
TIME TO CONNECT
For Mudit Dandwate, CEO and co-founder of Dozee, the lockdown is almost as an extended honeymoon since he just got married in January. “This additional time at home has definitely helped me spend some more time with my wife, and we have been able to understand each other more,” informs Dandwate.
However, it’s not just the relationship that he has been giving time to. The CEO informs that since he saves up his travel time now, he has invested that time in reviving his garden. “In my garden, I have grown my own few vegetables so that we can avoid going out as much as possible. It also keeps me engaged,” he says.
Dandwate points out that he has always loved gardening, but his busy schedule left little time for him to do that. Since the garden is now blooming, he intends to keep it fresh, healthy and growing for a long time. “It has been a great way to uplift my mood and more importantly, stay connected with my loved ones,” he points out.