Saturday, May 23, 2020

Covid19 is a tough teacher: Covid19 Diary

Covid19 situation has taught us how to survive in critical situations. Initially everybody was panic with a lot of questions in mind. We were forced to act differently. We were not prepared. We were downplaying the situation till March 2020. Business was as usual but all of sudden within a week everything changed. The Honourable Prime Minister declared the national lockdown. People started getting worried about the future. They started rushing outside to buy groceries and essential things. Organizations were not clear how to manage the situation. All employees started working from. Human resources function got busy to support the business. There was confusion and only confusion. Slowly, people started getting used to the situation. Memes and humours took over fear, insecurities and confusion and people started enjoying the situation. Women started enjoying more with challenging friends and putting the status on WhatsApp. Everybody geared up to work in a new way and that’s the agility. Initially for a few days people struggled to adjust the new normal. Covid19 forced use of digital platforms. Companies were not willing to allow work from home just a few months back but now everybody is comfortable to work from home. People started to learn new life skills in their homes.

Digitalization is not new and organizations have the agenda of digitalization in their strategy presentations. We always used to talk about all this stuff like digitalization, artificial intelligence, Virtual reality and so on. However digital journey is always resisted. Sometimes management is not that much serious about the same and most of the time senior members of the organization don’t see the value. In fact, CEOs should be happy that the digitalization agenda is accelerated because of Covid19. Organizations and people are forced to use the digital platforms.
Few technology companies declared their intention increasing the percentage of employees who will work from home going forward. We don’t know what will happen. It is a good cost optimization tool. But how many companies ask their employees what they feel. There are benefits for both. Less travel time, not driving stress, no pollution and better work life balance. But what is the fact? People tend to work more while working from home. There is another group whose productivity may go down. There are social & relationship issues and organizations also need to think about the same. Further, it looks cool but not possible for all roles. Possibly employees will prefer to go to offices, interact with teams, have team meetings and work a few days in a week in the office. That may work perfectly fine as a win-win situation.
But we should not misinterpret digitalization journey with only using zooms, Skype and Microsoft teams for meetings and video conferencing. We also should not overestimate the communication tools and interactions, webinars, seminars online. This is very simple. We need to take a holistic view of what it means. I see here the big opportunity to create value to the business and to the customer. People are trying to be innovative in view of social distancing and trying to design some product in alignment to that. But digitalization is not limited to touchless interaction. It is more than that. We also need to understand the social needs of the human being. You can’t replace everything with digital technology. Digitalization and technology are not the replacement of human interaction and relationship. You have to integrate this aspect while mapping your digital journey. Further we also need to understand those millions of entrepreneurs, small vendors, shopkeepers who are a more important part of the economy. It will be pertinent to note what digitalization means for them. During the crucial period those small vegetable vendors and shopkeepers were the effective supply chain for us to live. We should not forget them and decide what digitalization means for them. Can this technology make their life simple?
There is another group of citizens, migrant labour, poor and people whose livelihood is on their daily earnings. Their struggle is painful. Sad part is that their contractors and organizations who were taking their services never thought about those poor labours. They were worried about their cost and finding reasons of not paying their wages. We should not call ourselves modern and successful where millions of people are starving and dying. We can’t be successful when the society fails. What are we doing to make their life good? Digitalization could have been a great help to track them, to manage their passes of travel and so on.
Of course, there are Good Samaritans who are doing good deeds, feeding to those poor. We should also recognize great souls in police, doctors, nurses and citizens who are supporting them.
I think Covid19 has taught us some lessons. Lessons on humanity and inhumanity. Lessons on change management, lessons on how to be agile, fast and flexible. Lessons on how to be happy and not to react.
During this period Human Resources professionals have shown courage to take a lead. They went the extra mile supporting business continuity and also employee safety.
(Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my organization.)

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle; Vitality in Human Resource


Ravindra Patil said...

Very nice 👌

Unknown said...

Very Nice Article Sir.

As per my understanding Digital Mindset is not just about implementing new age technologies, it is a *new way of thinking* about *Values Business Models and the organization*

You may also like these.. please read