Article (October-2020)


Tune into all frequencies

Oindrila Chakraborty

Designation : -   Head HR

Organization : -  Jio Studios - RIL, Certified Coach - ICF, Mumbai


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How do you visualize the new normal of work and workplace beyond covid?

OC The word - new normal - has become our pet peeve. We get to hear the reference of this in almost every webinar, every talk there is & in those weekend video calls with friends. I will not be surprised if the two words 'New Normal' isn't already added in our urban dictionary.

In a conversation with a friend, I realised that most of our plans or personal goals refer to 2021. We have already negated this year. The year 2021's assumptions are going back to a scene which exists in our conscious mind, what we know about via our previous experiences, those scenes that are in our control to create - the surroundings, the experiences & our respective workplaces, outcomes of our business plans/goals, the leadership, the team expectations, etc...

The realisation is it may or may not be!

The realisation is that there a huge canvas in front of each one of us, that can be painted bigger & better.

The realisation is the need of the hour is high agility, high adaptability & high resilience.

Let's rewind 2 quarters. We all started this year with robust business plans, defined goals & workways. Raise a hand, if your plans were swiftly changed, aligned to the current situation.

It reminds me of a quote from Harry Potter "Time will not slow down when something unpleasant lies ahead".

In my personal view, the workplace beyond COVID will be about going beyond the belief system of, what worked till now, will work even now. Instead, the focus will organically shift to - measure what matters.

What may be the stark differences between pre and post covid work and workplace?

OC Before a vaccine is available, the office experience probably won't remain as it was before the pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought unprecedented challenges. Many organisations in India & the world over have risen to the occasion, acting swiftly to safeguard employees and move to new ways of working. These lessons could hold base to exploring & re-imagining post COVID work in creative & bold ways.

During the last 4-5 months, the constraints imposed by this near-global lockdown and the new sustained habits and practices developed during this time can shape the future of work in many ways. It has already accelerated a movement towards collaboration, trust, agility & creativity.

Beyond covid, HR professionals will be responsible to create and nurture a work culture that drives mutual trust, empowerment, productivity and inclusion. Can technology help achieving this or HR will have to explore other innovative ways?

OC We are getting to hear how so many organisations have declared WFH model for most of their workforces. Even before the global pandemic hit us, organisations were moving towards this flexible model to engage talent from far away locations. The pandemic only pushed this process ahead at a faster pace.

The availability of technology is one aspect, but readiness to technology is another. In fact, in change situations, it is much more than just being tech-ready for us human beings.

Today in the wake of Covid-19 aftermath, it is a brilliant opportunity to enable business by blending digitisation & intertwining core culture pillars of an organisation. An opportunity to bring inclusion, empowerment, mutual trust in the forefront when the team members are working remotely.

What should be the short term and long term strategies and initiatives for employees in this respect?

OC As a coach, specifically a certified OKR coach, I recommend the OKR framework of goal setting.

The framework includes several rules, which help employees prioritize, align, focus, and measure the outcome of the work they do. It also helps organisations to move from an output to an outcome-based approach to work.

To know about the OKR way, I recommend all the readers to pick up a book called "Measure what Matters" - by John Doerr

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