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COVID 19, being a part of the change

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COVID 19, being a part of the change

Who could have planned for what just happened? 2 months and counting COVID 19 has had an impact on every single one of us. Be it an individual, the community, an organisation, industries, the economy, countries or regions. 

With about a week of anticipation, the islandwide lockdown was announced and all organisations needed to take a call to stop operations or quickly adapt. Given our business model, online tutoring we were lucky and able, we chose to adapt. 

Reflections and thoughts, I have many…

Whilst we had a small group of part-time contracted tutors working from home, taking the rest of the inhouse staff to embrace the next level of remote working has been a convincing roller coaster, a SLOW and work in progress!! The management team will agree. Came COVID 19 we were not only able to run our entire operations remotely but we also went on to recruit, carried out a 2 weeks training programme and went on to pass and onboard 75 new tutors all of which was carried out remotely.  An entire process that we had many previous ballets and discussions about the challenges we didn’t see a way around. With all challenges bravely faced and fought through.  When pushed to nothing but the edge, the team finally finds a way around. 

Having relatively easy and simple internal procedures and policies,  as an organisation it helped us to adapt fast and remain to keep things as normal as possible. Through the introduction of some useful apps and office tools, I found my “not so tech-savvy” self, discussing HR agenda items at virtual weekly all-staff briefings to ensure that communication and information still flow through. Growth and knowledge sharing via google hangout had the entire management and teams continuously discussing and sharing weekly updates. For those interested webinar discussions and online training were introduced and circulated for those who wanted to keep knowledge afresh and learn new insights and all of this was the easy part. An important part of an HR function is also Engagement,  we even went about initiating virtual gaming and quiz competitions!! Who says you can’t have effective communication and engagement working from home? We are truly experiencing new methods of both and through the uptake and seeing our staff embrace these initiatives we hope to drive positive staff engagement and happiness levels. 

“Company Culture” a word that has always been referred to quite sacredly across organisations. Some organisations align it to the company values, others to the industry it belongs too, brand image, product offers etc. and in most cases, it is generally a combination of more than one thing. For example, back in the day, office dress code was considered a critical element of company culture, however with IT and BPO industries being introduced to our country, today it is a policy that is hard to define and in most cases non-existent. The office environment is another good example,  at one time “open door policy”  was trending and after some time tearing all cubicles and doors down, came “open office concepts” these changes were all intentionally done to foster the company culture we perceived our organisations to be. Today we are testing “ Working from home”.  A culture cannot revolve around the “tangible things”  only but should be more focused on defining an organization’s personality, respect and how you treat each other, transparency, communication, employee inclusivity etc…  and the list really has no end. Practising all these good habits and ensuring a good values system is running throughout the entire organisation will have its people acting as culture ambassadors upholding the culture to remain strong and adapt to any situation.   

I always saw myself as an individual being heavily dependent and driven through the people I choose to surround myself with and I mean that in a literal sense “physical surrounding” it was working well for me and I had an entire routine around it. I had the option and I hated “working from home”.  For a while, it got me looking left and right wondering….. what’s this version of me? But soon I realised that I was still surrounded by all my work colleagues and l needed to steer through just as I did before. Two months later and with lockdown measures being eased out some companies based on the industries and operations will rush to get back to work, however it has got others rethinking if  “Working From Home” could be here to stay. 

susan-jacob

Susan Jacob

Senior Manager – HR
Third Space Global

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