The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively brought normal life to a halt in the whole world. So, Indian government has used the formula "break the chain" to stop the spread of this disease. Indian government has ordered for lockdown and 1.3 billion residents of country to stay home. As a result, employees of many companies are working from home. But they need to follow best practices for working from home to be productive.
But, it's not easy for the company to let all employees to work from home. Company has to take permission from its client if employee can work on client's information at home. Employees need laptop, a good internet connection, communication gear, work-related hardware & software. Of course, technology has made it easy as you can do everything online like meetings, attendance, etc. But, all companies have to make plans how they can make it efficient.
We talked to few companies about their planning to have "Work from Home" and effective best practices for working from home which they have applied for maximum output in the time.
My Star Hub
Metro and Metro
Simply Fresh India
Ecolab Digital Centre
Founded in early 2015, upGrad offers online programs for working professionals. We talked to Mr. Mayank Kumar, Co-founder & MD of upGrad, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Mayank Kumar- Co-Founder, upGrad :
At upGrad ever since we have switched to the Work-From-Home model, the leadership team has been on their toes to make sure that their respective teams are communicating enough amongst their colleagues, maintaining the team bonding and synchronization. We have active video/audio calls and group conferencing to make sure that everybody stays updated.
- We’ve ensured that remote IT infrastructure (hardware and software) are made available as much as possible. To ensure that the work stays uninterrupted, employees can discuss with their manager and mail to IT help for support anytime.
- We will be using hangouts, zoom or other software for official meetings or calls.
- Employees are encouraged not to step out of home for a meeting, event, public gathering etc. unless absolutely necessary.
- We suggest them to exercise caution while using public transport for travelling inside the city and minimize your inter-city and intra city travels.
At upGrad, we will be monitoring the spread, taking inputs from industry and govt. bodies and take appropriate decisions keeping your safety and business continuity in mind. We will keep employees posted from time to time about relevant updates.
Casa Exotique has been exploring the depth of Interior Designing and Styling with the help of a remarkable team of professionals who takes each and every turn to make your vision come to life. We talked to Ms. Bhawana Bhatnagar, Interior Stylist and Founder, about the plans to make work from home effective.
Ms. Bhawana Bhatnagar- Founder, Casa Exotique:
Given that we’re currently at stage two of the infection, we are actively separating sick employees and contractors from the healthy ones to prevent the infection from spreading any further. Also, sick employees have been given the Flexi leave benefits as well. As of now, we are waiting for the government directives and updates on the situation. If there is any indication that we are moving towards stage 3, then work from home will definitely be implemented.
121 Experiences specializes in experiential brand communicating solutions to drive behaviour changing consumer habits. We talked to Aniket Sharma, Co-founder & CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Aniket Sharma- Co-Founder, 121 Experiences :
- We have urged all our employees to work from home during the current crisis unless absolutely necessary to work from office.
- We also understand not all employees can work from home due to their respective reasons, for them we are following a rotational policy. If there is a team of 4 then only 2 people have been asked to come on a single day.
- Further we have encouraged car pooling amongst our employees instead of taking the local transport to and fro to work.
- We have also relaxed office hours from 11-4 to ensure those who have to take public transport can avoid peak hours both ways.
My Star Hub
To create the most authentic and memorable fan experiences across the world, My Star Hub came up with the platform where fans can book personalized video shootouts from their favorite celebrities. We talked to Swapnil Mahajan, Founder & CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Swapnil Mahajan- Founder, My Star Hub :
- We have chalked out a comprehensive guideline to keep remote working effective.
- Besides maintaining a focus on clear communication, we have kept things flexible as we know that the one-size-fits-all formula doesn't work when people are working in different settings.
- We are relying on online tools and digital meeting platforms for discussions, clarifications, and progress tracking.
- We have full trust in our people and are working on creating a support structure for effective remote working.
Co-founded by Swati Nathani and Ranjeet Kumar, Team Pumpkin, a 360 Degrees Marketing & PR agency commenced its operations in 2012 with a clear mission to help brands win in the Marketing and PR space. We talked to Ranjeet Kumar, Co-founder, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Ranjeet Kumar- Co-Founder, Team Pumpkin :
- As a precautionary measure, we have rolled out remote working directives for all our employees across regions until the situation settles down.
- Team Pumpkin has always been a flexible organization, even before Coronavirus forced people to work-from-home, we had implemented the policy in our company. With our long-tested policy and a supportive environment for remote working, we are effectively maintaining our productivity levels.
- With daily work reports and progress updates, we are making sure that the deliverables are not affected and business continuity is maintained as normal.
- We are connecting with the teams and clients through teleconferencing and video conferencing on a need basis.
- To manage daily attendance, employees have been advised to download the app and do remote clock-in and clock-out throughout the remote working period.
- For those who need to visit the office for any urgent requirement, we are ensuring complete hygiene within the premises.
Headquartered in Hyderabad and Singapore, Ozonetel has several industry firsts to its credit in the area of Cloud Communication. We talked to Chaitanya Chokkareddy, Co-founder & Chief Innovative Officer, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Chaitanya Chokkareddy- Co-Founder, Ozonetel
- Ozonetel Communications is a pioneer of cloud communication solutions and as per Dept. of Telecom (DoT) regulations, calls can be converted to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and connected to agents' phones within the OSP sites' local network. This will allow organizations with OSP license to extend the call from OSP site to be connected to agents' phones at their home over VPN.
- VPN will allow access of all applications that are accessible to an agent at OSP site. Since Cloud Agent delivers all agent tools including a phone call in browser, it's a seamless transition.
- We are helping all our clients/customers to set up this model of WFH. All those running IP based contact center like Cloud Agent can implement this, but for now it is limited by DoT for only who has the OSP license.
Dineout is India’s largest Dining out and Restaurant tech platform, helping more than 17 million diners monthly discover new restaurants, reserve a table, pay for their bills and get offers and discounts combined with a SaaS product offering to its restaurant partners manage their operations. We talked to Ankit Mehrotra, Co-founder & CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Ankit Mehrotra- Co-Founder, Dineout :
Work from home as a policy is commonly followed by our teams in times of personal need but when we implemented self quarantine policy for the necessary folks, it seemed almost difficult to function. And a time like this where the entire office across all cities, including our Sales team who are majorly on field, to work from home is something we never imagined!
- We are leveraging on technologies like Google Hangouts, Slack and Zoom for work from home arrangements and ensuring continuity of the work.
- The start and end to our day is just like before with regular communication and synergy within teams and with clients via video conferencing.
It continues to be challenging and we’re learning on the go, one day at a time with effective and ethical work practices virtually.
Bridged uses a combination of AI and 13,000 strong highly skilled workforce to develop unique and vast data at scale significantly improving the quality of data models. We talked to Ashwin Chalam, Founder and CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Ashwin Chalam- Founder, Bridged :
Employees at Bridged have recently started working from home, and we've put measures in place to ensure productivity does not decrease. We made sure that all employees have access to requirements such as a laptop, an internet connection, communication gear, work-related hardware & software, etc.
- Concerning best practices, employees need to prioritize communication. This involves multiple video chats and protocols for communication and escalation.
- Employees should update their teammates on the status of tasks at hand and inform them when they won't be available during lunch breaks, casual rests, etc.
CarveNiche is an innovative edtech startup, which is using latest technologies such as machine learning and advanced data analytics to personalise learning for K-12 education. We talked to Avneet Makkar, Founder & CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Avneet Makkar- Founder, CarveNiche :
- Have dedicated Work Space while working from home and setting a work schedule and sticking to it.
- It is very important to not get distracted and be disciplined about your work as this way, one would be able to finish tasks at hand effectively and efficiently.
Docttocare allows the users to schedule their surgery appointment with the right doctor or hospital, which is best for their health and which is cost-effective. We talked to Sugandha, Founder of Docttocare, about what advice/suggestions she has for effective work from home.
Sugandha- Founder, Docttocare :
- Hit the shower- To set the tempo, prepare as if it's a normal day at work. Take a bath and get dressed.
- Communication: Video call is must.
- Never work where you sleep.
- Set up a workplace at home.
- Don't forget to log off- When the day ends, log off completely and take rest.
- Work for 6 hours, that are more productive when WFH.
NowPurchase offers a curated B2B e-commerce platform with over 50,000 industrial goods. The company has also developed a unique NowPaaS (Purchasing as a Service) for regular buyers where it combines its e-Commerce offering with a purchase management SaaS platform. We talked to Naman Shah, Co-founder, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Naman Shah- Co-founder, NowPurchase :
Understanding this and also the fact that with Work From Home employees can only spare 3-4 hours/day, we decided to start an initiative to complete the ignored but important work- CRM and Management Software implementation.
AppViewX is a modular, low-code software application that enables Certificate Management as well as Network Infrastructure Automation and Orchestration using an intuitive, context-aware, visual workflow. We asked Anand Purusothaman, Founder, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Anand Purusothaman- Founder, AppViewX :
Giving our team the flexibility to define work hours based on their family priorities, especially in this situation, has helped immensely. With kids off from schools and the mounting household chores, we made it clear that we understood this unique situation and supported it. This has gone a long way. We also conduct frequent virtual connects with leaders, informal coffee chats with the team, wellness initiatives and business updates to keep the team reassured that the business is on track, to ensure that they stay connected.
LegalWiz is focussed on helping early-stage startups and small businesses stay compliant and maintain legal hygiene while maintaining the highest transparency on deliverables. We asked Shrijay Sheth, Founder, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Shrijay Sheth- Founder, LegalWiz :
We had planned well and hence were prepared. Team leads were giving full responsibility to ensure that operations and work protocols are maintained. That said, a team of 3 has been deployed to assist any team-member with any problems they may face. I am personally available to any team member who wants to connect and we have frequent discussions on coping with confinement and making work easier.
Excess2sell is India’s Premier and leading b2b excess inventory marketplace which covers multiple verticals. We talked with Mr Rajan Sharma, Founder & CEO, on about their planning to make work from home effective.
Mr Rajan Sharma- Founder, Excess2sell :
Fortunately, we are a tech based start-up and are fully geared to take our work home. So in terms of technology WFH is not much of a problem area for us. However, the complete lockdown has ensured that there is no movement of goods and hence not many fresh deals will happen during this period. We will definitely see the effect on our bottom line this quarter and probably in the next quarter too.
ZingHR is one of the oldest HRM providers. ZingHR is one of the few global ventures which offers almost all web/mobile-based modules from Hire to Retire Solutions with state of the art tech supporting those applications. We talked with Prasad Rajappan, Founder and CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Prasad Rajappan- Founder, ZingHR :
Work from home is an unavoidable situation which we think can be utilised to focus on performance and achieve outcome-oriented results. “Results are the only true sign of excellence.” We think the best part right now that everyone can do irrespective who they are as follows:
- Inspire people
- Ask them to stay indoors
- Practice hygiene
- Unlearn and Relearn
- Support peers and family
- Not to spread Fake News
We are a hyperlocal, proptech, consumer business which partners with restaurants, that open only during the night, to convert them into co-working places from Mon-Fri/10am-6pm, and have an mobile app using which the customers can look up a co-working place across multiple pincodes, make payment online and book a seat. We talked with Shardul Bayas, Founder, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Shardul Bayas- Founder, Primus Co-Work :
Talk to the team members over a call 2-3 times a day, do a zoom call every alternate day, checking with the team to ensure things are normal, doing followups on the work and preparedness.
Mamaearth is Asia’s first Madesafe certified brand that offers 100% toxin free & natural baby and mama care products. We talked with Ghazal Alagh, C0-founder, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Ghazal Alagh- C0-founder, Mamaearth :
The first thing we did was to define a tiered policy. We figured out how much of each job role could be done from home (if at all). We then defined goals and deliverables— first as an organization, then on a team level, and finally at the individual level. We continue to do break this down on a monthly, weekly, and even daily basis. This helps everyone at the organization become much more aligned with their goals as we work from home.
Other than that, we realize this is a time of a lot of panic and fear. As a parent myself, I know that having children at home constantly, and not having access to domestic help, can also interfere with productivity at work. So we’re enabling more flexibility within the organization.
We’ve also allowing space for people to articulate their issues - we’ve defined a specific time when people can just talk about what they’re going through. At the same time, we’ve also made space for coming together as a community and sharing positivity — whether it’s through online games, contests, or just sharing photos and videos of our home office, and the small joys of coming together in this challenging time.
Metro and Metro
Metro & Metro is one of the leading manufactures of shoes and allied product in india. We talked with Meenakshi Kalsi, Business Partner, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Meenakshi Kalsi- Business Partner, Metro & Metro :
We can only handle the communication with the customers and the suppliers. But the manufacturing part is totally at the standstill as that requires labour to be present. To assist my team we are supporting them financially and taking care of their needs. There’s a regular meeting done through zoom video calls to check up on them.
Simply Fresh India
Simply fresh AI technology in farming for growing, nourishing, picking and processing. We talked with Sachin Darbarwar, Founder & CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Sachin Darbarwar- Founder, Simply Fresh :
Almost all our corporate employees are working from home which includes teams like – HR, finance, IT, marketing, sales and legal. All our department heads are doing a wonderful job of connecting with their teams virtually and making sure the workflow is smooth as much as possible. We are making use of technology to stay connected and have video calls and group conference calls to maintain the business continuity. It is important during these time that we stay connected virtually and make sure we adhere to needs of our team as required.
Cosmo Films is a global leader in specialty films for packaging, lamination and labeling applications. We talked with Mr. Pankaj Poddar, CEO, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Pankaj Poddar- CEO, Cosmo Films :
We being a continuous process plant and also film suppliers to the food packaging industry; come under essential services and hence we have obtained permission to run operations with minimal manpower. Our remaining functions like Sales, Marketing, IT, Finance, Purchase, and HR are working from home to provide backend support to the plant for smooth operations.
As employees are working from home due to COVID 19, we have made necessary arrangements for our employees like the availability of laptops and systems, printers, required stationary and internet connectivity.
Ecolab Digital Centre
Ecolab Digital Centre focuses on finding solutions to real-world problems around water safety, energy conservation, food security, and healthy environments. We talked with Malahar Pinnelli, MD, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Malahar Pinnelli- MD, Ecolab Digital Centre :
We have always been using Video Conferencing to work with the US team, now we have started using those with the team here. Each manager connects with their team every day and that rolls up to the Managing Director. We have every 2 days a week, a mandatory video call to make sure people are still visually connected.
Surmount Business practices targets to become a strategic partner to entrepreneurs and enterprises to help expand businesses beyond their existing roots, professionalize their operations and enhance their Capital Efficiency. We talked with Niraj Bora, Founder, about their planning to make work from home effective.
Niraj Bora- Founder, Surmount Business :
We organize long video calls instead of just audios, play some games online weekly with the team, and keep in touch more often in order to keep the enthusiasm alive. We have also increased training sessions online in order to keep learning ongoing. People also get more negative be reading and hearing daily cases and hardships on media, so I have tried sharing cover-19 recovery stories discussion with teams as well. A piece in last Sunday’s ET covered that very well and sharing with everyone gave positivity to the team mindset.
For some out of office chats, we have WhatsApp group where team posts any new thing they do like cooking, new indoor game, etc.
What is a work from home model?
The Work From Home model allows employees to work remotely. Employees get the flexibility to work from anywhere. It is location-independent.
What essentials do you need to work from home?
- Computer/Laptop with webcam and mic
- Proper Internet Connection
- Essential Software/Tools as per the work/business requirement
How do you connect with employees working from home?
In the WFH model, a virtual office for employees is set up. Offices use the best video conferencing and team collaboration tools to connect with employees. A shared portal for employees is created to share personal as well as professional updates.