“Guys! Monday onwards, we’re all working from home.”
These were the concluding words of our CEO, Jigar Shah, as he was addressing us in a meeting on Friday, March 20, called for implementing remote work policy as a social distancing measure to combat Covid-19.
And we happily followed suit!
This can be imagined as the climax scene of a play called – how to transform an office-based workforce into remote workers within a week.
In fact, it wasn’t as simple as it sounds to get onboard over 200 employees in their emergency remote journey.
To unfold the entire play and its making, let’s give you a quick flashback to the preceding weeks till the WFH announcement.
Setting the stage
As thorough preparation is key to enact a good stage performance, we also did put a great deal of meticulous thought process and work to set the ground right for effective remote working.
Be it remote readiness assessment, mentally preparing employees for this drastic change or setting up remote infrastructure, we didn’t leave any stone unturned.
As a company we already had the experience of working with distributed teams across four time zones. We have been helping our clients to build an effective remote workforce and make the most of distributed talent for their business.
The need of the hour was to begin charity at home! We leveraged the knowledge gained by our experience to chalk out action plans in order to prepare our entire workforce for emergency remote work.
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Behind the scenes
Now, let’s give you a walk through behind the scenes in our making of the “we work remote” successful.
Here are some of the steps taken by our organization in order to ensure a seamless transition to an emergency remote mode:
Assess remote readiness
First of all, our managers prepared a checklist for their respective teams to assess the tools & systems currently used by their team members for collaboration. The best part was that most of our employees were already harnessing the power of these tools (listed in the image below) to collaborate with their clients as well as project team members.
As our employees were already equipped with the skills required to work in distributed contexts, we didn’t need to train them on that and this saved us a lot of time.
Apart from that, we needed to ensure that each one of them had the day-to-day tools installed in their WFH system set up. And trust us, it was one of the most arduous tasks ever!
Prepare employees for change
For an office-based company without an inherent remote work culture, mentally preparing our employees for the impending change was of utmost importance.
And then head of our Helios family, our CEO stepped in to help us all in embracing the change easily. He gave us a very clear and definite picture of what the change will bring and how to cope with them by citing his own examples and by quoting insights from others.
He even touched basic points like right sitting posture and personal hygiene while highlighting how client-centric focus will help us keep a solution-based approach.
1) Right sitting posture
He pointed at the importance of right sitting posture for getting in the right working mode. To make us connect better, he added that he understands it might be easier said than done. Then he shared his own past example of how he too parked himself on the couch with his laptop once while working from home.
2) Personal hygiene
He stressed on avoiding the temptation to start as soon we roll out of our beds. He then quoted our CTO Jose Estrella’s tips that worked well for him. “Get up at the same time, make breakfast, shower, put on business clothes, after all, you’re about to work! Dressing the part helps get you in the zone.”
3) Client-centric focus
He emphasized on the fact that no matter whatever issues we face in the upcoming days, our focus should never shift from our clients. Since our beginning, we have been accountable to our clients and that should never change.
Our focus on solving problems for our clients will help us learn to deal with this tough time with a solution-based approach, he added.
4) Trust & empathy
Freedom & flexibility are our core values and even in a WFH set up, we would not like to encroach your privacy with a screen tracking system, he said. He expressed that with trust & empathy among the team members, we’ll definitely triumph this crisis and make our remote work successful.
Set up WFH infrastructure
As we have already told you that this has been the most difficult part of all. Yet, we did it!
Kudos to our system administration team who rolled up their sleeves to ensure all the tools and technologies are in place to facilitate remote work.
They made sure that each and every individual had the necessary hardware, software and network support in order to discharge their duties without any interruption.
Given the shortage of time, they burnt midnight oil to accomplish it all and make this happen.
Also, thanks to our human resource management team, our managers & team leads as well as our employees who volunteered to go the extra mile to make our remote strategy functional and effective.
Fast forward to the present
Now that you know how we made our remote strategy functional in less than a week, let’s take a peek into how we are telecommuting to make each day a success!
- Follow our routine – Every morning we get ready as if we’re going to the workplace.
- Hang out with the team – We then start our day by having a virtual meet up with our team members. This helps us dissolve the physical barriers and work as a team.
- Set expectations – Our team leads & managers take the status update from their respective teams and also set expectations for team members.
- Communicate, communicate & communicate – We communicate a lot throughout the day – intra-team, inter-team and with clients – to keep everyone on the same page despite not being in the same room.
- Fun time – We don’t miss to boost our zeal with activities such as Zumba, quiz, music, etc., by hanging out with our fellow employees for 10 minutes every day.
- EOD meeting – Team members discuss the status of their tasks or issues, if any, with their respective team leads & managers.
This was just a glimpse of how our work day looks like in a remote environment!
Keeping the motivation going!
Working remote has its own set of challenges, however, our leaders keep the motivation on track by keeping the conversation going. Moreover, our culture and core values also help us operate like a family and face challenges head on.
Apart from daily calls, our leaders communicate with us via mail once a week to share their personal experiences that somehow resonate with our own.
In his last mail, on the successful completion of first forced WFH week, our CEO congratulated us for taking ownership in our responsibilities.
He drew our attention towards the less fortunate ones and asked us to practice gratitude & thank the Almighty for being able to lead a healthy & normal life amid the Covid-19 crisis.
And given the prevailing uncertainty, he reflected that, “This virus has taught me to cherish what we have on hand and live each day as it comes.”
This is how we’re fighting back Covid-19 – maintaining social distance while we work remotely. This is not all, by the way!
We’re giving back to the community by helping patients to maintain social distancing yet avail quality care.
Let’s move on to our not-for-profit initiative for connecting patients suffering from diseases other than Covid-19 with quality healthcare providers.
DOCLIST – Telehealth care for homebound patients
In the light of coronavirus pandemic, hospitals and healthcare providers are witnessing a surge in patients. This is not only creating an acute shortage in healthcare services for Covid-19 patients but also depriving other patients (suffering from other diseases) from healthcare consulting.
In order to facilitate safe and efficient communication between patients with diseases other than Covid-19, we created DOCLIST – a site that lists healthcare providers who have agreed to provide their services over phone/online.
This would not only help homebound patients connect with their healthcare providers but also minimize the risk of coronavirus spread by helping them maintain social distancing.
As a healthcare practitioner, would you like to help homebound patients with telehealth services? Please register yourself and join hands with us for this noble cause.
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Hope is Remote? Yes, You’re Right!
This global pandemic has taught us that either be adaptable and agile or risk extinction. In all this mayhem and gloom, it might seem that “hope is remote” (hope is far from your reach).
Although we foster a culture of positivity, we would like to embrace this notion “hope is remote” or rather say “remote is hope”. Yes, you got it right!
Once this chaos is over and you get back to your boardroom discussions, we would like you to consider remote work as a strategic operating model rather than a response to emergency.
Want to build a sustainable & rewarding remote work environment?
We can help you achieve your ambitious goal!