Hits And Misses

Hits And Misses

The true DNA of any organisation is palpable at the workplace and the culture and ethos of an organisation cannot be easily experienced in the WFH setting.


It has been six months since WFH was forced upon millions of people worldwide. Even though people have gradually adapted to the new routine, the workplace is being sorely missed by many. There are several ‘soft’ aspects that the office environment presented us with. While such benefits were hardly noticed during the pre-COVID days, it is being recognised and missed now.


The Misses


A. Community: The loss of humanto-human, in-person, daily connect with colleagues has been the bane of this crisis. We all create bonds at the office and derive a sense of comfort and belonging in our groups, these relationships help us fulfil our need for social interaction. People everywhere are missing the water cooler conversations, coffee chats, and shared meals which formed part of our daily life at one time


B. Collaboration: Walking across to a colleague’s desk to seek a quick update, solving problems across the table, and meeting to brainstorm are no longer possible. The pace and efficacy of collaboration as was possible has been affected while working remotely,


C. Camaraderie: Team members are united by the sense of collective purpose, shared vision, and common goals. This fellowship ignites passions, drives performance, and delivers high impact results. It was easy to build this camaraderie onsite with practices that were embedded in our culture. With remote, all of us need to recreate these channels for building these professional relationships.


D. Celebrations: Awards, Events, and Outings in the workplace help raise the collective fervour, and kindles team and organisation spirits. Many of these physical celebrations are neither feasible nor safe in the current environment.


The true DNA of any organisation is palpable at the workplace and the culture and ethos of an organisation cannot be easily experienced in the WFH setting.


While we are all optimistic that normalcy will return sooner than later, and the workplaces will be throbbing with lifelike ever before, the pandemic has pressed the ‘Reset’ button. Organisations are putting in concrete plans to shift a significant part of their workforce to a permanent WFH arrangement to reduce costs and blunt the economic impact of the lockdown.


The Hits


A. Virtual Communication: Communication will be virtual and asynchronous. New channels will evolve for both formal and informal communication. Meetings will have to include an informal component to recreate the comfort of social connect and belonging. People will have to learn to establish a ‘connect’ with their colleagues and clients to collaborate effectively. Organisations will host virtual events, recognition programmes, and engage hobby groups to bridge the virtual divide and rebuild networks that existed in office.


B. Distributed Teams: Remote work models permit work from anywhere. People will shift homes to more suitable locations to save on commute time, pursue their passion and lead a better quality of life. At the same time, hiring will become location agnostic for organisations. As the workforce gets distributed across geographies and time zones, there will an imminent need to work synergistically while staying distributed.


C. Mental Health – While WFH, the lines between work and home get blurred. Remote workers tend to put in longer hours at work, stay in the always “ON” mode, and do not disconnect. This will impact people wellbeing with health issues and mental stress becoming common. Managers will have to learn to identify such signs early on and intervene proactively.


D. Learning agility: People will need to upskill and reskill themselves as technology rapidly transforms our job content. Organisations will need to create learning eco-systems that enable people to pursue learning at will.


People who attune themselves to these new ways of working will survive, sustain, and succeed in the post-COVID world.



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Yashmi Pujara is CHRO, Cactus Communications. She shifted to HR after a decade in marketing and has been with Cactus for more than 15 years. Yashmi has played multiple roles in Human Resources and Organisation Development and has led initiatives spanning organisational culture, values, talent, performance, reward, and leadership development.


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