How is the Out of Home industry coping with the COVID-19 Stay at Home advisory?
Currently the entire world is grappling with the serious pandemic of the COVID-19, for which no cure has been found till now and it can only be curbed from spreading rapidly through serious precautionary measures. Amid this sensitive situation, exercising 'social distancing' is the most essential course of action to ensure good health and well-being of the communities at large. Therefore, we are also following the same mantra stay home stay safe.
Elaborate on the challenges brought by the COVID-19 lockdown, the strategies being used in these difficult times.
Social media and online platforms are one of the primary means of staying connected during these times. Microsoft meetings and Zoom call have replaced conference room and brainstorming sessions. Since the lockdown came during the crucial financial year, it has kept the team on its toes. Initially we were busy with wrapping up the ongoing work and the numbers for the financial yearend. However, that being covered we are now utilising this time for more productive things such as online training modules for the team. We are also working on developing and improvising various proprietory tools.
What do you miss most -and least- about office?
The things I miss the most about office is the personal interaction with everyone on the floor. Simple things like informal sessions over lunch and the coffee machine conversations as well as small discussions which we used to have in person on individual's desk. The things that I miss the least are the Traffic congestions, the noise and air pollution which comes as part and parcel of Mumbai daily travel
How frequently do you check-in on your team?
I stay connected with my team through MS meetings on every alternate day. This helps in taking stock of the work /business which we had discussed on previous call. The large tasks have been divided into multiple small tasks which can be accomplished in day or two and hence during every call, one has the updated result on the task assigned to the individual.
Ideally, how frequently should a team leader/manager check in on her/his team?
There is no thumb rule as to how often one should check with the teams however in an ideal scenario I believe it is 3 days in a week to make sure team connect productivity. Also, to ensure the work progress and productive discussion it becomes crucial to provide timelines to the team.
Some tips for long distance people management is clarity of roles and responsibility assignment. Giving complete ownership and accountability to each individual so that it becomes easy to take stock of the matter. As said earlier timelines need to be set to ensure sensible work progression.
What's the one thing you see yourself doing differently once the work-from-home phase ends?
Necessity is the mother of invention and in this difficult time we have been upgrading ourselves with all the possible technologies that can help you stay connected, save time and get the work done on time. We would want to take this learning further and implement it in our day to day life once the things get back to normal.
Anything else you'd like to add.
As of now, we along with all the peers of the industry will have to bear the brunt of the pandemic and business shocks. However, I would like to add that Madison has been conservatively managed for the last 32 years and it is this philosophy that holds us in good stead in tough times like these. Over the years, we have been through many ups and down and have come out from most downturns with flying colours and I am sure, so will we from this one, too.
Interview by: Aarti Pahwa
Pravendra Kumar Verma
Senior Marketing Manager
Chief Marketing Officer
Kotak Mahindra Group
VP - Marketing
Laqshya Media Group
Co-founder and CEO
The SociaL Street
GM- Marketing & Strategy