New Delhi, May 8 : The coronavirus pandemic is transforming the world. Going beyond changing our daily lives, it has impacted industries and squeezed economies. It has also accelerated the urgency for companies to become digital.
The pandemic has established remote working as an accepted norm. However, it is important that people are guided and supported to ensure that they do not burn out while working from home. This is especially important when the work demands extensive collaboration, such as when developing state-of-the-art software.
To stay positive, when you don't have the routines and cadence of work at an office, requires discipline. It is important to schedule work, create an activity list, sync-up with your team members regularly, focus more intensely, and practice techniques such as yoga and meditation, to enhance mental and physical health. With this in mind, Siemens Healthineers India have organised online meditation programs for their employees that combines theory with guided virtual meditation sessions.
It is also important for leaders and managers to be more empathetic. It's easy for people to feel alone and isolated. Hence, it's routine for me to spend an hour every day on a video call with about 20 different employees. It gives me an opportunity to know how they are doing and more importantly listen to their concerns.
In these daily calls, there were a few voices worrying about the future. It is natural for people to worry in times of uncertainty. Worrying about our finances, career, family, or health, plays out as hypothetical scenarios in our imagination - a thought pops into mind develops into a whole story line. Interestingly, our response to worries is often what perpetuates them.
Learning is one of the best ways to cope with the uncertainty, and we've introduced many behavioral and leadership virtual learning modules for colleagues and also virtual expert talks on topics that are pertinent to the prevailing situation.
The most helpful thing is to pull ourselves back to the present moment. Whatever makes us afraid is merely a possibility. As the wise Master Oogway tells the worrying Panda in the animated movie, 'Kung Fu Panda': "You are too concerned with what was and what will be. There is a saying: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called present." What we learned yesterday is our experience; it is the knowledge that helps us solve problems in the present. But the focus of our thoughts and work should be on the current situation, the present.
Fun at work is even more important while working remotely. We had fun activities like 'NeverHadIEver' photo sharing contest on our internal community channel, where people are giving each other a glimpse of their new way of living, such as taking up household chores, organizing online dance classes, pursuing new hobbies, aspiring to become great chefs, gardeners, capturing their homes with a new lens and many more things while working from home.
(The author, Gerd Hoefner, is MD and President at Siemens Healthineers India)