Reimagine – Future of Work!

Umang Vohra

July 1, 2020

Two months ago, I interacted with our 2020 Batch of Summer Interns in a first ever virtual induction and about two weeks back when they presented their final projects. I was enthused by the zeal and curiosity demonstrated by these young graduates in kickstarting their careers - virtually!

Why is this special? An event to call out? We have deliberated digital transformation and remote ways of working for years. While the technologies and platforms have been available, it took centre stage in 2020 as that was the only recourse. It challenged our status quo and our subconscious biases.

Catalyst for change

Over the years, technological advances permeated into business operations as part of future growth strategies, however remote working concept was yet to be widely adopted for conventional businesses. The COVID-19 pandemic radically changed this, compelling the world to adapt to the new reality almost instantly. While this change seemed inherent to millennials and Gen Z’s – the digitally native, even others who we thought would have struggled, acclimatized to the new normal in quick time.

For us at Cipla, the digital transformation journey that kickstarted early 2016 paved the way for a smoother transition during the lockdown. In 2018, we had begun dabbling with virtual quarterly global townhalls, connecting 26000+ Ciplaites across 80 countries on one single platform. With employees effectively embracing remote working and virtual collaborations, companies are now becoming fluid - more flexible and agile.

Unlocking the future of work - People before profits

Are our employees equipped and comfortable working from home today? What do they need? How can we make it better? How are they coping? Precautionary measures of social distancing deprived us of our innate tendency of indulging in social interactions. Leaders need to lean in – listen, empathise and guide team members in these times of uncertainty.

Promoting virtual collaborations, reiterating the importance of engaging with families, aiding employees to grapple the new world of managing work and home and promoting mental health wellbeing - organisations need to do start deploying newer and innovative ways to engage with their employees. While organisations get ready with news ways of engagement, each one of us probably should reach out to our fellow workers in our individual capacity - that office buddy for a coffee break or a team lunch, virtual birthday celebrations perhaps… just checking in on each other.

While we piece together all these factors to enhance our professional lives, what’s even more pivotal is to recalibrate our thinking to adapt to this new normal. While cost pressures will continue to soar in the short term, we will have limited choices but we need to keep the long-term view in mind.

We need to ask questions and do the ‘right thing’.

  • Are we thinking about the next generation and what they want from their workplace?
  • Do we visualise a ‘work from anywhere’ culture, which is agile and based on performance, values and skills?
  • How do we keep employees engaged?

These are not new questions, but the current situation pushes us to think about it differently and gives us an opportunity to act - to #reimagine, relook and create a fresher way of working that is ready for tomorrow.