For the past couple of weeks, the world as we know it has seen a lot. Both the world at large and our worlds have been upended several times over. And by the pace of it all, it seems this will only continue to do so. In such tumultuous times, work has taken on a whole new meaning.
The past two weeks have been highly unusual for a number of reasons. Looking past the obvious “the world is under a threat like never before”, the other reason is definitely the aspect of working from home! Working from home is vastly different from working in an office. And navigating through the ‘no rules’ mind space can be rough for the uninitiated. Do you work from a designated home office? Is it really helpful? Why can’t I work from my bed instead? These are just a few of the billion thoughts that race through one’s mind.
We at CARS24 understand this temporary lapse in schedule and strive to reinforce a schedule for our employees. The idea is to establish routines all the while having fun so that work seems easy in hard times. This is especially necessary since, for many of us, work anchors our days so suddenly having no routine can cause us to be haywire, both physically and mentally. With zero leverage to adhere to a planned routine, most of us have let loose and bid adieus to our respective schedules. From planning one’s days right down to the second to being able to waltz into the kitchen at 3 PM for breakfast is a HUUUUUGE change. To counter unproductivity, establishing a routine is the best way to avoid freestyling our way through the day. It not only anchors our days but also helps to not slide into passivity. As we all know, all work and no play can make us dull. To combat those blues, HR came up with a wide array of activities and initiatives. These extra steps were taken to ensure maximum employee engagement and foster a sense of belongingness with the company. Virtual employee engagement doesn’t only make for a fun way to spend quarantine; it also provides the necessary little breaks for rejuvenation as we work hard.
HR truly believes in fostering team spirit. So even if we are not seeing each other every day, we make it a point to see each other every day! We are trying to replicate the office settings as much as we can by ensuring more facetime with the team through video calls. We ensure a morning catch-up ritual for each team to establish a sense of team belongingness. This not only reinforces a sense of team spirit but also shapes one’s individuality as a member of the team. We strive to stay connected in these turbulent times and ensure connectivity since we’re all in this together.
The HR team is taking multiple initiatives such as virtual fitness programs and online group challenges to boost employee morale and engagement. One of the first activities was called #FlauntYourDesk which urged everyone to share a picture of their home office setups. The response received was overwhelming with multitudes of desks being flaunted on the group. The small activity got everyone hyped for being a champion of working from home! Various other activities followed, including challenges like sharing a picture with your pet, a selfie with the family and “Know Your Leaders” where the employees were quizzed about their general knowledge of the leaders! These activities brought all of us together, thus focusing on the importance of emotional closeness in the time of social distancing.
Several fun awards were also the highlight of the work from home period! The premise of this activity was that team members would go ahead and nominate each other for several awards like the ‘caffeine addict’ or ‘the snacker’ and even ‘fitness freak’! This activity was a very team-centric one and focused on team bonding. Other challenges included online pop culture quizzes, describing how one works from home with a movie title, sharing the current playlist and, keeping up with the trends, office bingo!
In times of turmoil, self-care often gets neglected. It is termed unnecessary, keeping in mind the bigger picture that is of the world turned upside-down. It is hard to be nice to ourselves when the world as we know is up in flames. But, keeping ourselves first is key. It is time to realize that being gentle to ourselves first is crucial for our mental health. Keeping this in mind, we also introduced several fitness and well-being challenges to integrate wellness within our day to day lives. With steps like a virtual fitness challenge that focuses on team exercise and cult fit sessions, we urged employees to share a video of their workout routine and further challenge their peers!
Keeping in mind the very positive responses from the employees, there are several other initiatives in the pipeline, including a virtual karaoke challenge, a virtual campfire challenge, #What’sCooking or a food-centric segment for employees to flaunt their cooking, a hidden talent show, #FollowMyRead and many more.
Apart from promoting fun and wellness, we at CARS24 understand the need for accurate information and the importance of not spreading any incorrect facts so as to not cause any panic. Since so much happening, we share mental fitness and meditations pointers online classes with the employees. We share wellness tips with all our employees and urge them to take a few minutes to meditate and keep their physical fitness in check. We actively share all vital information about Coronavirus so that the employees have the right information and how to take care of themselves and the people around them.
Working from home has the misfortune of being labelled as lazy and unproductive. With our initiatives, we hope to dismiss that belief and show how one can work from home like a boss! It is about striking the right balance and the Internet has got us closer than ever to achieve a virtual office experience!