#FightBackCorona: Expect huge behavioral changes across the globe: Rohit Ohri

These are extraordinary times and we all are in uncharted territory. There is a lot of fear and negativity in all spheres due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. While the Corona Warriors are doing a tremendous job fighting from the frontlines, we at Adgully are embarking on an endeavour to highlight the positive developments during these challenging times. 

Over the next few weeks, Adgully will be featuring a series of brief interactions with industry leaders in India and find out how they are keeping their spirits up as well as keeping their employees motivated, also how they are joining in the fight against the adverse impact of the global pandemic. 

Rohit Ohri, Group Chairman and CEO, FCB India, envisages new behavioral changes across the world once the COVID-19 crisis abates. He sees people becoming more concerned about the environment, becoming more strict about safety and hygiene 

What steps are you going to take as an organisation in helping the society at large or those engaged in the war against COVID-19?
As a company, we are donating to the Prime Minister’s fund. We have also informed our employees to participate and circulars via email have been sent to them to contribute for this cause. Besides that, we have identified 2-3 NGOs that are directly engaged with feeding a lot of migrant workers and are helping them out. We would love to do more work, but physically one can do only that much work, and at this point of time we can only contribute in terms of materials. 

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How are you keeping your employees motivated and encouraging them to give their best even as they are working from home?
Keeping the employees motivated is the biggest challenge. Advertising is young people’s business and we have many young people who need to be handheld on work. We started working from home a few days before the Janata Curfew regulation. Our employees were imparted training three days in advance on technology like Microsoft Team, Zoom and Skype for business. Laptops and desktops were moved to homes and WIFI was provided. We also provided 24x7 IT helpline to address any issues. 

Regular calls happen, with each team leader staying in touch with the team to discuss work flow and deliverables for the day, which is closely monitored and checked at the end of the day. Starting everyday from the beginning of the week, we give one tip every morning on working from home. 

We also looked seriously at the physical and emotional strain faced by our employees. For instance, our Delhi Office head is a trained yoga teacher. She organises yoga and zoom classes. In our other offices we have group chats and group lunches or there is one time where they all meet and have a cup of coffee, bringing in the spirit of working together and collaborating. Assistance is provided in the form of a 24X7 online doctor in any field and for any kind of ailment. This facility is provided in all branches, where they have access to any top doctor. 

Thus, we are uniting the family while WFH. We permit kids to be part of the meetings. Everyone doesn’t have separate rooms to run their work from home arrangement comfortably and it is not correct to trap the kid in one room and restrict their movements, so we encourage kids and pets to roam around and sometimes be a part of the conversation. 

I am addressing a townhall, connecting with all 780 employees at one go. Primarily, this meeting is to address anxiety and fears. I have to be fair and honest here and will only answer what is correct. Where I have no answers, I will not respond. We have experienced wars, but not something of this magnitude. When it comes to war, we know who the enemy is, but here the enemy is unseen and that is very scary. The only way to fight this invisible enemy is to sanitise every surface that is touched and to stay away from it. 

We are not going to come out of this easily, as it has really affected the entire world. And when we come out of this, there will be a whole change in perception and the way we have been treating nature’s resources and the concern that we have for the environment. We also do not know what the new normalcy will be like. Safety and hygiene will take place of prominence. There will definitely be a Pre-Covid times and Post-Covid times and we will see a huge behavioral change 

What is most needed in challenging times such as this, especially from the general public, from the authorities and the business leaders?
General public should strictly follow the instructions of staying at home. If instructions are given, they should adhere to it and not do things on their own. However, people often don’t obey and it is a challenge to keep the public under control. Hence, it is important that we all follow the instructions. 

Corporate leaders need to take larger responsibilities – both from the employees and their family’s point of view – as they are dependent on the company. Thus, how do you steer your ship through the choppy waters and protect your business, protect your employees and the brand and help them advertise is very important. 

When it comes to the government, they need to bring in clarity in their communication. Their messaging has to be crisp and clear so that there is no confusion. Right now, each one of them is doing whatever they want and hence, it is important to have telegraphic message that is short and clear and which people can understand execute. The Prime Minister’s example of ‘Laxman Rekha’ was so relevant and important, which everyone could decipher. I thought it was a nice way of conveying the lockdown message. 

When Demonetization happened, there was so much hue and cry and criticism from every corner. But somehow, we overcame that and the birth of digital payment happened. I must say that we are lucky, because of demonetization people made an effort to use digital payment and India took a giant step on that front. Today, we have more online payments being made as compared to the US! I think, similarly we will emerge out of the COVID-19 crisis. I am of the view that something will change for sure in this world and we can expect new behavioral changes across the globe.


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