Lockdown Lessons: “Hope & solidarity can help us persevere through any challenge”
The year 2020 has taught us several harsh lessons. Barely had we entered a new year with renewed hopes and expectations, when the global COVID-19 pandemic jolted all of us out of our comfortable ‘Normal’ zone and flung us into an uncertain world. Terms like lockdown, social distancing, quarantine, work from home, new normal, unprecedented times and the dreaded ‘R’ word – Recession – have become a part and parcel of our daily lives.
India is just emerging out of an over two-month lockdown – a period that has changed our lives, behaviours and the way we conduct business forever. The lessons that we have learnt during the lockdown period and our experiences during the year so far, will help us navigate a world that we had never imagined. Adgully’s latest endeavour – Lockdown Lessons – is an attempt to present the key learnings that India’s business honchos have learnt and imbibed, and which can help the industry navigate the new normal better.
Naveen Anand, Senior Director, Regional Marketing, Oriflame South Asia, reveals his mantra to trump the challenges thrown up by the COVID-19 crisis and the lockdown. Discipline, a strong commitment towards work and a positive attitude have been his constant companions during these tough times.
What are the key lockdown lessons as a professional during the lockdown period?
As a professional, this lockdown brought about increased trust in the digital medium. While social distancing is keeping us from meeting each other, connecting through online social channels is at an all-time high. It is a great way to build meaningful relationships with customers and interact with them personally to communicate our values and offerings.
Seeing this trend, I feel that social selling is the future of online selling. The role of digital in discovering new products as well as promoting them will prove to be immense.
At a time when staying home has become the norm, the adoption of the remote working model has also been one of the learnings that the pandemic has brought the world.
Please tell us some of the key takeaways in terms of life lessons from the lockdown period?
More than anything else, the pandemic has taught us to always be prepared for the unexpected. Another life lesson is that hope and solidarity can help us persevere through any challenge. While we are all distanced from each other, we know that we are in this together. And this, invariably, gives us the strength to face this challenging time with a smile on our face and our goals in our mind. This will pass soon – we’ll be back together, stronger than ever!
How did you manage and achieve work-life balance while working from home?
I am focusing on remaining disciplined. Even though I am physically at home, mentally I am at the office. I have a workstation at home and I take Microsoft Teams meetings with the same commitment as I would have taken a meeting in office. I do insist on a video meeting, it surely has higher attention of participants.
Once the work is done, I am completely at rest. My constant commitment towards work and discipline has let me remain positive and maintain a work-life balance.
It has been more than two months since the lockdown was enforced. How are you gearing up for back to office mode?
As mentioned above, digital has been one key medium for us to connect with our audience and brand partners during the lockdown. We conducted over 2,000 training sessions through Zoom and Microsoft Teams to stay in touch with our brand partners during this lockdown period.
As we are gearing up to get back to business, we are set to back our employees and brand partners with complete support. The company has the highest commitment to the safety of our staff, brand partners, and customers, and will lay down all the required safety measures. We will reopen with only 50 per cent of our staff in the interest of social distancing and carry out frequent sanitization to ensure complete hygiene.
Any lessons that you picked up in financial management from the lockdown period?
If there’s one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it is to always be prepared for uncertainties. It is important to build a company that is financially strong and capable of absorbing the aftershocks of such unprecedented times. Also, on a personal level, the belief that God has given enough to fulfill everyone’s needs, but not even one man’s greed is so true. We were away from all luxuries and were surviving only on bare minimum during this period, and it was a good enough life. So, we must be grateful for what we have.