Lockdown Lessons: “Optimise what you have, don’t take anything for granted”

India is just emerging out of an over two-month long 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. It has been a trying time for many of us, with everyone working from home and having to adapt to a new way of working and living. 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.

Also read: Lockdown Lessons: “Pre-empt situations and be well prepared for the future”

In this interaction with Adgully, Nakul Dutt, Strategy Director, FoxyMoron, shares the valuable lessons that he has learned during the lockdown period, transitioning to the new normal of working from home and even making rotis.

What are the key lockdown lessons as a professional during the lockdown period?

This lockdown has tested our agility as individuals and as an organisation more than we could have ever foreseen. It has forced us as a collective, to reassess and introspect. There is a steep learning curve you experience along with getting yourself to unquestionably trust your judgement.

Some of the Lessons I’ve learned during this time is as follows:

In It Together: The lines between clients, agencies and partners have blurred, with all the parties moving towards a singular goal, which is ‘Business Success’. Throughout history, when adversity has been approached with empathy towards one another, it’s been instrumental in bringing people together. It is this very philosophy that has helped us move in the direction of forging long term partnerships with our clients.

Appreciation: A typical work day today is dominated by our packed calendars, where we’re switching from one video call to the other. While this has made meetings sharper and agenda-focused, it lacks the joy and camaraderie that one would have experienced if they were physically working on solving a problem together. Hence, a simple gesture of taking time to celebrate these small wins and appreciating the effort put in by everyone, I’ve found, boosts morale and adds that dose of fun that everyone could use more of.

Staying Positive: What we are experiencing right now are unprecedented times, which are bound to affect one’s psyche. However, I think it’s imperative to see the glass as half full even in the most grim of situations. One needs to optimise what they have and stay positive.

Please tell us some of the key takeaways in terms of life lessons from the lockdown period? 

The biggest one that I’ve learned is to not take anything for granted. Value everything you have, even the little things. Who would have ever thought stepping out of your home, one day, could put your at a health risk. Going to your favourite restaurants and catching up with your friends wouldn’t be an option anymore. Hence, now more than ever, value everything that you have, especially your family and health. On a lighter note, I learned that when push comes to shove, I can make good roti’s! My wife was impressed. I’ll leave it at that.

How did you manage and achieve work-life balance while working from home? 

With work from home becoming the new normal, our professional and personal worlds have merged. Hence, it is important to follow a routine which includes dedicating time to your family and to yourself. This helps maintain one’s mental and physical health. Just like everyone else, I too did find household chores daunting at first, but I’ve learned that cherishing these moments rather than treating them with disdain, helps. When we reflect back on these times, it will be those moments where you cooked rotis that were shaped like continents that you will remember fondly. So, enjoy and cherish this new normal.

It has been more than two months since the lockdown was enforced. How are you gearing up for back to office mode?

The good news is that we opened up our Gurgaon office last week with a skeletal staffing, as mandated. We’re taking all precautions, if not more, and following the government mandates down to the ‘T’. While everyone from the team is excited to be back, we’re taking all the precautions to ensure the safety of our people. We will need to wait and assess the situation in Mumbai and Bengaluru over the next few months to take a final decision on when to open.

Any lessons that you picked up in financial management during this time?

While the leadership team is working towards maintaining healthy cash flows, what has really worked for us is our transparent systems, backed by efficient communication. There is a new found love for excellence within the entire organisation. This has led to proactive ownership from our teams, who have taken the initiative to the think and strategise like business managers to the last mile.


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