The spread of COVID-19 globally has altered the economic landscape across the world. The concept of Social Distancing to arrest the rapid spread of this highly contagious virus, and the resultant global lockdown, has brought about a shift in the way companies are now working.
In India the first case of coronavirus was detected on 30th January and in Pune, where we are located, the first case was detected on 9th March. We quickly started issuing health advisories to our team about hygiene and other do’s and don’ts as recommended by WHO.
But as more news started coming in about the gradual increase in the numbers of Coronavirus infected people, we knew it would not be feasible to continue to have a large number of people working in close proximity to each other. The management, the HR team and the IT team started exploring if working from home for the whole team of 110+ learning professionals could be an option. A quarter of our team was already equipped to work from home, as we already had a role-based work from home policy. The key challenge was to enable the majority of the team to work from home — particularly team members who rely on desktop computer systems with high-end configurations and similar systems that are not always available with everyone at home.
A survey was done internally to check how many people had personal computers with the required configurations on which we could configure VPN which would allow seamless collaboration amongst the team and provide the ease of data transfer and data security. VPN was enabled on 40 personal machines. 38 Graphic Designer’s and AR/VR developer’s desktops were allowed to be taken home so that there is no system lag and software licenses transfers. To ensure we follow our security standards a layer of DLP was added to the systems. 20+ Laptops were procured from our vendor on short notice to fill in the gap of system shortage for people without any personal computers at home. Some of these 20 are kept on standby.
While we were preparing to start working from home, we received a sudden notification from the local government body on Wednesday 18th March to reduce the employee count in all the offices across Pune to not more than five; which meant we had to cease operations from our office immediately. We declared a three day holiday for the staff which enabled the IT team to get the systems up and running. The IT and the HR worked tirelessly to set up the team along with leads to become operational which allowed us to achieve business continuity in a very short period.
We became fully operational from 22nd March working at our optimum capacity a few days before the nationwide lockdown kicked in. The teams are slowly but surely getting comfortable working from home and are collaborating well through Zoom & Microsoft Teams video conferencing. Communication protocols are being further developed. The sales team and project management team with zero travel are having more face-to-face meetings with the client.
It’s a great feeling to be able to service our clients seamlessly and we hope to continue to deliver great customer experience and high-quality learning content by continuously Going Beyond.
As I conclude, I wish for everyone’s safety and hope we all get over this crisis sooner and stronger. If you have a story or tips of how you or your team managed to work from home please share in the comments section, I’d be happy to hear it from you.