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Covid-19: CEOs working from home conduct meetings via video conferencing

Mailers have gone from the CEO offices that no staff should be asked to travel and only the 'mission critical' staff should be asked to come to work

Dev Chatterjee 

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The CEOs have instructed their employees not to venture out and avoid unnecessary travel.

With high-end technology and gadgets at their disposal, top Indian chief executive officers (CEOs) and promoters are making full use of working from home by attending board and management meetings through video conferencing (VC) and getting daily sales and production reports via WhatsApp.

In a perfect example of work-life balance, during free time, CEOs are meditating, practising yoga or cooking for their family members. Indian CEOs like Tata group Chairman N Chandrasekaran, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, RPG Enterprises Chairman Harsh Goenka, Bajaj Auto CEO and MD Rajiv Bajaj are working from home and are making sure that all office staff are also safe and sound while company’ operations are not affected.

Mailers have gone from the CEO offices that no staff should be asked to travel and only the ‘mission critical’ staff should be asked to come to work. The CEOs have also identified 25 per cent employees in the top rung who are needed for day-to-day running of company’s operations across India and the world.

“For the past few days, I see almost no loss of efficiency so far, barring my inability to review new product sketches models and prototypes. All other discussions are often sharper and crisper,” said Bajaj. “On the upside, saves travel time, congestion and pollution. I am also getting more time for my dogs, yoga and swimming,” he said.

With the government extending the janata curfew until March 31, the CEOs have instructed their employees not to venture out and avoid unnecessary travel and help the nation fight the virus, even if it means monetary losses for few weeks.

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Mahindra, who is working from home, tweeted that the group’s project team would assist the government and the army in erecting temporary care facilities. The group is also immediately begin working on making ventilators and its Mahindra Holidays resorts are ready to be converted as temporary care facilities.

Harsh Goenka, who is also working from home and is a social media influencer, listed several ways how to spend time at home by praying, exercising, painting, and watching TED talks among other activities.

According to the CEOs, it is important to remain in self-quarantine like other developed nations are doing. Ramesh Nair, MD and CEO of JLL, said he created a designated place in his house as ‘home office’. “I believe this is extremely essential for each one of us to do as we begin working from home. I have also shifted my Cisco DX80 from office to home that enables me to connect frequently with my leadership team via video conferencing,” he said. “It is amazing how in the grind of our daily lives, we miss taking notice of the things that make our lives fuller and richer. As I work from home, I am also taking time to enjoy this greenery during the short breaks,” he said.

Vikas Oberoi, CMD of Oberoi Realty, said the current crisis adversity is going to teach us a lot, especially how to “Working from home is extremely efficient as we waste a lot of time commuting and trying to meet each other face-to-face. All this is being avoided now because we have to keep this social distancing,” Oberoi said. He said a lot work was getting down via FaceTime and without meeting face to face. “We have been Skyping a lot with our global consultants, who are based out of Singapore, the UK and the US. We are using a lot of this time to look inward and see how we can do things better and faster,” he said.

(With Shally Seth Mohile and Raghavendra Kamath)

First Published: Sun, March 22 2020. 23:24 IST
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