Managing Work-From-Home Efficiently During COVID-19

While there is no cure yet for the virus, our strength lies in our ability to act as one and take steps that are responsible and caring towards others.

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With COVID-19 reaching pandemic status, new challenges have cropped up in all spheres—health, social and economic. One of the key measures propagated by health organizations worldwide to alleviate a spike in the virus is ‘social distancing’. Social distancing in simpler words means reducing close contact with people to slow down the spread of the infection. This includes avoiding large groups of people.

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While there is no cure yet for COVID-19; our strength lies in our ability to act as one and take steps that are responsible and caring towards others and thus, help reduce the reach of the virus.  To be able to ‘work from home’ is one such action that not only helps to reduce our own risk but also safeguards our colleagues and families.

As India’s technology start-ups lead the way in challenging old business methods, it is also important and incumbent upon us that in a situation of crisis, we set our best foot forward and demonstrate leadership and compassion towards our organization and inspire others. At BeatO (a diabetes management start-up) we have proactively facilitated ‘work from home’ as a part of our plans to deal with the ups and downs COVID-19 has brought with it.

Being a healthtech start-up with users who are elderly and dealing with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, we were naturally following the COVID-19 data and news actively. Current data suggests that people who are elderly and have underlying conditions are at high-risk groups in terms of severity and mortality rate of the virus. As soon as things moved beyond China; we pre-empted a list of problems and made a plan of action both for our users and our employees. We can’t be looking after people with diabetes without looking after the people who care and work hard for their good health day in and day out.

Being a technology-led start-up, it was already in our DNA to come up with solutions that allow us to be agile and flexible in our work. We have teams working in different cities and knew what it takes to manage work easily without being physically present.

BeatO’s work-from-home plan encompassed the following seven commandments to make it a smooth ride.

# Strong and active communication with each other to avoid any gaps in understanding.

# Use apps and software that work for different teams based on their needs. Some of the one’s we like using are Zoom, Slack, Jira, Trello and Smartsheet.

# Lay down clear objectives, processes, metrics and tracking methods for each team and did a few trial runs.

# Set up the right virtual governance (check in/check out, scrum calls, stand-ups, etc) for managers/team leads with their respective teams.

# Help individuals overcome challenges they may face working at home, example, Internet connectivity by handing out dongles, or SIM cards for data.

#Have clear business metrics/reports published to review the progress of business every day, ensuring we take corrective measures immediately.

# Anticipate challenges of not being physically present and make a plan B, plan C and even plan D for such situations.

A crisis can make or break an organization but being prepared or rather over-prepared can ensure that it brings out the best in leaders, people and makes one business stronger to tide over any wave. At BeatO and several other Indian tech start-ups, we have approached this challenge in a systematic way ensuring timely action to build the business and trust of all its stakeholders.