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They are focused on getting as much done from home as they did in office, while juggling domestic chores. (Photo: Ravindra Joshi/ Mint)
They are focused on getting as much done from home as they did in office, while juggling domestic chores. (Photo: Ravindra Joshi/ Mint)

C-suite leaders tweak schedules to stay positive, productive during lockdown

With teams working remotely, C-suite leaders are using strategies that range from virtual parties to daily video calls to keep employee morale high and productivity at a peak

Irwin Anand usually has no time for a breather from work in the mornings. But during the lockdown, 8am to 11am each day is reserved for his children. The India managing director of online learning platform Udemy has modified his schedule to spend time with his kids when they attend virtual classes.

That doesn’t mean his productivity has fallen. “Spending time with my children is important to me. I do not take calls during this time and my team is aware of this, but I make up for it during the day with a strict schedule," he said.

Like everyone else, c-suite leaders have been working from home for more than a month now. They’ve made changes to the way they work but are focused on getting as much done during the lockdown as they did before it in office.

These leaders have their own way to keep themselves motivated and productive during these challenging times. Anant Goenka, managing director of tyre manufacturer Ceat Ltd, has replaced his outdoor runs with indoor yoga sessions. “I make sure that I walk while taking calls. This keeps me mobile and active through the day. I talk to my colleagues and even the chief fitness officer. This helps me destress so that I can concentrate at work without being anxious," he said.

Noshin Kagalwalla, vice-president and managing director of software company SAS Institute (India), is strict about his schedule as it is easy to miss deadlines while working from home. “I start my day at 8.30 am and work till 5.30-6 pm. Our leadership calls continue as before. It is important to switch off as well, just like you would if you were leaving office and coming home in the evening," Kagalwalla said.

Making a task list and following it is a popular choice. “This to-do list must be visible to you all the time. So, it’s best kept at your desk or on a whiteboard. It helps prioritize and ensures timely delivery of tasks," said Balbir Singh Dhillon, India head of carmaker Audi. Like Kagalwalla, Dhillon has set up a designated work area, which has a comfortable seating arrangement and enough sunlight.

Staying active and taking breaks are also important, especially in the work-from-home model, where the line between work and leisure can blur. Sampad Swain, CEO and co-founder of online payment gateway Instamojo, is also focused on staying calm and strong. “This is the time to take care of oneself and prepare for the uncertain days ahead," he said. Swain tracks his activities on a Fitbit and works out consistently to stay motivated and positive. Reading during free time helps boost his productivity when he’s back at his desk, he said. “It takes my mind off all the bad news and the conversations about uncertainty that seem to be on a loop," Swain said.

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