Life in business has come a full circle since the lockdown.
One September was set up at 'home' in the 200 sq ft living room-cum-kitchen of my partners – Jpax, Sreekanth and Varun’s rented apartment. We 'worked from home' for the first eight months.
Today, when we are all working from home, I cannot help reminiscing those days and compare the two eras (feels like an era ago).
The average day would start with me ringing the door bell, which doubled as a wake-up call for Sreekanth and Varun. A highly productive boardroom meeting on bean bags ensued with the wafting aroma of filter coffee.
Today, we connect every morning on video calls to plan the day, and just like the good ol’ days, conduct formal meetings clad in casual t-shirts and often wildy printed boxers.
Back then, my partners joined in the lunch engagement daily to create unique culinary adventures. And now, I’m a serious sous chef. Between work, I help my wife with cutting/ chopping, and the all-important art-direction and photographer function, and finally posting of the photos. Albeit obvious, claim credit for her recipes on Insta stories.
An afternoon brainstorming session was something I eagerly looked forward to. We had a blackboard and every coloured chalk possible. Whiteboards just don’t have the same charm.
Today, there is an app for everything. We get onto Lucidchart for a fun post-lunch ideas and insights exchange session to keep the team motivated, and away from the temptation of drifting into a siesta.
Back then, Counter Strike was big. We sat next to each other, and played over LAN during the evening breaks. Today, we compete against each other online over Ludo, Psych, Houseparty etc., bigger choice!!
Client meetings over calls were preferred, to avoid the stigma of working from home while clients were in their swank offices.
A paradigm shift today: we are extolling the virtues of conducting meetings, pitches, feedback, reviews all over video calls, reducing carbon footprints et al while the clients are also resonating similar ideas, while working from home.
A certain camaraderie with clients and colleagues has evolved in this new ecosphere and will be there to stay, especially to counter future challenges which are presumably steep.
Everybody is in this together. Everybody is enduring the same.
When we all have a shared experience as tough and unique as this, it will make us more grounded, empathetic, efficient, real and trustworthy.
In our new normal life, these qualities gathered from the current phase must be instilled strongly. Needless to say, skills of jhadoo, pocha, bartan and dusting acquired now, have to be honed further.
(The author is co-founder and creative head, One September.)