The COVID-19 outbreak changed the way we work. Most of us continue to juggle the stress of COVID-19 along with parenting and work-from-home responsibilities while cost-cutting, uncertainty, and social distancing norms alter traditional organizational levers. These shifts necessitated a reimagining of the Shadowfax way; right from policies and hygiene measures to activities and employee provisions. We had to overcome challenges pertaining to employees returning to work, boosting morale, and maintaining motivation during remote work.
In this light, we took it upon ourselves to establish rules around mandatory masks, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders for curbing the virus’ spread. We also went above-and-beyond in providing our people emotional, physical, and mental support. Our Human Resources team stepped up to the challenge of charting a strategic, people-centric path towards a truly transformed digital business and hybrid work culture.
Technology became central to our being. All teams planned and achieved most tasks virtually.
For our HR Head, Tanushree Ray ‘This was a litmus test of how quickly we could adapt and I am proud that we ensured smooth running of all operations. We examined pre-COVID methods and reinvented ideas and activities. We relooked at ways of keeping employees engaged, motivated and making work-from-home less overwhelming. We also strengthened our team by bringing in new hires virtually without compromising on the onboarding experience.’
Beyond prioritizing safety; here is how we kept our people motivated:
1. Enabling teamwork and collaboration
New-age collaboration tools such as Slack and chatbots allowed team members to connect even while working remotely. Daily virtual meet-ups and the Employee Assistance Program allowed Shadowfax to implement employee-friendly policies.
The daily leadership huddle/Stand up was a unique initiative between the functional leader of the organization and the management, highlighting daily updates, key decisions, and actionable. Teams later came together to share their updates and challenges over regular emails with Stakeholders to collaborate on solutions.
2. The Right Space
To help employees set-up a home workspace, we provided workstation furniture and a dongle for uninterrupted connectivity.
All precautions were taken to stop in-person and surface transmission of the virus through furniture, elevator buttons, or keyboards. For this, masks were made compulsory. Besides, regular sanitization, social distancing, and sanitizers made Shadowfax a safe workplace.
As more employees return to the workplace, Shadowfax has sanitized desks, workstations, and meeting areas. Regular weekend deep-cleaning and sanitization is also undertaken.
Mandatory temperature checks and oximeter usage help identify symptoms early and restrict spread, thereby controlling damage.
Weekly or bi-weekly testing helps identify and curtail person-to-person spread of the virus.
3. Health is Wealth
This year, the health and wellness of our employees will continue to be paramount.
We have tied up with Columbia Asia, a highly reputed hospital chain, to provide quality medical care for employees.
Shadowfaxians can avail of special discounts at Columbia Asia, enjoy benefits like free PAN-India registration, a 10% discount on OPD services, and special health checkup packages.
As mental and physical wellness go hand-in-hand, we launched the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to understand and work with employees experiencing hardships. The program provides a pillar of support while recognizing and appreciating employee efforts.
4. Recognition and rewards to keep spirits high
Shadowfax utilizes cutting-edge technology to evaluate employee and project performance. Teams can stay connected remotely using chatbots.
While working from home, bridging the communication gap was the key to efficient performance. For this, we used software like Slack and online Chatbot survey programs. Thus, employees working remotely under the hybrid model could maintain an open line of communication with team members.
Objectives and Key Results (OKR) is an outcome-driven goal-setting methodology that makes it possible to measure performance and encourages accountability. Shadowfax aims to keep employees updated with evolving goals. The OKR helps them stay motivated and focused while growing into their new workplace conditions.
At Shadowfax, the day begins with a virtual meet to acknowledge each individual’s hard work. The Shazam award rewards employee performance and contributions. Friday Sundowner events are another chance for teams to connect virtually.
Shadowfax virtually onboarded 200 employees during COVID-19 restrictions. We have also held virtual celebrations like our Annual Triumph Day.
5. Play Together, Stay Together
At Shadowfax, we managed to be just as playful even as we worked from home.
We celebrated our two biggest milestones virtually with great success - our 5th anniversary and our retro-themed annual function. Both events had over 500 Shadowfaxians joining in and sharing our happiness. They had performances from celebrity comics, singers, motivational speakers, along with our leadership and in-house stars!
Regular Music jam sessions were organized.
Discussion-over-drinks sessions called ‘Sundowners’ were overseen by our senior leaders where interesting guests discussed business trends and thoughts along with some light banter. For more details on Shadowfax Sundowners watch this space.
As we return to the office, we have initiated our annual sports activity ‘Shaolympics’ with all safety measures in place for us to come together and compete.
We also have the golden opportunity to organize get-togethers and day outings with our virtual hires at a safe external location, where we get better acquainted and let our hair down with good food, activities, dance, music, and loads of fun and frolic!
6. Hybrid is the Future
Aiming to implement innovative employee-friendly policies, we followed the hybrid workplace model, adhering to social distancing requirements while maintaining high productivity.
Reimagining our workplace, we have decided to adopt a flexible, intuitive, and human-centric framework where physical and virtual workplaces co-exist. We offer maximum flexibility to support individual work styles while balancing business needs and ensuring adherence to our values. Noting the long-term necessity for social distancing without blocking interactions, hybrid workplaces are here to stay!
We believe that our team’s determination and unrelenting efforts to keep operations running have brought us this far. Their vigor motivated us to provide them with the convenience and ease they need at this time. Having reopened our office, we have taken all necessary steps to prioritize health and safety.
Here is hoping normalcy is attained soon. We are affirmative that this experience will only help us emerge stronger and more powerful than before!