By Sugandh Bahl
Organisations have made a notable switch to home offices and kitchen tables since March 2020 when COVID-19 forced widespread lockdowns around the world. How did it work out for both employers and employees? And, what has been the scenario of company financials since then?
To answer all such questions, BW Businessworld’s CFO conference had some eminent speakers from the finance world who explained the plight of how they managed to stay afloat in such terrible times. The panel had; Sandeep Batra, CFO, Crompton Greaves; Sandhya Sharma, CFO- India and South Asia, Schindler Group; Gaurav Kant, CFO, Spectra; Yash Arora, CFO, Indian Oil and Adani Gas; and Brajesh Singh, CFO, Arthur D. Little.
Flexible work was far from the norm and remote work was the exception for most companies and Kant was always of the firm belief that the concept of remote work can never gain momentum in a country like India and personally he was never in favour of this concept until it became a sudden mandate for all.
Batra too recalls the scenario when the lockdowns were imposed and to their amazement, it was actually a very crucial period of sales for them. They were confronting with inventory, no demand and working capital shot through the roof.
But, “Indian businesses actually have showcased lot more resilience than all others in the world,” states Singh. Batra claims to have witnessed fantastic recoveries of their losses, beginning June-July alongside tremendously amazing quarterly results as never seen before.
Prior to the covid hit, it was very normal to see insurance call centres with remote working lots along with mobile companies. As compared to pre-covid times; 69 per cent of the companies today expect at least 3/5th of their workforce telecommuting at least once a week. According to a recent CFO survey conducted by a big4, 61 per cent of CFOs claim to permanently make certain positions work from home.
And, in order to further strengthen this thought, Sharma suggested few measures of which one was highly acknowledged by all other fellow panellists; “running loads of upskilling and reskilling programmes.”
The balance between adaptability and the requirements of the workplace ought to be a continuous discussion amongst organisations. Financial advisors are usually in the fields since they meet their clients when and where their clients feel at ease. Business brokers, who are accustomed to setting up connections over business suppers, now end up attempting to do a similar utilizing videoconferencing devices. Businesses should uphold these better approaches for working with the right instruments and various proportions of achievement.