WFH Fundas from ABFRLites

Juggling personal and professional lives. Pitching over weak WiFi. Brainstorming path-breaking ideas virtually.

These are some of the professional hurdles our team at ABFRL overcame and rose to the challenge when the country went into lockdown towards the end of March. Now, within a short span of two and a half months, we have established a new way of working from the ground up, without letting it hamper productivity or efficiency.

This spirit is a testament to our resilience and problem-solving approach towards life. Read on to know how the people behind the top clothing brands in India tackled the lockdown-induced challenges head-on.

Hina Hira
General Manger, Pantaloons, Mumbai HO

Which has been your biggest constraint when working from home?

Balancing office work, along with personal household chores in the absence of maids and proper time boundaries.

What do you do to overcome this constraint?

Multitasking. I finish my household work before 10am and end up attending some urgent late night calls, as I tackle household work in parallel. Thankfully, everyone in the system understands my limitations and co-operates to help me complete the tasks at hand.

Sudeep Shaw
Manager –Retail Buyer, Louis Phillippe, Bangalore HO

Which has been your biggest constraint when working from home?

My biggest challenge was to create a good office environment at home. I also had difficulty managing my daily schedule, making working hours longer than usual.

What do you do to overcome this constraint?

I’ve created a good working zone at home, so that I feel like I’m working from office, setting deadlines for every task, prioritising important work and taking small breaks in between. It is also important to follow a regular office routine and include a daily workout plan in your calendar to keep your mind and body fit.

Rajini Kuttappa
Manager –Sales Operations, Peter England, Bangalore HO

Which has been your biggest constraint when working from home?

The biggest challenge I faced was to demarcate between personal and official timings as expectations from both ends were high. My other challenge was getting acquainted with different team members and systems. This has been a very critical part of my job, as my role requires a lot of cross-functional coordination, which has been not easy while working from home.

What do you do to overcome this constraint?

I have almost efficiently overcome these constraints by prioritizing and scheduling my work, which is communicated to all my stakeholders. This helps in balancing my time better as well as meeting expectations at home and at work. I also have fewer informal chats during official calls and meetings, which is just enough to keep everyone updated about the other teams, while giving all teams a holistic picture.

Soumya Sucharita
Manager­ –Visual Merchandising (South), Allen Solly, Bangalore HO

Which is your biggest constraint when working from home?

There were two; namely; working with digital technologies on home networks and gathering or collecting information/data. While most of the processes are online; the software does not work at times from home networks and timely resolution becomes an issue.

On the people front, whenever you needed any information, you could approach your stakeholder in person. But in a remote working environment, you cannot have a human connect with your peers. Even though you can connect with people through different platforms like MS Teams, I felt there was always something missing in our virtual interactions.

What do you do to overcome this constraint?

I am still in the process of overcoming these challenges. In the first case, bringing up issues with the concerned teams in a trickle up approach helped bridge gaps immensely. When it comes to staying connected with my colleagues, being more organised, preparing my day in advance; setting up meetings with the concerned people and blocking their calendars in advance has helped to some extent.

Manish Gupta
Area Retail Manager (East), Van Heusen, Kolkata

Which has been your biggest constraint when working from home?

Being my first experience of working from home, staying aligned with my stakeholders across different teams virtually was difficult to maintain. Furthermore, with several distractions at home, it was difficult to have a set schedule and a dedicated space to work, to stay productive during working hours.

What do you do to overcome this constraint?

I plan my entire day in advance to make my productivity at work effective. I also enrolled for several virtual trainings along with some of my team members. Some of these trainings have helped me sharpen my business acumen. I’ve demarcated my work and family time, so that I get to spend quality moments with them. As for my me time, I read books to gain knowledge that will help me in my life.

As we adapt to the new normal, and look at the challenging times ahead, our perseverance, innovation and grit will serve us in good stead. By carrying forth our dynamic approach and resilient attitude, we will keep adapting to change with the times, and continue to grow from strength to strength.

With inputs from Garima Rajput and Nikita Arora.

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