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It felt like returning to a canvas to finish a painting: Wonderchef MD Ravi Saxena on why he looked forward to getting back to work.

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Mr. Ravi Saxena
Mr. Ravi Saxena, MD, Wonderchef Home Appliances Pvt. Ltd Courtesy -ET Panache

1. Where is your office and how do you commute to work? How has the experience been?

My office and residence both are in Hiranandani, Powai, so basically I roll down from my bungalow to office. The lockdown experience has been quite interesting. It has given me a different horizon altogether to look at the things and business. There is a famous saying – Business is full of uncertainty and we have to be ready for everything’, – the pandemic has proven this right. We have innovated on dozens of big and small things since pace had slowed down. These are now giving us wonderful results. On the personal front, the time I have spent more time with my family during lockdown than what I have spent with them during the last 10 years. I also made a gym at home just before lockdown and for the first time I have been a regular at any gym for 5 months in running. It has been an amazing evolution of perspectives.

 2. What was the experience like on the first day back to office?

I was longing to resume office as I missed the workplace and my team a lot. The excitement was greater than the fear of Covid so I was really positive and kept all the apprehensions aside. It looked like I came back to the canvas to finish the painting that was left incomplete. While the attendance at office is less than 10% as per the government guidelines, I come to office everyday as it gives me the opportunity to meet all team members on a rotating basis. Also, I find it to be a more focussed and effective way of working.  

3. What safety protocols are you following at the office?

We are following all the norms that are required to make our office a safe place to operate. Right from temperature checks to the use of sanitizers and masks to use of open spaces for meetings we have kept the specialized team to maintain the safety standards. Also, there is regular disinfection of office premises. We review all the movements and also ensure people travelling from public transport to work from home. For the safety of employees we have encouraged carpooling of the people within the organisation so that more people can come to office safely. We are lucky to have a large terrace attached to our office just beside a hill. All our meetings take place on the terrace to ensure social distancing and also to enjoy the feel of nature during monsoons.

4. Mentally how easy or difficult has it been getting back to work in office?

There was never a roadblock for me. It is in my DNA to never give up on in any situation. Covid came and as an entrepreneur I started hunting for new opportunities for the organization. I was extremely positive as I was looking forward to the new normal and encouraging my team to stop thinking much about Covid and start looking towards building greater things. This strategy works for me in every crisis because I know that just this positive attitude differentiates my company from most of the firms out there.

5. Any challenges that you have faced with working in the office?

Nothing specific. We have enough space and infrastructure to follow all the social distancing guidelines and work without any handicap. Our employees have been enthusiastic about coming to office whenever they get the opportunity. At the same time we are realising that many functions can work efficiently from home, coming to office only on need basis, and this might well become the norm in future.

6. How much of your staff works in the office and what are the timings?

We follow the 10% rule and adhere to it strictly on any given day. Timings are from 10.30 – 7. Thus about 12-15 people are present on any given day on a rotating basis.

7. Any advise for other bosses who want to begin office work again that you can give?

The advice for the fellow counterparts would be to keep the fear and negativity out of mind and work with whatever resources that are available. This is a learning curve and no format is completely right or fool proof. Don’t be rigid about getting to the office. Try to understand your team’s capabilities and motivate them to work either from home or from office as mere coming to the office might not help improve efficiency.

8. If there was one word or line that you could describe the first day back at office what would it be? Explain in detail.

Let’s get going. This was our attitude on coming back. I had so many ideas and plans ready to put into action and all I wanted was to go back to the office and start rolling them. The blueprints of the ideas never gave me a dull moment and in fact kept me engaged and charged up during lockdown. The day I reached office I told my team to leave aside all the fear and uncertainty and rather turn the challenge into opportunity. The team has responded very well and there are no clouds of panic in the organization. As a matter of fact our business has grown and we are beating last year’s numbers comfortably even as all markets are yet to open.

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