Acer is one of the world’s top ICT companies and has a presence in over 160 countries. As Acer looks into the future, it is focused on enabling a world where hardware, software and services will fuse with one another to open up new possibilities for consumers and businesses alike.
Here, Chandradas Panigrahi, Consumer Business Head and CMO at Acer India, tells us more about the future of work in times of Covid-19. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: How are you dealing with the Covid-19 situation? What plans have you put in place?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: At Acer, we are navigating the growth of our strategy to expand the business as per the situation. In India, our entire workforce is working remotely with all the necessary infrastructure in place, and we are fully prepared to support this flexible work environment. Acer has the infrastructure, monitoring tools that enable Work from Home for our team members. We are executing multiple initiatives across the country to serve our customers and partners during these critical times.
We are also leveraging our E-store to further accelerate our partners’ omnichannel journey and facilitate home delivery options from Acer stores once lockdown is lifted while keeping social distancing in mind. We are committed to ensuring that there is no disruption to their competence to run business and serve their customers.
DQ: Are you giving employees more control over their schedules?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: This is a time when leaders need to be flexible and compassionate. It is an opportunity to give our employees more control, and trust them to manage their schedules. In this current environment, as a leader, I am giving more importance to hands-on learning about our employees’ values, interests, strengths, and motivations. I also believe that this is a time to upskill, and therefore, this is more of an opportunity. While this is certainly not an option that many of us opted for, this period will help employees gain control over their timetables and plan.
DQ: How are you assessing on learnings from enforced experiments around WFH?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: The coronavirus pandemic has triggered this experiment in terms of working from home, which is perhaps changing the way people work permanently. Being a global technology brand, we believe we are getting stronger in terms of understanding the current tangent market, which could be the focus for the next upcoming months. We have accustomed ourselves and are taking a more sound approach towards the current situation of the business. This has been one of the key learnings during work from home.
DQ: This is a challenging time for managers. What advice would you give them?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: Yes, it is a challenging time, not only for managers, but for everyone, which means, redesigning and re–assigning tasks becomes more difficult for a manager. They need to ensure that they try to build cultures of creativity and generosity amongst the teams and help in making the entire organization more productive.
Communication is the key, and it is also important for them to be more hands-on when it comes to planning and scheduling. They can also utilize this time and opportunity to find what aspects of their job they find more interesting and meaningful.
DQ: How does work/life balance work in a crisis like this?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: As the current situation has pushed work and home lives under one roof for many of us, the struggle to manage it is going to be a prolonged journey. However, we believe that technological evolution has provided us a way to deal with pandemics like these where our capacity has become more durable and our new work/life culture is prepared to keep the mental and physical balance maintained. It’s necessary, so we can weather the storm, continue making decisions, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
DQ: Are there any policy responses that you would give to the MSMEs and SMEs?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: Businesses that are nimble, responsive, and can address the changing needs of customers will thrive in this volatile time. Adaptable supply chains, technology-driven organizations, which allow a flexible workforce, will see more opportunities in terms of growth.
DQ: How are you now facilitating digital work? How do you plan for a future of ‘decent digiwork’?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: The trend of digital work has captured a lift, as Covid-19 imposes social distancing and directs to a contactless world. At Acer, we are collaborating more differently and changing our policies to better accommodate remote workers. We are ensuring to provide the best working conditions, no matter the employee’s location.
We have also facilitated digital initiatives through our e-stores for our existing customers and partners, while giving home delivery options and adhering to the guidelines by the government.
In addition to this, we are soon going to provide e-learning tools to support local schools, teachers, and students amidst the Covid-19 emergency, and as part of our upcoming BTS campaign.We believe in the power of computing to spread knowledge and are proud to provide today’s generation with the tools they need to develop 21st-century skills and succeed in the information age.
DQ: How are the latest technologies going to redefine workplace?
Chandrahas Panigrahi: The pandemic has been a technological equalizer for many of us while working remotely. However, this forced transformation has led to positive change as well in terms of redefining the workplace with more technological enhancement.
The video conferencing apps have paved its way for us to be more evolved in terms of connecting with teams and clients. Regular webinars and sessions are also among the to-do list daily. We think that these best practices will continue as we all are developing new muscles to work virtually.