WFH during COVID-19 : When Crayons left their Box (albeit for a very good reason)

Truth be told, we’ve always struggled to get our ‘Work from Home’ (WFH) policy right at Crayon. What really is work-from-home? Does it include work from your hometown? How many days/ months can someone take WFH? How do we REALLY know whether someone is actually working from home? But yes, it really did seem to be a privilege that most Crayons valued and used, to strike that near-mythical work-life balance.  And resisted staunchly when any effort was taken to lower the number of sanctioned WFH days in a month.

And then came COVID-19.

Though it appeared on our radar mid January, thanks to our teams in Singapore and Hong Kong, it still seemed far removed from the team in Chennai, India. Corona was still associated more with the beverage than the disease. Then two things happened. First, the WHO declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. And second, closer to home, the Indian government released its first travel advisory. It stated that people from certain countries were to restrict travel to India, one of them being Singapore. Our HQ! And folks (including our CEO) were due to travel that week. We decided to err on the side of caution by completely curtailing all employee travel. A few days after, the government completely suspended international travel. This is when we realized that the COVID-19 threat was moving closer home, and faster than we realized.

Next, was to get a BCP (business continuity process) in place. It seemed premature. Life still seemed quite routine. But we decided to err on the side of caution.

It then came down to anticipating the worst case scenario, i.e. what if employees couldn’t make it to the office?  The challenge here was to move the entire team, across locations, to a complete work-from-home mode. We needed to do a couple of dry-runs. Sort out the chinks before an enforced WFH scenario.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn. You can read the full article here.

About Aarti Ramakrishnan

Aarti Ramakrisnan is the Director & CMO of Crayon Data — a big data start up that provides Maya, a digital personalization engine that engages customers with taste-led personalization and increases conversion rates.
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