I am the secretary of a few schools and also the secretary of a couple of higher education institutions. This is in addition to being an entrepreneur and CEO of an EdTech Company called Excelsoft.
During the last one year (almost), the situation has been, as all of us are aware, ‘working from Home at all locations of our businesses’.
That means, at all our office locations, we have only a bare minimum essential staff, and it has not been easy for the rest — engineering, product development, delivery, support, sales & marketing — to ‘go live’.
Yes, we use all the necessary tools for remote work management, including of course the conferencing tools. While it has definitely helped business continuity, the efficiencies of face-to-face meetings are diminished. In normal circumstances, we could call for a quick meeting, at short notice, to a town hall or an all-hands meeting. It could quickly manage escalations, resolve differences in viewpoints, discuss risks, or resolve conflicts. Doing the same via video calls and emails takes at least three times more effort and time to get to the conclusion. It can be frustrating at times. Many times, ‘multi-tasking’ has become an integral part of working from home. It is difficult to be absolutely faithful to your ‘calendar’. You either keep making changes very frequently, or overlaps happen. You get meeting requests on calls, text messages, WhatsApp, emails, LinkedIn, etc. So running a busy but also smooth calendar is that much more effort. A secretary in the front office could have been quickly tipped off on a meeting or a call or an event, and I could get her to update the calendar. The manager and secretary working in two different locations and trying to keep this sync has not been easy.
At the educational institutions, the schools and institutions of higher learning
The life and blood of any school or a college are the teachers and students: the lively buzz. Over the last year, I have been frequently visiting our offices, schools and colleges that I am associated with, and returning feeling the emptiness. Without People, all these are just a few more buildings.
I should admit that these times have made the homes more lively. For me, we have a houseful after a long time, with all of us at home: my father, my father-in-law, my wife, daughter, my 4.5-year-old grandson whose school is now my home, and my 3-month-old granddaughter who keeps us busy through the night.
Let us hope it will all return to normal or new normal, sooner.
Thank God for small mercies!