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    Cyient President is conscious of time spent on every activity, says WFH has boosted efficiency

    Synopsis

    Karthikeyan Natarajan has chalked out a blueprint for the business for the next 9 months.

    Agencies
    Cyient President and COO Karthikeyan Natarajan shares how he is managing working from home amidst learning new things.
    Karthikeyan Natarajan, President and COO, Cyient has worked his entire career from an office as a young engineer; and then leading the engineering team from the front, he has always enjoyed the company of curious minds, walking around the office, having in-person conversations and updates, or just rallying behind an exciting idea.

    He told ET Panache, "Working from home was definitely an adjustment. But now I do feel I am more productive as I don’t waste time commuting and also perhaps am a bit more empathetic, a better listener, and have far more patience. Managing work from home means brutal time management. I am conscious of time spent on every activity—be it engaging with teams or building business models for a reset, I aim for improved efficiency."

    During the lockdown, Natarajan is relying heavily on collaborative and connectivity tools. "I have also learnt the trick of being my own cameraman. Early March is when I joined Cyient and very soon it also became the month where the entire world was reacting to this what happened moment. Here I was in the midst of understanding Cyient and getting to know my colleagues, building plans, and in a flash the lockdown was announced," he said.

    However, the shift that Natarajan swiftly made was to reprioritise. "All my 30-day joining plans were flung to the wind. Instead my focus was on ensuring that our employees are safe, our business remains steady, and we deliver to our clients without a significant slowdown. As a team we took one day at a time and met the hurdles head on. I am very proud to share that Cyient reached 90 per cent WFH with 90 per cent productivity within three weeks of the lockdown announcement. All through we were cognizant of the unique and critical responsibility we have toward our associates, customers, and the community," he said.

    March and early April were dedicated to rolling up Natarajan sleeves with the business continuity team and ensuring a smooth transition to work from home.

    Karthikeyan Natarajan says Cyient has a people-first policyAgencies
    Karthikeyan Natarajan says Cyient has a people-first policy.

    "However, toward the latter part of April and May I spend more time on taking stock of the situation. That meant having daily cadence calls with our delivery heads, sales leaders, and business unit heads spread across the globe. I spent my every waking hour with customer-facing teams across time zones to help them increase our engagement with clients during the crisis and share the challenge shoulder-to-shoulder with them. Concern and empathy were the need of the hour during this period," he said.

    Now is the time when Natarajan is reaching out to the entire organization, assuring them of their people-first policy as we overcome the first wave of economic and mental health damage the pandemic has brought in.

    "These days I am engaging with them and staying available to address any concerns they may have and extend any help we as an organization can give. On the strategic level, I have chalked out the blueprint for the next nine months. We have clearly laid out the priorities that are needed for a business reset. We are going to focus on the areas that we know will have maximum impact. The pandemic has made us realise that we cannot be involved in over analysis; rather, it’s time to act," he said.

    Natarajan has a separate office space from where he likes to conduct all his virtual meetings and official work.

    "You will find me in comfortable business casuals. I am an engineer at heart, so a tie doesn’t go down well with me. Also, sharing the work environment with the family was a unique experience. My personal goal in 2020 was to read more books; but I am far from achieving it," he said.

    Natarajan does a combination of stretching exercises, walking, and listening to music to keep fit. "I also sit in a separate office space, which ensures that there are limited distractions. I have developed an interest in music. My love for it has made me try to learn to play the guitar and the result was not that bad. I hope to pursue this even when things return to normal. I am also interacting more actively with the dynamic members of the Engineering Services Forum at NASSCOM, which I co-chair," he ended.

    Office Interiors To Change Post-Lockdown: Here's What The Future Will Look Like

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    The New Normal

    “For office culture to revive and survive, office spaces are looking at a pretty drastic alteration of layouts and design,” says Pankaj Poddar, the co-founder of Hipcouch, a Mumbai based Interior Design Company. He says the new normal will also see some reversal.

    “We will see the reversing of very hot trends of open offices and shared desks.” While we wait for the official decrees, here’s what the rough framework is looking like so far according to Poddar.


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