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    Smarten Spaces CEO does virtual 'Antakshari', pizza-video calls to strengthen team bonding

    Synopsis

    Dinesh Malkani takes short breaks between calls to avoid too much screen-time.

    Dinesh Malkani wears casual clothes as he works from home.
    Dinesh Malkani, CEO and Founder, Smarten Spaces has had a great experience overall working from home.

    He told ET Panache, "In the beginning, it got a bit monotonous, and I struggled with long screen hours. Over time, I have improvised and got much more value out of remote work. I now leverage tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Webex to connect to my team, customers, and, of course, Jumpree to drive employee engagement."

    The best part has been wearing a simple T-shirt and shorts throughout the day for Malkani. For client calls, he quickly brush his hair and put on a shirt and shorts.

    "I have been using different areas of my home for different kinds of calls. I prefer webinars from the dining table where there’s a nicer background. My home office with a bookshelf at the back is where I take my client calls. I use my bedroom for video calls with the internal team. You have to try and break the monotony and not worry about what people may think," he shared.

    It’s been interesting to note that during these times, we have to be much more deliberate about a few things which we usually take for granted feels Malkani.

    "With no meeting rooms or cafeterias to walk to with a colleague, I ended up staring at the screen for 12 hours a day. Now, I take short breaks between calls to take a quick two- minute walk. Longer screen times have also led me to sit for too long on the chair. And not stepping out very often is only adding to the sedentary life. To address this, I have started yoga in the morning on Zoom," he said.

    Tips To Increase Productivity When Working From Home

    The nation-wide lockdown has introduced a new trend of working from home. As several businesses adapt to the new model, it is crucial for employees to know the best tips to ensure ease of working and better productivity.

    Maintaining connection with the team was high on the agenda for their leadership. "We took conscious steps to ensure we maintained the camaraderie we had at the office. A few interesting initiatives have only made our bonding stronger. We do virtual Antakshari, recognition days, regular all-hands, pizza-video calls, etc. We feel even more connected now than ever," Malkani shared.

    Expanding the business with no physical travel - over time, customers were delighted to join them on a video call, and, typically, every day they have calls with people in the US, Europe and the APAC region. It has been very effective.

    "We are all in it together. I have a 12-hour workday usually. Every day, I do yoga for an hour at 6:30 am. Then, I take my dogs for a walk. My morning activities help me maintain my physical and mental well-being. My calls start by 8:30 in the morning. I usually have a work lunch. At 6:30 pm, I make time to go for a 6km brisk walk. At night, we watch videos or attend a Zoom party. Then it’s lights out for me," he said.

    Malkani loves coffee, and now, finally, he makes his own French Press coffee at home.

    "I’m trying lots of new roasts. I mostly order my beans from Blue Tokai. I spent a fair amount of time in the early phase of the lockdown, raising money and helping organise food relief packages out to migrant workers. This initiative was by a group called Project Hunger that works with Akshaya Patra. Also, I worked with the amazing Shukla Bose to help the Parikrama families," he shared.

    Tired Of Never-Ending Working From Home Shift? 4 Tips To Maintain A Work-Life Balance

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    Working from home has become the new normal as companies try to minimise disruptions and keep operations running as close to normal as possible. But with most of us working from home, the lines between "work" and "home" could become quickly blurred.



    A few weeks ago, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma took to Twitter to announce that he had been so wrapped up in Zoom meetings (inset from Sharma's Twitter account) that he forgot it was Sunday. And that seems to be the case with most entrepreneurs who are dealing with investor pressure and the stress of a looming economic slowdown.


    The Economic Times