We all heard the news at the beginning of December 2019 that a new virus called Coronavirus has appeared in the Wuhan region of China, whose origin is a topic of debate among the scientists across the world. It was a piece of news we all read but assumed it to be another of the kind we have seen in the recent past, like SARS in 2002-03, Swine Flu in 2009-10 or Ebola in 2014-16. They all spread to various parts of the world impacting several thousand but were eventually contained with effective steps taken by WHO and the governments of the impacted countries.
I remember having a conversation with a colleague back then on how endemics will keep coming and going and the world and businesses will go on as usual. This comment largely came from the confidence that we all had in the medical advancements across the world and international authorities’ capabilities to ensure that no virus would ever turn into the Flu Pandemic of 1918 leading to the death toll in millions. We were all convinced that there’s nothing that an M2M company like ours need to do in response to this outbreak.
But alas, by the time it was March 2020, this teeny-weeny virus named COVID-19, with its roots in a faraway city of China started spreading like wildfire and an endemic took the shape of a pandemic spreading its tentacles in other parts of the world infecting more than half a million people across the world and leading to nearly 30,000 deaths. On 11th March 2020, WHO formally declared COVID 19 a pandemic and Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, at a media briefing said “This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector. So, every sector and every individual must be involved in the fights.”
Till then India had less than 100 cases but Sensorise Management being a far-sighted group of experienced industry professionals decided to assess the situation and called a meeting with the HR team. It was discussed and decided in the meeting that the key issues which company should focus on incase of a lockdown or any similar situation are:
- Employees’ Health and Safety,
- Uninterrupted services to the Customers,
- Business Continuity, and
- Clear communication to all Stakeholders keeping them updated with the changing situations.
To achieve this goal, current operations were carefully assessed, and the stock was taken from all the stakeholders. Admin was instructed to procure laptops and dongles to ensure that all employees have the necessary tools and infrastructure to operate from the convenience of their homes.
On Thursday, 19th March 2020 on our Founders Day, during the townhall, our MD Mr. Sharad Arora, announced that we are ready for any crisis and the employees can work from home if the need arises. This foresight which is part of Sensorise DNA saved us all from a potential fiasco, as on the eve of Saturday, 21st March 2020, our honourable Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi announced Janta curfew for 14 hours on the following day. This curfew day followed by Lockdown phase I from 25th March to 14th April 2020, Lockdown phase II from 15th April to 3rd May 2020, Lockdown phase III from 4th May to 17th May 2020 and then Lockdown phase IV from 18th to 31st May (still ongoing), forced us all to stay indoors to avoid the spread of the virus.
During this whole period, the Sensorise team, competently lead by Sensorise Management, maintained uninterrupted services to the customers. When several large organizations were worrying about how to respond to the lockdown, we at Sensorise, armed with IT equipment and protocols for operations, knew precisely how the operations were to be managed.
The team has effectively used all the communication channels at their disposal like Skype, Whatsapp, Emails, Phone calls to stay connected with each other and the customers. Different teams performed to the best of their capacities:
- MARCOM team communicated promptly with all our stakeholders on all possible channels, informing customers and other people about the continuity of the business and availability of the team as usual.
- The Operations team ensured that all the operations were uninterrupted and seamless.
- The Customer Care team answered all the customer calls and emails promptly making them feel comfortable.
- Admin and HR Teams ensured that travel passes were available for the employees who might have to travel to the office for mission-critical services and the office is sanitized and ready before the end of the lockdown to welcome all the staff members back.
- The Sales Team also made an effort to stay connected with their potential customers to ensure that business is back on track as soon as the situation improves.
From the first day of lockdown till date, business has continued as usual. In fact, what was noticed and heard repeatedly was that the productivity and hours of work had indeed increased significantly!! On the 4th May 2020, the Company resumed office operations with a limited set of people manning such operations that required physical presence.
On this D-Day, online townhall was organized to connect the Sensorians spread across length and breadth of the country, where our MD Mr. Sharad Arora congratulated the team for the labour put in by them during this whole time and prepped them for more in the coming days. The company strategy was discussed for the coming months and it was announced that Sensorise will continue to pay the full salary to all the employees and consultants despite the stiff market conditions. In a scenario where even very large companies have announced pay cuts for its employees, it was admirable that the company took this decision, with the stated objective that people will have the required disposable incomes and the ability to give generously to the less fortunate and the economy that requires support from every quarter. Our MD also urged the team to make donations either to PM Care fund or other local NGOs which are helping the needy in this time of crisis. This was such a noble way to give back to the economy and country in its small way. All employees cheered at the announcement and felt proud to be part of a company which goes a step ahead and thinks beyond business and profits.
Though, we are still under Lockdown phase IV and only a select few are attending office for mission-critical services but none the less, we have come quite far in our journey of managing our business in these unprecedented times. We hope that spread of this nasty virus is put in control, all the bans are lifted soon and we can jump back into the office routine and work harder to ensure that the company quickly comes out of the slowdown alongwith the whole economy. This pandemic has changed a lot of things for everyone around, not just temporarily but permanently, but one thing it can’t change is the spirit of mankind to bounce back. It saw the birth of Corona Warriors to fight the virus and heal people, and now it will see the birth of Economy Warriors who will work harder than ever before to ensure that existing businesses are back on track and new business opportunities are created to help the world heal financially.