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Digital Workplace: Adapting and Thriving

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and organizations have been facing unprecedented challenges; offices are being closed, meetings postponed, and employees sent home. Companies are understandably concerned about how to best manage productivity levels, internal collaboration, and organizational cohesion. But with the right strategy and tools, this crisis may in fact even strengthen internal collaboration, teamwork, and productivity.

Likewise, Gham Power Nepal and its operations have been severely affected by this pandemic. The lockdown which has been ongoing for more than 2 months now, has compelled us all to stay at home. However, as the saying goes “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going” we have tried to rethink and rediscover our ways of managing operations. This required us to completely change our working modality like the means of communication, delegation, setting of targets, execution, as well as reporting and feedback. We use online meeting platforms such as Skype, Google Hangout, or Zoom to follow through with our daily meetings and to discuss any issues that we might be facing along with the way forward. Then, clear targets and deliverables are provided to each member for the next meeting. Besides that, we also use other online platforms like Trello, Slack, WhatsApp, etc to monitor our progress and discuss work-related topics.

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However, not all the operations related work can be executed during this time, so we are concentrating more on work that can be managed remotely with the use of digital workspace. Notably, we have managed to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of all the departments/ staffs after rigorous discussions and communication between department heads and other members. Moreover, review of Power Purchase Agreement, its financial analysis, documentation works related to banks, technical system support, salary, and application of pass are some of the works that have been completed during the lockdown. And surprisingly, all the team members have been very productive and goal-oriented compared to the early lockdown days.

Having said that, the transformation from conventional physical workspace to digital workspace hasn’t been very easy. The main challenge of this new work culture was resistance to change, where some of the employees had difficulties in adjusting from working at the office to now working and communicating through laptop screens. Working from home has also given rise to various unprecedented challenges with some of our team members facing issues with the unavailability of laptop/desktop and poor or no internet connection. Another issue we faced was with the use of new digital platforms like Slack and Trello which were completely unfamiliar to some and took time to learn and get used to. Our major learning over the course of these two months has been the fact that we needed to clearly communicate the objectives of this new work setting. We promptly discussed the remote working modalities in meetings and informed the employees about any possible changes beforehand. Moreover, we learned to be flexible with timing and working hours to cater to this resistance to change. In addition to that, trusting our team members during these difficult times was key as building a culture around trust is integral.

As the saying goes, “in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity”, we have been able to improve our productivity level, cohesion, and teamwork in this new digital workplace brought about by the pandemic. We hope that we do not have to work under the current circumstance for too long, however, we feel we are well prepared even if the lockdown extends further.