The new normals in a world where Covid-19 unfortunately is becoming a part of our life will bring about many changes in the way businesses will be conducted, and more importantly the way we live our life.
The nation-wide lockdown is slowly being lifted across orange and green zones and life is slowly crawling back to a new-normalcy. Businesses and brands are now are making their way back into the business; planning their communication plans for a new world post the covid-19 lockdown.
In this story of Medianews4u’s brand series, Back to Business, we spoke to Sandeep Sethi, Managing Director, Corporate Solutions (West Asia), JLL India.
How are you coping with the impact of Covid-19 on your organization? How effectively have you used the lockdown period?
While for a brief moment in time, the rest of the world slowed down due to the pandemic, with our occupier services, we actually shifted gears to ensure that we relentlessly keep serving our 200 odd corporate clients. Basis the strength of our people and processes, we changed immediately and were prepared for this new way of life. Amidst this global pandemic, we all have encountered unprecedented and immediate challenges.
One of those challenges is preparing for and helping our clients to gradually re-enter their workplaces. While the world faced lockdown we at JLL used this time to chart out an effective and strategic plan to create ‘Welcoming and safe Workspaces’. Despite the challenges, the entire organisation has come together – we have people working to ensure critical client operations are not impacted, our supply chain teams swung into action to ensure that our clients, employees and partner staff is always equipped with protective equipment and other necessary things, HR teams reached out to each and every employee to ensure a positive environment, we found innovative solutions and offerings for our clients, adopted technology and strengthened client engagement just to ensure that the impact to client operations is minimized.
Some of the initiatives undertaken by us were – Proactively developed & implemented BCP for clients for 2 scenarios -partial and total lockdown, Set up an Emergency Technical Services team to resolve breakdown of critical assets, With corporate cafeterias being shut, helped source packaged food for client employees, Helped pack and move client employees’ desktops to their residences (in WFH scenario), Helped source and ship UPS directly to employees’ residences (in WFH scenario), Providing guidance on how to ramp down some services such as maintenance, reception, mail, food has given the current WFH environment. This lockdown has also elevated the importance of the learning and development (L&D) function where our team efforts helped us to serve the organisations more effectively.
The quest for a solution to a particular crisis helps invent new business opportunities and sometimes leads to a revision of existing business models What sort of innovation has or will the Covid-19 pandemic bring to your business?
Absolutely! I am pleasantly surprised to see the innovations our teams have come up with in the past 4-6 weeks. And some of the best innovations have come from our frontline staff operating at the grass-root level.
While the challenges have been immense, there are new opportunities that are coming up and we are ready for what’s coming up next. Preparing for (re)entry into what will be the “next normal” at your place of business is an overwhelming task—and there are numerous decisions that one needs to make along the way. Helping our clients through challenges and uncertainty is core to our commitment to shaping a better world. Workplace sanitization services, Duct Sanitisation services, IoT based remote monitoring of critical engineering assets, sensor based vehicle Sanitizer machines, Isolation facility with Precast Technology, Hotel to Quarantine Facility, Alternate delivery models and IFM on demand are some of the new solutions/ new offerings that we have introduced to help create safe workplaces for our clients.
Furthermore, we have also come up with various products around health and wellness, building & office operations and occupancy and space planning.
While some parts of the country have become Covid-19 free, cities like Mumbai and Delhi are still in a lockdown situation. How are you planning to resume business across cities that are not in the Red?
Each location requires a bespoke strategy. We are working very closely with our clients on their ramp up plans as per the recommendations and protocols set by the government, health and safety experts and other relevant authorities. As our clients ramp up operations, we are with them every step of the way to support them in office re-configurations, touchless technologies, maintaining health and hygiene protocols, Spatial distancing strategies and so much more to ensure a safe return to office spaces. Being future-fit and operational resilience is key at this moment and we are ready!
How did you keep the morale of the employees during this lockdown period? On a personal note, what kept you positive?
We are hearing inspiring stories from around the globe—stories of JLL colleagues supporting each other, their clients, and their communities. We have seen so many examples of bravery, determination and resilience where our people have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure our client operations are not impacted.
This has further helped us build lifelong relationships. Employee safety, wellbeing and motivation is our first priority. Understanding our employees’ challenges during this WFH scenario was of prime importance to us. But thanks to technology we were able to engage with our employees on a regular basis be it work related team meetings, webinars or some fun engagement activity specially designed for our employees. Our employee enrichment programme provided a gamut of interesting sessions for fitness, cooking, and homeschooling for kids, financial planning etc. Personally, I think that this challenging scenario has helped us forge stronger bonds with our people and our clients.
What are some of the post-lockdown business strategies that you will use to bring the business back on track or at least get it in the right direction and also create demand for yourself… in times of no television content availability.
At this point in time, state governments are starting to ease movement restrictions and allowing some parts of the economy to operate again. The pace will only pick up in the coming few weeks with more and more businesses getting back to their operational capabilities. The workplace has never been in the spotlight as much as it is today. There is tremendous work going on to help our clients prepare, respond, re-enter and then reimagine the future. They are keen to access our learnings, knowledge and expertise, drawing on the closely integrated global scale and reach of our business.
We are still winning deals because our clients see value in what we are doing. Some of the new opportunities or rather innovations that we have come up with are portfolio optimization, occupancy planning and we are at the forefront of it all through our robust platform enabled by technology.
How will you help your clients get back to work?
Over the next few weeks, we will be working on helping our clients Reimagine, Recover and Re-enter their workspaces. My personal view is that for the next few months we won’t be getting “back to work” the same way we did before and organisations will have to adapt to the ‘next normal’. Travel will not be as frequent and not everyone will get back to the office immediately. Many people are benefitting from lesser travel and daily commute. At the same time, it is incredibly intense to have online meetings and looking at the screen all day, and for some, in confined space. We all need to find our new equilibrium. Businesses too, will need to find new ways of delivering the same services without physically connecting with people