India's largest automaker Tata Motors faced a unique problem during the lockdown in March 2020 -an acute shortage of desktops and laptops in the country. "It sounds crazy, but there were no laptops or desktops available in the market even if you wanted to buy one, but the need to work online was pressing," says Ravindra Kumar G.P, President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Tata Motors.
The company solved this problem by physically delivering as many as 1,518 desktops and 800 laptops that its employees had in their offices to their homes.
"During the pandemic, empowerment of employees took a life of its own," adds Kumar.
The company also did not layoff or reduce salaries. It also remained extra-sensitive to the complexities of WFH and actively discouraged managers from calling juniors at odd hours.
"WFH used to be a privilege that companies used to provide. But during the pandemic, it became a necessity. That transition has been challenging. Employees went through a lot of adjustments," says Kumar. "Our MD took the lead to tell everybody that working from home does not mean working 24x7. So managers were asked to respect the privacy of individuals - work had to happen during normal hours, lunch breaks needed to be longer as people now had to prepare food, feed their kids, parents etc. The organisation was sensitive, leaders tried their best and I believe that must have helped our employees."
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