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WFH: 13 years of leadership: lessons learned from the company that founded WFH more than a decade ago


Uma Shahikant

home work Now it’s a cool thing.Thirteen years ago, when we started a family, only Virtual office, Many people think our model will not work. Now everyone is telling us stories that we had difficult to tell before, and we feel that we have been proven to be correct. But will this charm last?

When we started Ciel, our premise was simple.There are many women like us who are keen on pursuing a career, but they are not willing to give up their responsibilities Home And raising children. We all have many years of work experience. Dilemma between work and family. Ciel is our role model for working and working from home, as if it doesn’t matter. We have done well for ourselves.

We made the rules.We will log in The specific time. Except for children and school, we will not rest for anything.We will not be followed up, but will persist deadline. The model works very well. We have carried out careful process innovation to ensure that our customers will not worry about us working from home.

The advantages are many. Without direct supervision and micro-management, creativity and innovation occur in unexpected places. Even junior resources have become good at problem-solving. We are good collaborators.One seamlessly replaces the other because we all need Flexible working hours. We are there when the children go home, which is precious.

There are also restrictions. Some tasks that can be easily explained in person can take a long time on the phone and on the remote computer screen. Reading long documents is not easy for everyone. We have reworked many times. Sometimes we find it difficult to cooperate. Sometimes, we just missed the excitement of going out to meet people. But we did a good job overall and built a good business with a loyal team.

Now that working from home has become the norm, many people question whether this is indeed a better way of working. What will people like us who have used this model for long enough say?

First of all, the direction of solving the problem needs to change. Working from home means believing that problems can be solved through discussion and the use of your mind. No need to travel, and no need to spend time and energy in multiple face-to-face meetings. To do this, everyone must focus on the problem at hand, be willing to invest time, understand the details, and listen to other people’s points of view. This is much more difficult than leisurely attending meetings without homework and making some impromptu suggestions and getting off the car easily. When it is easy to walk over to talk to colleagues, there will be many situations where you are dismissive of actual work and waste other people’s time.

Second, there must be ownership of the task at hand. The ability to work independently without supervision and micro-management is valuable. Not everyone can get it easily. This is especially true when the responsibility is not clear. When tasks are not clearly defined and responsibilities are not assigned, many team members do not know how to proceed. Without active guidance, it will be difficult for them to find their place and be responsible for their deliverables. The problems that may arise in the front-end, the time spent clarifying, and solving problems are all necessary to make resources grow. This behavior of managers and managed is an acquired skill.

Third, the team draws energy from various sources. Some people thrive in interactive and social environments that involve many people. Some people are content to complete assigned tasks and interact according to the need to complete the task. There are many degrees of difference between these two extremes. If the team likes face-to-face brainstorming, the office environment can formulate and solve problems faster without having to spend too much time on elaborating. When simpler problems take longer to resolve, working from home can be frustrating. A favorable environment is very important.

Fourth, working from home means giving up the benefits of work. The power of dressing, travel, flights and the attendant importance, the social signals of the car you drive and where you eat lunch, and the power game with accomplices will all disappear. You will not become a hermit at all, but you will find it difficult to draw a line between work and family, wandering between the two all day long. You will trade a lot of charm for hard work, which may benefit you.

Fifth, there is a lot to say about the culture of the workplace and the team spirit it cultivates. Working from home requires special attention to these aspects so that the team feels that they belong to a community that nurtures, cares, and promotes professional development. If there is no formal environment for human interaction, many things may still be unspoken and unknown. This can be a challenge, especially in difficult times.

The world is likely to try the best of both worlds. Many people understand that daily commuting, long hours of work, and excessive interpersonal interaction are futile.

We are seeing more and more people working hard to set rules and observe the discipline of working hours, rest periods, and completing tasks before deadlines. Many families now have designated work areas where members can work without interruption. This experiment is worthwhile. It provides an opportunity to question wasteful behavior. Some companies are beginning to wonder whether they are exaggerating the idea of ​​an office—its grandeur and cost—when people seem to be living well at home. Many parents worry about returning to work, and it is not yet known when the children will return to school.

This experiment may lead to a healthy combination of office and outdoor work. This may be a happy result because the family can manage their time better. Some jobs require personal presence in the workplace. It’s good to realize that most other tasks can be done effectively without being too picky about where to get things done. Freedom from commuting and long hours of fierce competition is good for all of us.

(The author is the chairman of the Investment Education and Learning Center.)

Click here to download ET Online’s Guide to Personal Finance in the Era of Covid-19


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