The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown have changed how we work and live. Maybe forever. Many industries have shifted to remote working, offices are being reimagined, and the gig economy is becoming stronger. In the sixth of our interviews with Harappa faculty, we asked leadership coach and facilitator Joseph Jawahar how he has navigated the challenges thrown up by the lockdown and how his industry has dealt with the upheaval. Joseph, who has worked with Bank of America and Satyam Computer Service, spoke to the Curriculum team’s Sanjay Deshpande about how he hit the ground running and adapted to the changes.

Navigating The Lockdown With The Harappa Habits

To begin with, we asked Joseph which of the five Harappa Habits—Think, Solve, Communicate, Collaborate, Lead—he has relied on most in this lockdown. He said he believes all five Harappa Habits have been important during this period because they are interwoven. 

But he adopted the Lead habit first to come to grips with the situation—the lockdown, the economic downturn, and health and safety concerns. He used this habit to understand his deepest fears and identify his insecurities. He asked himself questions such as: Will my work suffer? Do we have enough food to last us? How safe are we? This helped him evaluate what was happening within and around him, and calmed him. 

Then he used the Think habit to think things through clearly, keeping biases and information accuracy in mind. After that, he used the Solve habit to problem-solve for the unique challenges he faced related to work and the home front. He then reached out to people to collaborate with them to come up with solutions. Finally, he communicated empathetically, with compassion and patience, keeping in mind that everyone is working with limited resources and new challenges.  

Adapting To Change Personally And Professionally

Adapting to change means building new habits and skills. We asked Joseph which skills he had adopted during the lockdown. He said he honed two skills he was already using earlier: his instructional design skills to deliver online training programs better and empathizing with his target audience.

We asked Joseph what were the most exciting professional and personal changes in this period. On the professional front, companies that conduct training are reaching out to him more to do them virtually and he’s excited that a lot of people who were earlier doing in-person training are moving online. But he’s choosing not to pack his days with work. 

As for working remotely, he was quite prepared and could hit the ground running because he had already been working from home for years. He’d been training online, so he has been comfortable with the larger transition to working from home. 

On the personal front, Joseph says that he and his family have been downsizing their lifestyle. They had started moving to minimalism a while ago and the lockdown has helped them close any remaining gaps. Joseph says that he now knows what is truly important and is able to discard what isn’t that important.

Industry Changes And Emerging Trends

With companies across sectors rethinking their way of working, we asked Joseph about the big changes his industry has undergone during the lockdown. He said the training, facilitation, and leadership development community is asking itself some hard questions, such as: How do we move from training in-person to online? How do we prepare our trainers to conduct sessions virtually? How do we build platforms and content that can be scaled?

He has seen several people from the industry reaching out to people who are doing this and learning from them. Another major trend has been the change in the content of leadership development sessions. Joseph said that a lot more importance is being given to meditation, mindfulness, resilience, and inner strength. He has also noticed that people are forming support groups and checking up on each other.  

The Future Of Work Post COVID-19

We asked Joseph how he sees the world of work changing in the near future. He expects three things: firstly, there will be a greater focus on productivity. People who play a cosmetic role or supervisory role might be at risk of losing their jobs. He believes that if a person cannot show how they will add value to the organization, it is unlikely they will be able to keep their job. 

Secondly, he predicts huge growth for people in the gig economy. It will no longer matter if one isn’t working in an office. People with expertise in one area will be able to extend their services to multiple organizations. Early movers will have the biggest advantage in the gig economy. 

Finally, he thinks that many employers will do away with large offices. They might keep small offices and let employees work remotely. A major cutting down on real estate expenses can be expected. The assumption in many roles and industries will be that as long as there is a good internet connection, people can work from anywhere in the world. 

Read the other blogs in this series here and here.

Talking about the Collaborate habit, you may want to check out the Managing Teamwork course from Harappa Education and learn to build great relationships at the workplace. Explore our Online Courses and begin your journey towards professional success. Explore topics such as What is Self Awareness, Charisma and Resilience Examples from our Harappa Diaries blog section and take charge of your growth.

Joseph Jawahar was interviewed by Sanjay Deshpande who is a Senior Specialist in the Curriculum Team at Harappa Education.

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