Mr Kaustubh Sonalkar joins panel discussion on ‘Work from home – the new reality to benefit topline and environment?’ at Moneycontrol’s Virtual Summit

Moneycontrol and Salesforce hosted India’s first large-scale Virtual Summit – ‘The Future of Indian Industry’- to discuss the new realities of the post Coronavirus world, and its impact on organisations and businesses. Mr Kaustubh Sonalkar, President Human Resource, Essar, and CEO – Essar Foundation, joined industry stalwarts on a panel discussion on ‘Work from Home – the new reality to benefit topline and environment?’.

The panel discussed about how Indian businesses will have to navigate in the post Covid-19 world with caution, and develop effective plans to ensure productivity while keeping in mind employee safety and well-being. Key discussion points included the future of remote working, employee wellbeing during WFH times, the immense potential of digitalisation as a tool to connect with employees, redesigning of co-working spaces and the enhanced importance of employee communication.

Mr Sonalkar shared a crystal ball view on the future of ‘Work from Home’, and its potential. He shared insights on how India Inc has opened up to the idea, especially since businesses had to transform to ensure business continuity during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many such organisations see the value in WFH and how it is leading to enhanced employee productivity, while helping employees strike a better work-life balance by operating from the comfort of their homes. He raised an important point on the economic value that WFH can add to organisations by opening up the talent pool sitting at home. Mr Sonalkar also mentioned that organisations in the essential services sector can learn from this experience and leverage technology to look at the possibility of having 25%-30% of staff working from home in the long run. Citing initiatives like Essar Learning TV and Essar Radio, Mr Sonalkar also stressed on the importance of technology mediums to engage with employees. But at the same time, he mentioned that technology can only be used as means and cannot be an end in itself. He also shared some enlightening words on the essence of leadership – true leaders are forged in crisis and it’s the trust, passion, emotion and connect that makes a leader more effective!

The insightful discussions threw light on the need to re-strategise operations, build digital capabilities and establish data culture to stabilise, re-open, engage, and grow.