Amazon.com Inc today told the employees that they are welcome to work from home till Oct 2, if their role can be done effectively, from a remote location. It was confirmed by an Amazon spokesman via an emailed statement too, on Friday, with an addition that this was applicable to all such roles, globally.
The announcement comes at a time when everyone is still not sure about the duration of the pandemic, and are trying to figure out the best course of action for their professional as well as personal lives.
Amazon announced their earnings for Q1 2020 after the Stock markets closed yesterday, and surprised everyone by reporting a Revenue of $75.5 Billion with a net income of $2.5 Billion. The total revenue number beat the analysts expectations, however, the Net income and earnings per share (EPS) were much lower than expected. The EPS were reported at $5.01 – analysts expected this number to be around $6.25. The AMZN stock was down by 7% (at the time we checked) as a result of the miss.
The total revenue number is a result of the massive increase in demand which was also substantiated by the additional workforce hired by Amazon in Q1 2020 to keep up the pace on logistics.
The work from home announcement suggests Amazon leadership expects this situation to continue at least for the next 5 months, and are taking all measures possible to minimize the risk of their employees getting exposed to an infected person or substance.
If you don’t like this news, chances are you aren’t very comfortable working from home (apart from the bigger concern about the whole situation continuing till the end of Sep). You are also probably worried about how your organization will deal with the situation, and you may have to work from home for a longer period of time. My blogpost 8 Tips on Working From Home like a Pro was quite popular and received a lot of appreciation. Check that out, and if that helps you in any way – help spread the word.
Flying Away, Jugni
Please note that the comments above are my own perception of the whole situation and in no way quote anyone or indicate how things should turn out. I am equally devastated by the pandemic and the impact it has had on our lives, but I am trying my best to make sense of the news and prepare myself (and my followers) for the uncertain.
The title is exactly what this post is on – a dilemma in my mind about our lives, personal as well as professional lives becoming more unusual than it has been for the largest part of my life. Is this the new normal? Is this pandemic going to redefine the way business is conducted, offices are run, meetings are held, and work-life is balanced? I am definitely getting much more comfortable with this whole idea of staying in my pajamas all day, donning the most professional attire from waist up, working for more than 8 hours a day, and having as many fights as possible with my partner because hey, we need to keep things interesting. I’ll keep this post more geared towards the professional / work side of things, and share my perspective on things to come.
Remote communications tools are IN, baby : We’ve all realized it by now, and wished we had bought a few stocks for Zoom and Slack. They have seen a massive growth in the number of users and are ready to convert them into paying customers. Their shares have gone over the roof, and no-one really saw that coming. While the adoption is great, and businesses are opting for these comm products, I don’t think they are going back. They will be addicted to the ease and convenience of being able to meet / call / chat remotely and that will become the new way of working.
Work from Office : Yep, this isn’t a typo – you’ve probably never used this term before, but I feel this is going to become mainstream. Home will be the new workplace, and Work from Office will be an exception / special circumstance / need basis. Don’t agree? Imagine yourself running a business, and your employees are all working from home. If things are running smooth enough, people are putting in more hours with fewer distractions, virtual meetings are much more effective than you thought they would be, would you not be tempted to let things run like this and save a ton of money on office space?
Rise of co-working spaces? Building on the example shared above, You’ll probably want to cut down on the real estate, decor, furnishings, security and what not, and invest in adoption of technology – the ability to conduct business from no matter where you are. We’ve already heard news from TCS (one of the largest consultancy firms based out of India), shifting their focus on operating more virtually and maybe, remote project management. The need for setting up a whole new office would be minimized with the rise of co-working spaces (read WeWork) and businesses will be able to lease spaces for short term, come in, do their business and be gone. This could be a long shot but I sense this could be coming.
Digital Transformation: The macro situation has forced most of the businesses to really expedite their existing (if any) projects on the adoption of digital into their archaic business models. I think that is great, and will definitely give them the competitive edge in moving along with the consumer mindset and behavior (think retail industry), there still is a long way to go. However, with the refreshed understanding and realization of the importance of digital, I see it only one way – a victory for the consumers. In the end, it is the consumers who benefit the most from this whole change.
The ‘chips’ are down? Think again! : The whole situation is probably a dream come true for chipset makers, processors and companies powering the machines : computers, systems, consoles, data centers, and all cutting edge tech products powering the products used everyday by businesses and their employees. Think Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Qualcomm and imagine the surge in growth expected for their businesses, due to increased demands in server capacities, data centers, and well, computers / processors in general. I am personally very excited about this space.
I know there’s much more impact / changes expected in the post Covid Era, when businesses recover from the upcoming, likely recession. That will be the time to bring in optimized growth, which will come in efficiently scaling up the expenses focusing on double digit (or triple digits ROIs). Many measures mentioned above could be adopted for the same.
Let me thank our guest author Rohit Kapoor for contributing to this blogpost for me. I’ll try to bring him in for a few more. 🙂
The times are unprecedented, and we surely don’t need to get into the impact Covid-19 is going to have on everyone’s life. I mean every living soul around you, is affected. Your family, neighbours, your plumber, your favorite coffee-shop and cafe (had to mention cafe as coffee-shop has a completely different meaning in a city like Amsterdam), your favorite restaurant, your hair salon, your favorite clothing store, your favorite book shop and so many more. Did you realize that apart from your family and plumbers, everyone mentioned above represents a business; it could be a small mom-pop store, service, a small business and large corporations. Yes, businesses have been massively affected, and everyone is trying their best to survive, let alone grow, during this time.
Many of the folks reading this post, might be working for one of these small / large companies at a salaried job, and might be enjoying (?) the luxury / convenience of working from home. Yes, it is a luxury / convenience (ask those who still need to use public transport with many folks, and visit their offices simply because they can’t work from home). While many are quite comfortable working from home (ask introverts, they are having a time of their life right now), a lot of us find it challenging to adjust to this new working environment and give their 100% to the job which now needs them more than ever (and honestly, they need to job too, and really need to perform well to keep it). You’ve got family, pets, kids, patchy internet connection, make-shift work desk and chair, AND virtual meetings. It is not easy, we know it, we realize it. However, we’ve got to do it, and below I will try to summarize a few things which worked really well for me while working from home. Let’s face it, there’s no template for this, and depends a lot on individual situation but I do believe that someway these could be applicable to you. Do give these a read and share your comments / suggestions:
The Location : This is important. If you are still trying to find the best location in your house every morning, to set up your laptop and start working, chances are you will never be ‘settled’ in the new working environment. Don’t do that to yourself, find a nice, corner location where you can cut-off from household stuff and tell everyone (including yourself) that once you are there, it will be only work. Do yourself this favour and see how it changes everything.
The right tools : If you don’t have the right laptop, keyboard, display screen (if you need it), and a high-speed internet connection, fix it right away and get rid of this small, yet impactful problem which will not let you work effectively.
The Schedule : Be disciplined. Make a schedule and stick to it. Even if it means waking up and 830AM and being on your work chair by 9. Do it, and stick to it – it’ll give you the regularity you need, and something to already plan for (for the next day) when you go to sleep. You already know you can’t mess with your schedule and it goes a long way to ensure you are able to separate out work and household stuff.
Netflix is a curse in disguise: well, at least for me. When i try to work with my smart TV in the same room, I am never able to focus on my work. I am tempted to play ‘friends’ or some other favorite show on the TV, return to the desk and get on with it. NEVER the same. Do yourself this favor and avoid setting up your desk in the same room where your TV is set-up. It might save you from a lot of distractions.
Kids / Pets: Ok, this one is a tough. If you have young kids at home and / or a pet, life is not going to be easy. For them, mommy and daddy are home a lot more often and it couldn’t get cooler. They get to spend a lot more time with you and can’t leave you alone. What worked the best for me in such a scenario, is to adjust my schedule according to theirs. Yes, that means you may not end up working for just the 8 hours between 9am and 5pm, but 2 hour slots starting at 9am and ending at 9pm. That’s fine; don’t be harsh on yourself if you need to do that. your kids will always have a lunch time, playing time and nap time – that is your dream slot. Schedule your most important calls , meetings during these times when they are busy themselves. Rest of the day, work whenever you get the chance. All the best!
Spouse / Partner: This one could be a cakewalk for some but a real nasty one for others. Totally depending on the resources you have at hand, that includes things like the size of your house, kids / pet situation, internet connection (i have the 500MBPS connection and still struggle sometimes to have a video call at the same time as my spouse), a chair table situation (if you need to share the desk) and many other nuances. The most important piece of all the things is to plan a ‘manage the kids schedule’ amongst yourself – it is practically impossible to take care of your kids together, for the whole day, if both of you are working. Figure out what time slot works best for you, and / or for your partner, and make sure someone is always there for the kids. Or, if it is a possibility, now is the best time to call your / partner’s parents to watch the kids and spend more time with them. More often than not, grandparents just love that kind of an opportunity. If you haven’t already, clear all things out – get an alignment on things like: what are the most important meetings for you and what time do these happen, never stream Netflix or 4K videos on YouTube during office hours, who cooks lunch etc and / or the stepping out of the room situation whenever there’s an urgent call / meeting. Both should be okay doing that, in fact, this is the time to be more supportive (easier said than done, I know) than ever. You’ve overcome the worst of situations together, don’t let this one bog you down.
The Team: Depends on what kind of people you have working on the same team. Many of us have amazing people (in fact, friends now) working with us, but I’ve also heard many stories on how someone is a total douchebag and pollutes the whole working environment. one way or the other, follow the classic team work principles which ensure a great working environment. The most important one being communication – always be patient if people on your team are checking in with you a lot more than usual. They are not necessarily micro-managing. More pings with your team letting them know when you are stepping away for a quick bite, or anything else, does go a long way to ensure everyone knows what you are up to (same thing goes for others too). There is no such thing called over communication, and now is the time to believe in it. Being compassionate with your team members is an important one as well, remember, the times are tough for everyone, and if you aren’t affected that bad, doesn’t mean no one else is. Their situation might be completely different from yours (positive or negative) so always show some empathy, check in with how things are going and be okay with a couple of deadlines being missed. Again, in that case too, check with them if everything is alright and if they need help. Employees are the most valuable asset for any business, and they need to be shown how much you value them.
Common-Sense: Every other day, we are getting bombarded with videos on how someone didn’t mute their mic before screaming, burping, farting or just uttering random stuff, and experienced the embarrassment of their lifetime. I received a video WhatsApp yesterday, where a guy assumed his video was off (Or he forgot to do it) during a zoom meeting with his whole team (at least 12 folks). He gets up from his desk, and he is totally nude. yep, let that sink in. The whole team is closing their eyes in disgust, while he just nonchalantly walks around the room (or his den). I’ve been wondering the small talks / chats afterwards, teammates bringing it up casually mocking him on the calls after that, and what not. Please don’t let that happen to yourself. Wear proper attire while working from home, make sure your family knows you are about to get on a call so they know to ‘behave’ a little bit while walking around in the background (and that they are appropriately dressed too).
I hope these few nuggets are helpful for you guys to cope up better in these business as (un)usual circumstances. If you like the post, do let me know by hitting the thumbs up button or by leaving a comment. Better still, share it on social media. 🙂
Looking out for best anniversary gift ideas for your partner? I have a list of 5 best anniversary gifts I got from my partner, my Jugnu. 🙂
Swarovski – My partner is well aware of my taste and things I adore the most. He gifted me this amazing piece of jewellery, rhodium plated ring with a solitaire in the centre and cut diamond on the side. It was super romantic and sparkly and goes with your every kind of outfit.
Swarovski again – Yes, I am so much into jewellery that I got these amazing pair on bangles/bracelet which I wear with my traditional outfits and get loads of compliments. (Btw how do you like the Henna on my hand?) 🙂
2. Couple Body Massage – Do you like getting pampered? Do you like getting pampered romantically? If yes, this idea is for you. Wine, flowers, macrons, Jacuzzi and massage is everything I needed on my second anniversary. A 3.5 hour session of pampering will surely set your mood for a romantic date night.
3. A Romantic Vacation – My Jugnu surprised me with a luxury vacation at Cabo, Mexico. It had everything (all inclusive) included: the spa, the candle night dinner, photo session and a personal pool. You can read everything about it here: A luxury vacation.
4. Nespresso – I am a big time coffee lover like most of us and as they say, you can swear by Nespresso, I second that. Of course Nespresso is an expensive investment, but it is truly worth it. It reminds me every morning, how much he care about my wishes and lifestyle.
5. Beats Studio Wireless Over the Ear Headphones – My jugnu very well knows how to touch my heart and take my breathe away. Being a music lover, he knew how to impress me on our 4th anniversary. I couldn’t thank him enough. My ears touches my soul every-time I wear them.
I hope the above list gave you guys a few ideas to explore more than the cliches, and go a bit out of the box with the anniversary gifting ideas. There are a few more gifts I got like, Bose Headphones, beach vacation at Miami and a special Indian dinner cooked by him, so just go an extra mile to think what your loved one is fond of, and have always wanted. 🙂 Happy Gifting!
If you like the post, do let me know by hitting the thumbs up button or by leaving a comment. Better still, share it on social media. 🙂
Adding green in your home will not only bring colour to your life but will also brighten up energy and vibrations. It purifies air and help fight toxins, and yes they are an amazing interior decor pieces.
Of course it demands care, along with affection. Trust me, plants have such energy that they actually behave according to your mood and energy. The question arises how much care do they need? Do we have enough time and patience for the same?
I have a list of a few plants which demand very less care and can live, almost like forever as per their age.
Spider Plant – Jugni loves this plant the most because its super pet friendly (source – from internet). As the same says, spider plant gives a lil bit of jungle look to your house in a fancy way. They are perfect for windows. It is also an air purifying plant.
Care – requires sunlight. water them every 10 days.
Snake Plant – It’s one of my favourite indoor plant. It requires least attention and can grow by itself. It has sharp edges and add a lot of beauty. Snake Plant can filter toxins like benzene, xylene, toluene.
Care – let the soil dry before watering again. Jugni recommends it to water them every fortnight (2 weeks).
Aloe Vera – An indoor plant with maximum benefits including anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Simply cut it in any form and use the paste/gell for wounds, acne or any beautification purpose.
Care – requires least care, just place it and forget about it. The soil needs to be dry, so no water for a very long time.
Peace Lily – Lily talks to you. If you don’t talk to her, she’ll have an unhappy, sad smiley like leaves. And when you give her water, she will turn into a happy smily face. So yes this indoor plant requires moisture and it spreads happiness. It produces oxygen so it’s best suited for bedrooms.
Care – water them every 4 days. Best suited with cooler temperatures.
I hope adding a bit of green beauties to your house would change the entire feel, let me know if you find more of such amazing plants, would love to hear from you guys in the comment section below. 🙂