Coronavirus has changed the perception of a normal work environment. Work from home was looked down upon but now, its the norm to stay. That’s not all; Coronavirus has also brought along 2 major banes –
1. Unemployment, with several companies cutting costs and loading multiple work roles on few people
2. Work pressure has increased tremendously; having to prove your work has taken us from 8 hours to 12 – 14 hours of work per day
But if there is something we can compare this coronavirus-led corporate situation with, it has to be a kitchen. Any kitchen – Indian, Mexican, American, etc.
Many of us might have brought a set of kitchen utensils at least once in the lifetime. They come various shapes and sizes and are made of even varied materials.
But we buy an iron or a nonstick frying pan to make flatbread, a glass bottle to store milk. We use spoons and spatula made of steel, yet we prefer large ceramic or plastic bottles and jars to store dry cereals.
Storing milk in iron vessel may not be the best or effective method, while using plastic spoons to stir hot food may be a little more tricky ( and harmful) than it looks.
Which means, we use specificity to drive our daily work.
Any company is like a kitchen. We have a hoard of utensils available in the market, but we choose only those that are conducive to our home. We remove and add appliances to add efficiency to our projects and multi task.
Why suddenly are we talking about utensils and vessels and coronavirus when you might have an investment presentation to work on? Read along and perhaps you may reconsider?
1. Upgrading the Appliances with Time
Back in the old days, our grandmothers used stone slabs and rollers to grind spices into a thick paste. Today, we use mixers to save time. Processes and it’s related teams are like these appliances that need to be added, upgraded, modified and sometimes removed. Not every household may need an oven, but a grinder? Definitely, yes! The kitchen owner needs to figure out this difference and add appliances (read software) to the automate one or many items on the menu.
2. Understanding and buying only required utensils for the kitchens
Whether a kitchen is designed for Indian food or Italian decides the course of action for the interiors and the equipment it needs. Like an Indian kitchen may not need an oven but definitely some finely ground spices. The goal of the company ultimately decides what utensils are needed and what appliances are useful for a cuisine.
3. What if a kitchen is needed for multiple cuisines?
Every restaurant has some specialty. It is equipped to work around the specialty – the rest of the cuisines follow. Likewise, the ancillary goals are supposed to aid that one goal every company has. You may prepare one cuisine and then another, but ultimately it’s that cuisine for which you have to draw in customers or change the palette of your family members.
4. Containers sized for storage of ingredients
We usually buy ingredients in lot and store them on the top or in the bottom of the kitchen and draw some out in small quantities for daily use. Ever seen using a spoon to add a pinch of salt from a Kg of it? No. We usually have around 50 g added to a sprinkler. In other situation, we don’t buy just 50 g of salt; we buy a kg and store for periodic use. That means every company must have experienced people that store knowledge ready to impart it to juniors, the sprinklers. Having a 15+ years of experience guy do an excel report might be menial and a waste of resource.
5. Using utensils beyond their capabilities
You cannot make a 5 kg of biryani in a 2 kg volume of wok. Nor can you add a steel vessel in a microwave. Don’t even think about heating glass on stove. That means you cannot expect an employee from Marketing to lead accounts or handle different roles within the same team. You can neither burden an employee with work beyond its capabilities and except him to deliver gold or not shudder under the pressure.
6. Overheating will ultimately kill the dish and ruin the vessel
The gas should be turned off once the food is cooked. You don’t leave it on simply because to avoid overcooking and burning the utensil. Which means pressuring an employee beyond the point of encouragement will either lead to a ruined project or a scarred employee. In the future, he will be scared to take up projects!
7. You cant add acid in a vessel on gas and expect it to not hurt!
Sounds ridiculous, I know. But office politics are exactly like an acid in a kitchen – unnecessary, but sometimes present. What happens? Vessels break, fire erupts in the kitchen, rendering it incapable of cooking any good food. During unneeded gossips and back biting, what do you think happens with them? Sadly, its the management who add to it and create issues. A good vessel will simply break – like a good employee will break and thank fully leave.
Our grandmothers’ well-maintained clay Mason jars lasted years. The old copper cups are more healthy than the newer ones. Stone grinders saw generations before disintegrating. If we maintain these appliances, oil them, use them efficiently, handle with care and respect them for what they are, they will respect us back and bless us with good food.
Your kitchen and your company is almost similar – management, leadership, encouragement, a positive attitude and the will to achieve your goal needs support and resources. Neither your kitchen nor your company will work without right automation or good employees. This is specially needed for Coronavirus has caused a lot of disruption in startups and SMEs.
In this tough situation of coronavirus, ease out the pressure from your teammates. Allow them leaves and let them spend time with their loved ones. Talk to them, see if they need anything – mentally, emotionally or financially. You might have to cut salaries, but maybe don’t take people off their jobs.
A small step today goes a huge way later.
This was my take on employers; I also have a similar piece on How different Employees are like Different Cars! Read that here!