Last week with the borders between Delhi and Gurgaon finally opening up, my driver Jagat, literally insisted on coming back to work, for at least a day. He has been with me for over 15 years now and is a part of the family. I tried my best to tell him that he did not need to come back right now, he tried his best to convince me that he needed to. He won. This is what I learnt, thanks to him.
The familiar has become unfamiliar. Jagat is allowed into our complex, but can no longer come up to our flat. I need to carry his water bottle, the car keys and anything else I want to give him, downstairs. He can no longer wash the car inside the compound, it has to be taken out onto the road. The drivers room is closed, so there is nowhere for him to wait. A host of new habits need to be built in before we move forward. His first day back and we found a few answers. I did not know or really think about any of this, till he arrived at my doorstep. His next visit I am sure will provide us with even more answers and soon a new routine will emerge. Thanks to him, I discovered that I need to rediscover every little thing about my routine.
This instance is just one example of why I believe it is so important to keep moving. If Jagat had not insisted on coming, I would not have called him. I do not want to put him or his family at risk. He seemed to feel the need to venture out and continue to deliver value. The few hours he spent at work clearly gave him satisfaction. I have not seen such a big smile from behind his ornate home-made mask in a long time.
“Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s back to work we go” Like the cheerful song that the seven dwarfs sing, it’s important to get back into the groove with the right attitude. So while it’s important to keep moving, I believe it’s equally important to move ahead with enthusiasm. Jagat came not because he had to, but because he wanted to. I told him that I was not going out anywhere, so there was no need to come. He insisted that the cars needed a good wash down and clean up. He wanted to check the tyre pressure and the battery condition. On and on he went, till I realised he really wanted to come to work.
I believe that as we find our way back to offices and other workplaces, it will take two hands to clap. Organisations will need to do everything in their power to provide a safe work environment and ecosystem of support. But it will be up to each employee to find the will to find their way back with positive energy and enthusiasm. This is not just about physically returning to work, it’s about seeking out opportunities, looking for new ways to add value, creating new offerings that serve customers. Finding a way to add value, online and offline. Moving forward, not because we have to but because we want to.
There will be fear. There will be anxiety. There will be difficulty. The antidote is going to be willpower and willingness to find new meaning in the ordinary. This is such a unique human gift. The ability to find meaning in what we do. To create the story in our head that helps us move forward. Every little thing is new and needs to be rediscovered. We need to see the world with fresh eyes and in doing so, make the ordinary, extraordinary.
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