In a series of LinkedIn posts, Ducen founder, president, and CEO Vish Ramesh shares Ducen’s successful digital transformation in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. He attributes this success to the company’s recent shift to a results-oriented work environment (ROWE). ROWE is a modern people management strategy that empowers employees and focuses on results and output, rather than employees’ presence in the office or the number of hours they work.
The ROWE policy was implemented in the India office back in January 2020. The intention behind changing the way we work is to empower our people. Ducen is a collection of people with unique personalities, aspirations, and preferences, and so we undoubtedly have unique work habits as well.
With this new way of working, teams gathered to brainstorm optimal ways to structure a day to accomplish daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Employees started to work from their preferred locations during the hours they favored to maximize productivity, but all that quickly changed to working from home full-time due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Vish adds, “ROWE was essentially one of the final steps to digitally transforming Ducen, and this made the WFH transition [during the pandemic] a seamless process.”
Since lockdowns were announced, we were able to shift gears and continue business operations as-is. However, this endeavor was not without some challenges. In a span of just three days, the company was tasked with transitioning over 300 employees from 3 countries to remote work. Despite the flexibility provided by ROWE, there were still some difficulties in hardware, security, and connectivity.
Fortunately, the Ducen IT infrastructure team stepped up to the challenge. These IT heroes worked tirelessly to make the digital shift almost overnight, ensuring no downtime in operations. Some volunteers played a part as well, despite not having a lot of technical skills. It was definitely all-hands-on-deck for Ducen.
Because of the IT team’s efforts, a global rollout for the ROWE policy is made even more viable. “If anything, the lockdown has inadvertently fast-tracked the ROWE rollout for Ducen,” Ramesh said.
Working remotely 100% of the time
Ducen overall had a positive experience in digital transformation. Not only did the company avoid layoffs, but departments are continuing to recruit talent and expand their team.
In a survey conducted among Ducen employees, we had some interesting findings. Regarding the shift to remote work, 52% of employees were able to maintain their level of productivity, while 42% report a higher level of productivity at home. Employees are loving the freedom of working during their most productive hours of the day. What’s more, 99% of employees are happy with the full support they receive from their coworkers and managers during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, Ducen plans to address some of the challenges of working from home. The survey noted the top three challenges being employees’ (1) physical workspace, (2) internet connectivity, and (3) social isolation. Ducen is working towards eliminating these challenges as we prepare for the long haul, regardless of whether the lockdown is lifted in the coming weeks or not.
The lockdown has provided us with ample opportunities to identify what works and what doesn’t. Post-lockdown, majority of employees (31%) say they would prefer to work from home twice a week. Ducen will use the findings and insights gained during the pandemic to iron out issues and make ROWE a success.
In the meantime, we urge everyone to continue following the directives in your respective locations. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay home.