Life is a wonderful and a blissful gift, yet it can be unpredictable and dynamic at times. The recent Covid episode that the world has witnessed is totally unprecedented and unexpected. This pandemic has affected people from all walks of life. We had to sadly witness many deaths of innocent people all over the world. The medical team has to be lauded for being selfless and putting their body on the line and bravely facing the pandemic for the sake of saving the lives of innocent affected people. The kind of message that nature is giving to us is that we need to be prepared and be ready with our true potential so that we survive among the fittest in difficult times.
Coming to our IT sector, before the Covid scenario, we have seen our IT parks being buzzed around by employees throughout the day. We see employees coming out of their ODC during break time just to hang out with their teammates over a cup of coffee or lunch and just to rewire themselves for another long hectic day of work. However this scenario has totally changed now and we have vacant scenes in the IT parks with employees locked in their homes away from their office and their team. The only way the employees communicate with each other is through the virtual world of Teams , Zoom , Webex etc.
On December 9th there was an article in Manorama Online about the increase in vacant office spaces in IT Parks of Kerala. It stated that around 79 companies in the IT Sector decided not to run their office spaces due to the effect of the pandemic and as a part of cost cutting measures thereby freeing up about 3.05 lakh sq ft space. There is a significant reduction in the employee count in the IT Parks and the flats and houses near to the IT parks which were given for rent has been vacated. The canteens, hotels, restaurants and other shops near to the IT parks are deeply affected by this reduction in their customer base and thereby a considerable loss of business.
During these work from home periods, if you talk to any random employee of an IT company they would say that their work has only increased being at home as they are locked most of the times at their homes and are expected to log in to their system without giving much reasons. The old style of human interaction among the team members during discussions, meetings etc has disappeared over the past 8 months and every interaction is now in a virtual manner. So we have seen some downsides of Covid 19 effect on our IT Industry. We have to understand that what has happened, has happened. We have to accept the situation that has occurred before us and think of a way to move forward. Even though there are downsides, I’m looking into this situation in a positive angle. I believe there is huge opportunity lying in there for the IT professionals and if we look into this situation seriously we can discover some huge opportunities of work and projects coming our way.
Ever since the lockdown started I started using Facebook and other social media apps more frequently. Before this pandemic situation I hardly get any time to spend any time in social media . I used to go to office in the morning at around 10am and reach back home in the evening by around 8pm. Spending some time with my 4 year old is very much fun always but during this lockdown I feel that I got more time to be with my daughter , my family , myself, my mobile and for my project work. If you observe in Social media apps like Facebook or Instagram, on a daily basis you would see huge amounts of messages coming from Technical Groups , Individual Techies , Life coaches , Healers etc. Digital Marketing space has seen a great boom nowadays. If you have a skill and expertise and if you are able to market your skills in a better way then you are needed in the Digital space. There are lots of people in a confused state during the pandemic time. They lack the basic knowledge of how to move ahead with their lives in this so called tough situation. They need some helping hand in one or more aspect of their lives. As an IT Professional, would you stay away from social media Ads which promises that you would get to become a complete IT Professional with a cost of mere hundreds of rupees? Another common social media Ad which cannot be ignored is something which promises you with all sorts of mental, physical and emotional wellbeing to your life and also effective ways to discover your inner self to weed away all sorts of physical and mental illnesses. Imagine if 100s of people join such courses then this would create lot of business in the Online Digital Space. Intelligent business people are those who make the best use of technology in this Covid situation to reach out to the masses and enhance their business growth. These are some examples that I gave which shows that economy is still growing and Digital Marketing is booming currently and it is here to stay for some more time. The way in which people would do their business is now totally getting changed. Intelligent people are those who make use of the digital space to market their business in an effective way. Especially in the current scenario when you have many people glued to their mobile screens being at home, effective marketing strategy would see you reap gold.
There is a feeling among some of us that most of the people who brand themselves or their business products in the Internet are fake and cannot be trusted. There is very less truth to this nowadays as more and more professionals cannot conduct any classroom kind of sessions in public and so they use the power of the Internet to continue with their business operations. Moreover when these experts give an Ad in social media, they start off with minimal fees that are more reasonable to a common man than before. People join these courses thinking that such minimal fees wouldn’t be possible any other time in the future. Also the Ad would suggest something like – Hurry only few seats left !! This marketing tactic lures a customer to join immediately so that he or she is not left behind. If you have a website of your own or atleast a blog, a Youtube channel or a public page you can create useful content for the public and easily monitor the number of people visiting your page on a given day. Also there are ways to get the contacts of these people visiting your page by giving an Ad like subscribe for free Ebook etc. By this technique you would get the contacts of a list of people who have a similar interest. Similarly there are ways to improve the views and likes of your youtube videos by effective Ads. Managing, Controlling and Directing the traffic of the Internet users to specific pages or website are some of the intelligent ways a Digital expert can achieve and this lockdown time is the most favourable time to achieve all these things since there are many users hooked to the Internet these days.
Now let us come back to the health aspect of the employees in the IT sector. During the Pre Covid times you have employees gathering in their ODCs and interacting with their fellow employees on a frequent basis. During these interactions you might have noticed some of your mates catching cold or fever and it getting affected to the other team mates. Such incidents are common. Also during the daily travels to and from office you would never have seen any person driving a bike or a scooter wearing a mask. Have you ever imagined the volume of dust or pollutants that are consumed from the air by these travellers on a daily basis? Nowadays since most people are at their homes, chances of catching a cold or a fever or inhaling toxic pollutants from the air are a rare occurrence. Even if you look at the eating habits during pre lockdown, majority of the bachelors have their food from canteen or hotels on a daily basis. The quality of the food that is beings served in these outlets cannot be blindly trusted. Occasionally this can also give rise to stomach issues, acidity, food poisoning etc. During the lockdown times, since most of the employees are at their homes they can happily enjoy the home cooked food prepared by their mother or their wife. However on the negative side the amount of sunlight received by employees during lockdown would be less and this creates minor issues in the reduction of Vitamin D and B12 levels in the body of the employees. This however is a minor problem. You might have seen messages in Social media during lockdown days that says – “If you can’t go outside then go inside”. What this means is that this is the best time to start doing something for the growth of your inner self. Now if the question is what is meant by inner self then I would say that there is a whole lot of activities that are happening within our body. We generally don’t bother about how these inner activities are happening within us rather we focus more on our external movements of our body. How healthy we are , how efficiently we do our day to day tasks , how effectively we work, speak , walk , run and think all depends on the efficiency of the body mechanisms of our inner self. There are many ways by which we can raise the vibrations of our inner health to excel in every activity we do.
If we take a survey among the IT employees during pre lockdown, we would notice that atleast 70% of the employees do not exercise or involve in any physical activity. However, during the lockdown, there is a huge opportunity for the IT employees to make use of this work from home situation to exercise on a daily basis. Some of the valuable techniques that can be given to our inner self during these times are Exercises, Yoga , Pranayama , Meditation , Positive thinking, Affirmation, Visualization etc. If each one of us can utilize this opportunity to exercise for 1 hour daily then surely we can bring about a better version of ourself when the office resumes once again. Exercises are known to release lot of positive hormones in the body like Dopamine, Endorphins, Serotonin and Oxytocin which keeps us happy, motivated, stress free and relaxed always. Happiness and relaxation are some of the things that are missing at times in the IT industry especially when many employees are facing huge workloads and stress in their office. So this lockdown can positively help an employee to overcome such stress and other negative factors in a significant way. Other techniques like Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation also helps a person to be flexible, stress free, aware and enable energy to freely flow in the body without any energetic blocks. When the energy flows freely in the body, the cells in the body become active and start functioning smoothly. There is a smooth supply of oxygen and blood in the body in this case. The brain starts getting activated and starts functioning smoothly. This improves the overall health of the individual and thus the individual becomes free from any sort of diseases or illness. When an individual is able to remove all Physical, Mental and Emotional blocks that is when the person is said to be at his best and receptive to higher performance and happiness.
The Covid scenario hasn’t affected the IT Industry in a negative way as expected. A recent research report published by CII Talentonic HR Solutions has highlighted that reducing the head count or reducing/ postponing the salary of the employees were given a low priority when they released the actions to be taken to deal with the current crisis. However, as mentioned earlier, it did affect the non IT staff such as drivers, attendees, cleaners, security officers, canteen staff etc. Employees working on the technical side of IT need to be aware of the latest updates, releases and trends happening in the field of technology. The latest buzz in the Digital world is Cloud Computing, Machine Learning, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, IOT, Big Data, Automation, Digital Marketing etc. There is no shortage of technical jobs. It is only that the way the businesses functions are keeping on changing. Every company is looking for new innovative ideas to compete with other companies and be on top in the global market. This lockdown scenario is yet another opportunity for IT employees to reskill or upskill themselves from the comfort of sitting at their homes and get themselves prepared and ready to compete with the best in the industry. Taking up external certifications during this time would be very helpful to an IT Professional since it boosts the value of that person in the IT Industry. Sharpening the technical skills along with keeping a balanced mind and body would help an IT professional to bring out a better version of themselves in the post Covid scenario. The socializing factor in the IT environment has now reduced even though it still exists virtually in the social media platforms. Direct human interactions, physical meetups and discussions among colleagues have reduced considerably. Inspite of this the tasks are getting delivered as expected without much delay. This has build confidence and trust in the IT Management levels to allow employees to work remotely and independently. Also nowadays you can see many companies hiring employees on a Remote work option. This has ensured that remote global IT opportunities are also becoming available to global IT workforce irrespective of the location of the employee. This is very much encouraging to the amount of opportunities available in the IT sector. If you look at the perspective of the state of Kerala, we have seen many employees working in cities like Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad coming back to their homes in Kerala to work from home. This has started to improve the economy of Kerala state. Even there are many workers from the Gulf countries who have now come back to Kerala and have started setting up their own businesses. People who have left Kerala for better employment opportunities before, have now started realizing that Kerala is a favourable destination and has enough opportunities for all types of profession.
There is new hope coming to this world with the announcement of Pfizer and Sputnik V vaccines. We just have to be patient for few more months and continue to follow all the necessary rules and precautions given to us by the Health and Govt officials. This pandemic has definitely taught many lessons to millions regarding hygiene, awareness, alertness, discipline, health, confidence etc. Let us take all the positives that we learned in the last few months and move forward in the positive direction. The future is indeed bright for everyone going forward. For an IT professional, the coming months are very critical to keep a watch on their health aspects and also to reskill themselves with new technologies to be better prepared for the post Covid scenario.
Name : Deepak Devaraj
Company Name : Wipro Limited, Kochi