Apeejay People at Work From Home – Edition I

“Work is love made visible.” Voices arising from Apeejay in the first week of lock down show why Khalil Gibran was quite right! In the brick and mortar businesses of different industry verticals, while everyone has worked from home after office hours or weekends, absolutely nobody has ever routinely Worked From Home! They are all first time Work from Homers! In fact at Apeejay, new working arrangements had kicked in far ahead of the Janata Curfew & the 3 week lock down that’s underway. So a lot of Apeejay People were physical distancing from each other for longer than a week. Read on …

Apeejay Shipping is amongst India’s largest privately held shipping companies. Established in 1948 in response to the burgeoning opportunities of India’s post-independence economy, it has pioneered …….To Know more about Apeejay Shipping, Read Here. Let’s hear from the COO himself…

Captain R. Narsimhan , Chief Operating Officer, Apeejay Shipping.

To facilitate a smooth Work From Home process, we have created a robust IT system which takes care of all operational work ranging from purchase processes to handling ship and crew data, all of which have been made available on the Cloud, including our email facilities so that there won’t be any problem for anyone to work from their home. Everybody has been equipped with the necessary gadgets to process documents. The only instance where physical presence might be required is sending printouts to charters or to the mercantile department of the government or to the Directorate General of Shipping for which there will be some skeletal staff who will attend office on a rotational basis. In the shipping industry, we are literally working 24×7, no matter where we are. Here too, the same process will be followed. The only timing we need to coordinate are the banking hours. Meetings will be held regularly over SKYPE.

Apeejay Surrendra Management Services Private Limited is the Shared Services company of Apeejay Surrendra Group. Incorporated in 2000, Management Services owns the Apeejay Surrendra Brand and…..To know more about Apeejay Surrendra Management Services Read Here.Lets hear from the most crucial services in WFH mode General Manager IT , General Manager Corporate HRD, Deputy General Manager Finance and  Deputy General Manager – Legal & Secretarial

Joy Bagish, General Manager – Corporate IT

For us, Work From Home (WFH) starts from morning 9.30 am. We have created a WhatsApp group for IT team while on WFH where all have to put their attendance by 9.30 on this group. One of our team member records all IT issues reported via email / phone call and maintains an excel sheet which gets published in this group in intervals. My role is to see the list and put a priority to each support incident. After that, all calls are distributed to the team and each of them has to keep us updated on the status. In case of any issue faced by any member of the team, I get involved. Sometimes, I have to speak to HOD / Business head and provide necessary direction to the team. Managing Vessel on-board / tea garden IT support remotely while on WFH is a big challenge, but so far we are being able to provide timely support and are confident to continue.  My core responsibility is to maintain Data Centre services, like ensuring uptime of email, ERP of all units & web servers. While all users are working from home, network and data security is a concern and we are closely monitoring it. In my experience so far , one or two days is fine if anyone works WFH, but over a longer period if organizations are working from home then it becomes a big challenge!  I am proud of my team who have taken this challenge and so far, I am extremely happy to see their effort to make it success. Clear instructions have given to the team that this is the time to prove capability of IT team and their contribution to the businesses. All are being supportive to others, no one is trying to prove that he is the best. If anyone is taking time to solve an issue then the other is stepping him to help him immediately.

Ramakrishn Ghosh, General Manager, Corporate HRD

We have created a Work From Home structure wherein most of the HR functions can be dealt from home. In fact, the role of an HR person being more of a facilitator, work can be done from anywhere except in case of crisis situations or when someone wants to speak directly over an issue. For that, we will be available on phone and mails throughout during WFM. We have also created a Quick Response Team comprising Business Heads, Functional Heads, HR Spokes, IT and Insurance to address emergency situations. For hiring related work like personal interviews, we will conduct them over SKYPE. The only time when physical presence at office will be required is during the on-boarding process when one joins an organization which can be done through a rotational staff management at the office. All other meetings will be held through video conferencing.

Moon Moon Seal, Deputy General Manager, Finance

“We have a robust system in place for the entire finance department, so anyone can login and get the work done one just need a laptop or a smartphones. We have created a roster for senior executives. We belong to a digital era where by using smartphones, making payments or sending bills has become extremely easy. So, we are fully equipped to combat any difficulties which may arise. We are grateful to the organization for taking such a step to ensure the safety of the employees despite most of our businesses being B2B and service oriented.”

Dipanwita Gupta, Deputy General Manager – Legal & Secretarial

“Presently, courts are closed. So litigation matters are under control and not much can be done. But for non-litigation issues, which are majorly documenting work, we have a system in place using which we can work from home. In fact, it needs a lot of concentration, research and reading and Work From Home helps in boosting the productivity more provided we have a separate work space!”

Legal and Finance

Apeejay Infralogistics has built and operates state of the art Logistics parks with multifunctional activities Container Freight Station and Inland Container Depot, Warehousing….To know more about Apeejay Infralogistics Read Here. Lets hear from the COO of Apeejay Infralogistics

“In a business such as ours which deals with a lot vendors every day, a 100% Work From Home will not be possible as there will need to be someone at our Logistics parks to manage operations. Keeping the well-being of our employees in mind and ensuring that utmost care is taken of our employees, we have planned a rotational approach to WFH so that our operations are seamlessly synchronized. We will be using SKYPE to connect face-to-face with our partners and customers, hold meetings with our team members and do conference calls as and when required. We have equipped our people with necessary IT support so that they can conduct these operations from their homes.”

Rajiv Ranjan Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Apeejay Infralogistics

Apeejay Real Estate (ARE) manages Group’s commercial, residential, educational, retail, mixed use properties, fully furnished serviced offices, furnished apartments, co-working, warehousing and industrial spaces in 7 states and 8 cities of India through three company divisions – Commercial Property Leasing & Management ; Business Centres ; Warehousing & Industrial Parks. Read More Lets hear from the CEO Apeejay Real Estate

We are in a service industry we need to have people on the ground to provide basic support and manage infrastructures like back offices and front offices, so we have created a roster be it warehousing and Co-working space Apeejay Business Centre. In co-working space even if one client comes we need to keep the infrastructure. Like Apeejay Business Centre, Mumbai has a state government office which will be operational in this time so we have a team on standby. The finance team have a system in place and can WFH. Incase of urgent cases we are equipped on standby can manage the situation. The Group has announced WFH well ahead and this initiative of the organization was commendable now looking at it in hindsight. Now that the country is under lockdown and this WFH is applicable for many more weeks, it is our time to support the business to the best of our abilities.”

Shouvik Mandal, Chief Executive Officer, Apeejay Real Estate

Apeejay Tea is amongst India’s oldest and 3rd largest tea producer. It has 17 tea estates in the prime tea growing areas of ……..To Know more about Apeejay Tea Read Here . Lets hear from Advisor Operations and the General Manager Finance

Rajeev Mehrotra, Advisor – Operations, Apeejay Tea

It is not much of a difference for office work related to mails and documents you need a laptop and internet connection, which we have a system in place, that way we are robust but for Tea Industry main work is on the field and factory so it is indeed a challenging situation. All the managers are on standby for any emergency issue. We are keep a thorough check about the hygiene and regular awareness is being done through posters and announcement in a routine basis. I am keeping a close check on the field where we need support from my team members and if required will work in a roster. I am glad that the management has taken the decision and our awareness campaign started long back.

“Operations of the tea estates are strictly monitored by our estate mangers as providing basic hygiene related materials is necessary.  The plucking are/were being constantly monitored …even during weighing we are/were maintaining the social distance and keeping to all the precautionary measures. For the back office work we have a system in place even the digital signature is majorly used. Since most of the payments method are digitalized we can fully work from home. To get used of the system we have created a roster in place so for any relevant documents we have teams in standby and the whole team can work from home”

Kaushik Sengupta, General Manager – Finance, Apeejay Tea

The Apeejay Institute of Hospitality is located at CBD Belapur sharing premises with The Park Navi Mumbai. The institute offers a 3 years Bachelor’s Degree programme in Hospitality Studies….To know more about Apeejay Institute of Hospitality Read Here Lets hear from the Principal, Apeejay Institute of Hospitality and Professor & HOD – Accommodations.

Bhuvan Gujjar, Principal, Apeejay Institute of Hospitality (AIH)

AIH is very clear that students should receive the best quality inputs. We have introduced lecture sessions through Skype, wherein 50 students can log in at a time. Skype sessions were part of guest speaker sessions at AIH and now extended to regular classes as well. Internal assessments are online. Students are encouraged to research and write in an A4 sheet of paper and submit scanned copy by email to their faculty members. The feedback received by the learner is through email. The assessment tests are conducted through the Classmarker tool. The link is shared with the learner through Whatsapp or email. This is a timebound test to eliminate copying. The Learner is encouraged to connect with their faculty members through telephone or video calling for discussions and clarifications. We have shared previous years’ question papers for them to solve during their ” Stay at Home” phase. This will help them to prepare well for their final and semester examinations.  The faculty members are advised to enroll for online MOOC courses ( Massive Open and Online Courses) with Udemy, Coursera, edX and many other options that are currently available for their constant up-gradation. Also, faculty members are engaged in upgrading modules content, involved in research, publications. reading and writing. Traditionally, the Education Sector has been a brick and mortar sector. In the last decade, internet penetration has facilitated online learning options. Today, the Millennial  and the Faculty members are well equipped and infrastructure is very conducive to foster online teaching-learning.

Laxmi Todiwan, Professor & HOD – Accommodations, Apeejay Institute of Hospitality

For a profession like mine, Work From Home is a completely new ball game. At Apeejay Institute of Hospitality (AIH), thankfully, we are at a juncture where most of the teaching part has been completed, with assessment, journal certification and revision currently going on. Hence, we didn’t miss much teaching classes as a result of the lock down and are gearing up for practical exams of Sem VI students. As a practice at AIH, we have been using online tools for sharing notes and assessments since our inception. These have come in very handy now. The faculty is using SKYPE, which we earlier used for guest lectures, as regular mode of teaching through which 50 students can be addressed at a time. We use tools like Class Marker for assessment of a student’s work. Students scan their assignments and send them to us for assessment via email. Counselling is being handled through SKYPE and video-call. Faculties have been advised to take up online courses, create new training programmes, write research papers, work on student assignments and handle any counselling or assistance that the students may require and be available on phone and emails for office communication. In fact, our Principal Mr. Bhuvan and I have started working on a research on ‘Remote Teaching and Learning Options for Hotel Management Faculty and Students’. I am deeply grateful to our organization for standing by us in this time of need and taking care of our people.

Typhoo was the first branded ready packaged tea in 1903, when a Birmingham grocer John Sumner developed and sold a blend of tea in his shop. Typhoo in India began its journey in 2009, bringing in the 117 years heritage of the iconic British brand Typhoo, ……To Know more about Typhoo India Read Here . Lets hear from the Business Head of Typhoo India and the Marketing Head.

“The situation is extremely challenging for FMCG products especially which fall into non-essential categories like Tea Bags. The entire team is working extremely aggressively to bring innovation in the marketing strategy ad staying relevant.  We all are working from home but we are continuing to take orders from distributors where demand is more and ensuring the delivery reaches to area. The team is in regular touch using the technologies like Skype, Whats App and definitely calls. We have a robust marketing campaign online planned during this period, certainly one cannot aim to sell products in the present circumstances but can be catalyst to remind small essential things to the consumers and create more health awareness.”

Subrata Mukherji, Business Head, Typhoo India

“One cannot deny that work from home needs a lot of self-discipline and self-orientation. Productivity can be both in office and at home it is all about the mind-set but yes I am extremely thankful to the organization and took the call at the right time. Since we already have a system in place the team is now getting used to of the processes. The entire team is focused for next year planning so we are ahead of the curve and ensure we combat this challenge and make the best use of our strategies and abilities. It is actually the time where company needs our maximum support to continue the business as per market standards”

Neha Dagar, Manager – Marketing, Typhoo India

Chandi Agarwal, DGM- South and West, Typhoo India

“Work from home is no more option now but a compulsion for all of us now. I am grateful that the organization has steps well ahead of the lockdown so our team could take necessary steps and make arrangements. This is a testing time, be it for a business or for an individual. Two things I am certain besides economic depression, we all will push our limits to upskill or perform innovatively to get the business going or we will fail to cope with the challenges. I have taken it as a challenge to push my limits and i have shared my views with the team that our best effort has to come now. I always believe crisis comes to teach us something. Our team is in regular touch and have been ensuring ordered products reaches to the stores and hypermarkets and I am calling all my team members regularly and we share daily updates about how our goods are moving.”

Apeejay Insurance Broking Services incorporated in 2004 are experts in Underwriting – including commerciality, coverage and responsiveness; Policy Administration….To Know more about the Apeejay Insurance Broking Services Read Here. Lets hear from the Principal Officer, Apeejay Insurance Broking Services

Sipra Jana, Principal Officer, Apeejay Insurance

We have a system in place to manage all the insurance and mediclaim related issues. Beside this all the team members are on standby for any emergency calls. We are so used to of the office infrastructure and corporate set up that we still are in the mode of making our statutory calls, meetings etc. Infact I found with my team that working from home needs a serious discipline so to maintain that we are doing Watsapp Video calls to resolve issues on a priority basis.  

Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels are pioneers of luxury Boutique hotels for over 50 years. The Park is present in India’s major cities and tourist destinations. Each hotel is…..To Know more about THE Park Hotels Read Here. Lets hear from the Public Relations Directors from Mumbai and Chennai Park Hotels.

Sarah Stephanos, Director – Public Relations, The Park Hotels, Mumbai Area

“WFH is very productive with strong communication with our teams and management through virtual tools and those that are face to face and instant like Video calls. In this case, out of sight is not out of mind but with high spirits we continue to work together. I can say with pride that I am part of a company that Cares and puts its People First! In Mumbai the minute things were about to take a turn, we were asked to work from home for our own safety.” 

“Embracing a routine has helped me work more effectively at home. While there are teething issues of working at home starting with undisturbed internet access to distractions of news and family members who are at home all at the same time ( an otherwise unusual phenomenon) making sure I have a routine, has made working at home more structured. This structure has helped me to dedicate different parts of my day to different things including monitoring media for all updates, designing of communication for the hotel for public information, closely tracking and responding to guest feedback received across online and social media platforms and updating the Unit Head on the same. Working at home also allows me to make time to help with household chores during flexible timings, dedicated time for fitness twice a day at home and much more that I might not always have the luxury of during a usual working day schedule.”

Darshini Ashok, Director – Public Relations, The Park Chennai


!!! !!! !!! COME BACK ON APRIL 1 !! !!! !!!


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