A beacon of light amid a storm

Jitender Goel, Tenon World

The Challenge: My team was battered during the first wave of the pandemic. The shortage of support staff hit us pretty hard. Dealing with a large workforce spread across the country was a challenge. There were days when I was the only one from the team available to support the Field Team! Eventually, the virus got to me and my family. Staying in isolation, my wife and two kids had to bear the effects of Corona. High fever made it difficult to concentrate!

Story:

I started my work at Tenon in 2019. The pandemic wasn’t anywhere in sight. The biggest challenge at that time was the new IT support system installed. When I joined Tenon, the organization was in between the digitalization of all its manual processes. We are a small team, 5-6 IT support staff to manage over 50,000 security guards and 16,000 employees all over India. Despite the team size, we’ve had no issues with operations and providing support to our blue-collar employees. But the situation was tense at the height of the first wave of COVID.

Corporate life is not new to me. I’ve worked with several MNCs like Unilever, Coca-Cola, ITC, Ericsson, Canon, and many more. For IT guys the joke has always been – there is an in-time, but no out-time.

During the pandemic, Tenon had just rolled out its new digital application to capture the attendance of our blue-collar employees. Dealing with a large workforce spread across the country was a challenge. The team had to work in shifts for an entire month to remotely help with any issues that may crop up in the new application. We are part of essential services, managing the entire database of security guards across India. My work is highly demanding and involves round-the-clock facility management, with little respite. Work pressure was high as operations could not be stopped at any cost.

Unlike our first-line workers, we’ve had the privilege of working from home. Unfortunately, my team was battered during the first wave. The shortage of support staff hit us pretty hard. There were days when I was the only one from the team available to support the Field Team! Eventually, the virus got to me and my family. Staying in isolation, my wife and two kids had to bear the effects of the pandemic. High fever made it difficult to concentrate, but I pushed through. My day would usually start at 6 AM with a call from the field team for query resolutions and end at midnight, most days ending at 2 AM. On average, I would attend over 100 calls a day and be always present on WhatsApp or emails for everyone.

One might ask me, why push myself so much? I could’ve been selfish and thought about myself and stopped working when I was down with COVID. But would that solve the problem?

At the end of the day, I am not a selfish person. My work is my responsibility and a reflection of self-respect. Helping my colleagues across states, supporting them, and ensuring continuity of operations was critical – and the need of the hour.

Through all the challenges, my one constant has been my family. My small family endured the effects of Corona. They’ve seen me push through work pressure and be there for them when needed.

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