The year 2020 saw the whole world change completely. What seemed to start as a localized virus outbreak in China, soon burst into a full-fledged pandemic covering the whole world. No country was left unaffected – including ours. Within a few months, the whole country shut down completely. All businesses and organizations, both large and small, were left with little choice but to operate in a fully remote fashion. This new normal, of full and permanent work from home, seemed to become the new way that most organizations operate, especially in the information technology domain.
AAPNA Infotech, with its headquarters in the national capital Delhi, and presence across the US and Australia, did not remain unaffected. With a headcount of about 70+ employees, the majority of whom were based out of North India at the start of the pandemic, AAPNA had to quickly adapt to the sudden and massive changes forced by the fast-evolving Covid-19 situation in the country. When the pandemic began, AAPNA was growing steadily, with service offerings in enterprise software development on both Microsoft and Open-Source platforms catering to mortgage banking, finance, healthcare, and education domains. The company had also set up new teams across Mobility and IOT and was foraying into AI/ML by bringing on board fresh talent.
As the pandemic dug in for the long haul, and it started to appear that it would be quite some time for things to go back to how they were earlier, AAPNA, quickly embarked on a strategy to counter the changes brought about. As a first, the organization adopted the model of “permanent work from home”. This essentially erased all geographical barriers for existing team members – as well as for future potential candidates. No longer was it necessary for AAPNAites to “physically” attend office – even in the future – once things went back to the way they were before the virus struck. AAPNAites could work from their hometowns and be closer to their families like never earlier.
The organization embarked on a flurry of employee engagement activities, such as Coffee Chit Chat Sessions, Wow Wednesday, Fundoo Friday, Chit Chat sessions with the CEO, Fit to Fitness, Yoga sessions, Weekend Activities, Surprise gifts on birthdays and festivals, and many more. Combined with these, was launched a massive program, called IMPACT, to inculcate the values of a true commando – AAPNA’s USP. The program was launched for AAPNA Commandos to map, train, and evaluate themselves against the core tenets of a true commando. We successfully conducted sessions on the 6 attributes of IMPACT, a journey that will continue in the coming years. All these initiatives combined to offer a holistic balance between the personal and professional well-being of the team members. AAPNA felt it was a natural step forward to get its culture certified on the “Great Place to WorkTM” standard, with a score of 88%. This has positioned us strongly to be rated among the top 100 Best Places to Work 2020 – 2021. The company also invested in streamlining its operations and processes and got appraised at CMMi Level 3.
The organization realizes that though virtual is the new way to be, it is still important for teams and team members to continue to meet each other, whenever the opportunity presents itself. Over these past two years, the company has constantly endeavored to encourage physical meetings amongst team members. As a culmination and continuation of this, AAPNA has planned a grand 2-day extravaganza in Goa, to celebrate its 15th Annual Day. The celebrations, spread across the last weekend of April 2022, will see AAPNAites from all parts of the country descend on this tourist haven, and enjoy a heady mix of corporate events and fun bundled together.
As the whole of AAPNA eagerly awaits the “Magic in Goa” – which is how the Annual Day is being officially celebrated – it is but natural to be both cautious and hopeful at the same time. Cautious, for the pandemic is still ongoing, and a new variant or variants could dramatically change the present unlocking going all around. So, we need to still not let our guards down. Still, there is a lot of hope and optimism that we may be at the fag-end of last of the pandemic, and things will soon be much, much better.
We at AAPNA believe, no matter how the next weeks and months unfold, we are strongly placed to continue our journey of being a “smart virtual company” – one which is a remarkable “modern workplace” in the fullest sense!