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Friday, May 18, 2012

Hartal and traffic free - work from home

Does your company allow you to work from home? Given the fact the spoilticians (spoilt politicians) are determined to make ‘hartal’ part and parcel of life in the country, may be human resource department in your company will need to review existing policies to encourage and allow employees to work from home if required. Other than hartals, think about the snarling traffic or even any emergency family issues which will require you to stay back at home. Rather than taking a day off or calling sick falsely, it would be nice if your company introduces flexible policies to accommodate familial and social realities. In the end of the day, what is more important is getting agreed outputs from employees as part of their job contract – physical presence in the office premises is required but the job should be done and can be done from any location, if technology, infrastructure and rules are in place. 

Working from home too much has its own risks – either you end up working too much as the boundaries between work and family life is blurred or you can totally become a scumbag and start misusing your flexible arrangements. Although one of the reasons I preferred to go to work in one of my jobs in Bangladesh as early in the morning as possible was due to the fact that there was a massive generator at work and it was all air-conditioned. So work or no work – I could stay away from the terrible Dhaka summer, nice and cosy in the office cabins – no power cuts, no heat and humidity. You can always argue that what is the point of staying at home and work via laptop/internet if there are so many powercuts, unreliable net connection and all the usual complains? Well, no easy response to this though, but there is for sure a trade off between travelling for 2 hours to reach work, wasting valuable economic times due to hartal – and staying at home to get the same jobs done via easy technologies – as and when required. HR managers welcome to shed some light on the topic.

Monday, May 7, 2012

তাক ধুম তাক ধুম বাজাও বাংলাদেশের ঢোল !

I had the great privilege of taking part in the recent Liveperson Aspire 2012 conference held in Vinopolis near London Bridge in London. In the agenda there was a music session in the end which didn’t leave much for imagination at first as I was thinking that this must be some sort of a live performance of some sort. From all my previous experiences of attending training sessions in Bangladesh and even in the UK – usually anything to do with music always ended up someone or some group of musicians performing live music, song etc. while the crowd mingled around. Sometimes they ended up taking group photos , dinner or heading straight to pub (in UK).

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Calling your community of customers

What do you call the community of customers who use your product and services? True that may be you can take a step back and ask yourself whether you nurture a community of customers in the first place or not, may be you are focusing so much on treating every customer as unique individuals that you are moving your sight away from the combined whole – a community. I think the trick lies in striking a balance so that your customers feel to be treated as a unique person with unique needs and requirements from your business but at the same time can feel part of a bigger community of users with whom they can share their experience of using your services and products.

I am sure you are aware that Lady Gaga fondly calls her fans and followers as ‘Little Monsters’ whereas Justin Bieber has labelled his army of mostly teenage girls as ‘Beliebers’. May be the kind of business you are in, you don’t need to label the community of your customers as anything at all. But do give it a thought whether it would make any business sense of branding the community of your loyal users with a name or identity with which they can easily connect to and more importantly feel very proud about it to the extent that they will happily share your business accolade to their peers, friends and families.

Again, if you are producing Pran products, don’t end up calling the community of consumers ‘Prani’, likewise don’t call all who subscribe to Grameenphone as ‘Grameen’ only – there is no harm to be creative and relevant. But yes, in my opinion I still call those who use Robi as Robiuls as I humbly don’t like the name for a telecom operator. Well again that is my personal and may be partial opinion. But coming back to the main proposition - try treating your customers as a community at times, then think of certain rituals that they can follow during certain times of the year and feel part of something bigger than their usual self.