An interview with Sanjeev Jha, Head of Operations at U-Solar Clean Energy

image

Q: Was working from home perceived as productive? How has this changed?

Working from home wasn’t unproductive, but it was definitely unplanned. Now we have a structure that tracks the work of our employees, which helps managers allocate specific tasks allowing a schedule for the team and each individual on it so that each day is planned in advance. This helps us know what tasks are completed and yet to be done based on the workload remaining. Allowing similar levels of transparency that we maintain at our office, where allocating and monitoring tasks is more open and accessible.

Q: How is productivity maintained at home? What can one practice for it?

It is all about discipline, how you approach your work. Maintaining a personal schedule for work by understanding how long it takes to do each task and following through by focusing on each of them based on priority. A lot of it is self-discipline in adopting the mindset that “I am still working, I can contribute”, as the work hasn’t stopped only now we do it from our homes. So if you were working at the office, the same tasks can be done at home – we have the infrastructure to do so. In case that is not possible due to the nature of work one can focus on R&D or learning.

Q: What techniques can be used to motivate teams? Considering the distance.

It is essential to maintain a healthy schedule for your work day. There are many webinars available at this time for learning and improvement. A lot of material is available online for research and development of skills and techniques. It is important for managers to plan for their teams time by including skill development during the work day/week. This is a practice we have introduced in all our teams and we hope to continue when the lockdown is lifted. R&D should become an essential part of the team’s goals, as it helps improve our understanding of technology and service.

Q: The projects have halted, so how is the entire Projects Operations team occupied?

The focus of our work for the Projects Operations team is to improve our Project Management skill-sets. This time allows us to hone in on important PM multitasking skills, through webinars and videos – how to manage large projects, how to track multiple tasks in parallel, how can we arrange procurement time. All of these tasks are being planned for our new projects while we are also learning how to do them better once project engineering activities begin. Currently, the Projects team is busy with planning for post lockdown work, to optimize our timelines.

Q: Has lockdown changed the perspective for remote work? How has it, elaborate?

Yes, (definite) it has changed. On the site level, obviously there has been a huge impact on the Projects teams work (since the majority of their workload is constructing a solar plant) but this has not been the same for our Project Managers who work from the office. The PMs have been busy with learning and planning, which can be done at home too for the future. By maintaining the same structure we have developed in order to optimize our timelines we can improve our project delivery, so working from home is productive in the end.