At the beginning of 2020, I had recently transitioned from design to writing as a full-time career. I was soaking up all the exciting work coming my way. Fast forward to the end of 2020, I feel fortunate to have survived the year with a few brownie points such as having spent quality time with family, friends, and having taken care of myself.
It is definitely not a year that one can forget. The year tested our limits and pushed us all to be better and stronger than before. The most important being – identifying what matters most. On personal as well as professional front.
Lockdown diaries: YUJ
YUJ Designs always took pride in being a people-first company. Around the time when it was clear a lockdown was imperative, the company took extensive measures to assess the possibility of remote work. The employees were given all the possible infrastructure support to make their transition to work from home smoother.
It is no secret that businesses embracing people-first thinking have done well in the past. These businesses encourage individuals to improve performances, yet contribute to highly productive and collaborative teams. YUJ management saw the opportunity to improve the health and performance of the teams during the lockdown.
A culture of optimism:
Continually hosting weekly yoga sessions virtually to maintain a sense of routine, at the same time emphasizing the employee’s well-being. The company also arranged holistic mental-health sessions by renowned psychologists to help understand and cope better with the situation.
A culture of freedom:
Considering the unique difficulties that the employees faced, YUJ encouraged flexible working hours. The management nudged us to own the projects and define the individual focus time for a more focused output and also to put a limit on the number of time employees spend in meetings.
A culture of creativity:
A culture where each individual is respected and can contribute to the ideas that will make difference to the company. Authentic Ideas were always welcome and our leaders were available to the employees just a call away. The culture encouraged employees to make mistakes faster and learn from those. This purpose-led experimentation gave an immense boost to the employees’ confidence levels.
We’re nearly a year into being locked down and distributed work teams are becoming more permanent. Though remote UX isn’t all that new to YUJ Designs, working with remote teams on this large a scale was a big task. The work of management and support staff played a crucial role in the functioning of a company.
YUJ Designs built practices and policies around the distributed teams. Keeping the employees at the center, and their well-being in order to create a safer and stable environment for them. Announcements from the leaders of no-layoffs during COVID, paying employees allowances for their personal infrastructure being used for work were among the many provisions made for the employees.
YUJ: the first choice company
At YUJ Designs, it is not just about making the workplace great though. YUJ focuses on the progression and planning of every individual, every employee and gives them all the opportunities to step up the ladder and perform to the best of his/her potential. These are the beliefs that gave birth to programs such as S.L.A.Y. – A program to build the next generation of leaders.
YUJ: the strength of a diverse team
Striving to increase workplace diversity is another agenda YUJ Designs has focused on throughout the year. And it has proved to be a brilliant decision. Currently, we have grown from being a 60-people company to a 120+ people company, and that too during the most difficult year. In addition to that, the employees have joined the workforce from Ladakh to Tamilnadu!
It is essential to shift your perspective and seek to come out on top when caught in such situations. YUJ did exactly that. By spotting opportunities created because of the lockdown, YUJ focused on getting more diverse talent on the team.
Interesting Conversations: tête-à-têtes with leaders
When it comes to giving back to society, starting a dialogue within the design community – YUJ was the frontrunner. From conducting webinars with eminent experts of various industries, discussing the value of design, what the pandemic industry means for the design industry, etc.
The chance to attend these conversations gave an excellent opportunity to all the design enthusiasts to update their knowledge and building creativity in the teams.
UXplorer 2020: Design for resilience
The pandemic has been difficult for all of us as employees, as a part of communities. The question we need to ask ourselves is, how much does this change what we know of ourselves, our priorities, and our society? And how might we as designers address that to make a difference?
YUJ Designs encouraged young designers by asking them to design for resilience. The annual UX design competition held for the design students raised the topic to encourage the flow of ideas towards solving the most relevant of the problems.
The year of reflections
While this past year has been challenging, I feel we’ve grown closer in 2020 than ever before. We have re-imagined our lives for the better. This is the moment to reflect on the future. And ask ourselves, what do we want to emerge as from these difficult times? And more importantly, how do you define success? How does your organization define success?
Onward to 2021, one thing is sure, there’s no going back only moving forward!