Women of the Pandemic: Namita Thapar says it’s important we do not forget the lessons learnt
On International Women's Day, HerStory launched the Women of the Pandemic series to honour women who have inspired hope amidst the pandemic by sharing their experiences and learnings from this crisis in their own words. Here's Emcure Pharmaceuticals’ ED, Namita Thapar’s account.
COVID-19 turned every goal, timeline and many perceptions on their heads, made us press the pause button and rethink many of these so called milestones and beliefs.
The fear and paranoia we witnessed was like never before. For us in the pharmaceutical sector, being essential commodities, we were at our offices from Day 1 but it was most certainly a new world with new challenges.
These are some of my key learnings during the pandemic:
When you empower people, magic happens - Our Human Resources, IT teams were incredibly driven, committed and creative in how they managed to get people to work - at 80 percent capacity at factories as well as their homes. Our medical representatives went to thousands of doctors’ homes to deliver PPE kits and N95 masks at a time when there was an acute shortage of these items.
Never take anything for granted - Simple things we did like dine out, watch movies, shop, travel, spend hours with friends seemed like a luxur. We all are going through life overthinking and overworking and this phase made everyone take a step back, breathe, just enjoy and appreciate the little things in life. Many colleagues and friends have admitted that this was the best time of their lives so far - being at home, spending more time with family and doing all the things they had on their to-do list but never got around to.
The inherent goodness in people - Khalil Gibran said, a small act of kindness is worth more than the greatest intention. We saw so many common people with barely any resources come out to help others, whether it was getting groceries for the elderly living alone in their societies or making food packages for the suddenly unemployed. This period definitely made all of us a bit less cynical and more human.
On the work front, agility and digitisation were the buzzwords - People had to be creative, make quick calls and rely more on technology to get things done.
Unfortunately this phase was harder on working women than men as they had to deal with the additional burden of online learning for children, no house help and work timings getting blurred which caused not only a burden physical and mental health but also pushed many to withdraw from the workforce.
My 70-year-old father coming to office everyday was exemplary. I launched my talk show on women’s health ‘Uncondition Yourself’ in the midst of COVID-19 and it was truly touching to see doctors and women patients show up fearlessly for this cause.
As we prepare for a post-COVID world, it is important that we don’t forget the lessons learned, that we maintain the work-life balance, the agility and continue not taking things for granted.
Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan