Notes from a work-from-home CEO
Today we speak to the CEO of Unnati in order to get the inside gyan on how to be a work-from-home CEO.
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Today we have an expert’s suggestions on productively working from a home office. This compelling story belongs to Soumya Pattabisitaram, the CEO of Unnati.
Unnati, as some of you may know, is a 100% remote company with no physical office set up. Soumya was my manager when I joined and is now my ultimate reporting manager. I have been inspired by her work ethics from day one and hence I was really looking forward to speaking to her for this article. She is not only the CEO of the company but an amazing manager, mentor, and friend to all of us.
Here are a few excerpts from our conversation sharing her secret sauce to productivity.
Soumya was at a prominent position in an MNC when she decided to take a fairly long sabbatical post delivering her baby. But this break was not a full stop, rather it was a comma in her professional growth. She has been able to make a career for herself while working from home and has achieved a prized position in just 5 years. How?
Have Goal Clarity
Soumya places great emphasis on having clarity of goals. Right from making the decision to quit a thriving career after becoming a mother to choosing to work from home for spending quality time with her family; she was clear with what she wanted from life. “I want to be independent, have a career and also be there for my family,” she says. Clarity of goals led her to rise up to become a CEO from a front-line role in just five years of joining Unnati.
Every self-help article on work ethics will tell you to set boundaries; here’s how Soumya does it while working from home. “One of the biggest drawbacks of working from home are distractions. So, I organize my day and do not leave much leeway for unplanned work. All my household chores are over by 7 am hence my office work does not get interrupted,” says Soumya.
She not only respects her personal time but also of others. In fact, she is a boss who does not want employees to work after office hours. “Setting boundaries will push you to fully utilize time for completing tasks and also not allow work to eat into your personal space, she adds”
Make your word mean something
A lot of us make commitments frivolously but Soumya takes her work commitments very seriously. She says “When I make commitments then fulfilling it is my priority. I always assign extra time to each task so that I can be sure of completing it.” Even before becoming a CEO, Soumya had an excellent reputation with her clients because she made sure that her commitments were met. She is a strong advocate of biting only what you can chew because she understands the importance of keeping a commitment.
Open Channels of Communication
Be it the latest update, office gossip or any work-related information Soumya knows it all. She has open channels of communication across the organization and is a person who can be easily approached. She becomes an agony aunt, a personal advisor or a close confidant to anybody in the organization who needs her. And this is something I have personally experienced with her. Keeping open channels of communication has allowed her to build cross-functional relationships and be more effective at work. She is always on top of her game because she knows the best person to reach out to get the work done.
Soumya has a contagious positive energy that she manages to spread even when the entire team is remotely connected. On asking her what is the secret of her zing she responded with a quote “Love what you do and you will not regret a single day of work.”
Do you have any questions related to job search or career enhancement? Ask us here. Each month Akshay Datt, founder of Unnati, will mentor the jobseeker who poses the most interesting question.
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