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Outlook India – 17-Jun-2021

Link to Article – Nishant Shah Shows The Way On Design And Adaptation Needs For Remote Work Transitions In A Tête-à-Tête With Us

The uniqueness of the expertise set developed by the firm is fascinating and apt for the times. We met with their Managing Partner, Mr. Nishant Shah

Big benefits await employers and employees in the near future. Remote work has gone from a ‘natural reaction’ in the pandemic times to a ‘natural preference’ for normal times.

But companies are finding that it’s not as easy as simply allowing some of the staff to work from home some of the time. Since companies initially moved to remote work in a hurry, old processes, policies, and expectations often cause issues. Since companies continue to pay for infrastructure existing before the pandemic, some want to revert to old ways to get around these issues. Plus, there is the fear that the forbearance from regulators because of the pandemic will not persist, and gaps will be costly.

That is where firms like Jackstien Practices & Consulting International come in. Jackstien Practices helps companies transition holistically to remote work, reducing cost and risks while increasing profitability and employee retention.

The uniqueness of the expertise set developed by the firm is fascinating and apt for the times. We met with their Managing Partner, Mr. Nishant Shah.

What are some of the variables that a company /normal onlooker would overlook when switching to a remote work model but Jackstien Practices would not?

Some companies have adapted well to using newer technologies, but many aspects are typically missed.

A few of many such aspects that we look into are (a) mix and sustainability of technologies (b) comprehensive organizational framework that accounts for legal, regulatory and statutory issues (c) redesign of processes to suit remote work (d) re-adapting, training and sensitizing people to the new environment (e) an enabling framework to promote collaboration and teamwork in remote environments (f) hardware procurement policies and strategies that are cost, risk, security and taxation friendly

Don’t companies normally adopt a ‘Bring Your Own Device’ policy?

Businesses opting for a use-your-own-device policy typically need to accept the security and productivity risks that come with it. Many businesses, especially in regulated or sensitive areas, don’t accept these risks and instead provide secure, fully managed devices to the employees. These tend to be costly and lead to massively wasted capacity at the same time. In essence, profitability or utility or security is sacrificed at the altar of practicality.

Over time, these costs add up and will start hurting in an industry that will be used to a lower cost base. As we have repeatedly seen, shareholders eventually reward the companies that have shown high levels of cost sensitivity.

Jackstien Practices works in all these elements so that employers and employees get the best of both worlds in terms of cost, utility and productivity.

How is taxation affected?

Since internal policies and controls, employment contracts, expense management policies and procurement policies aren’t geared appropriately, large chunks of legitimate tax benefits are lost by one or both parties in the process. Jackstien Practices restructures and streamlines these aspects.

Can you talk a bit more about the legal, regulatory and statutory aspects?

Regulators and statutory authorities like RBI, SEBI, local municipal corporations and labour law authorities will start reviewing every aspect in the future to ensure that gaps don’t creep into compliance requirements because of the shift to remote work.

For example, think for a moment about locational regulations and controls of RBI and SEBI, shops & establishment licenses of local municipal corporations or labour law compliances of staff working remotely.

Can you expand on the processes and people areas?

Many processes were initially designed for cross-desk environments and even remained manual. Jackstien Practices redesigns whole or part of these processes to suit them to Remote Work, including digitizing or automating certain aspects.

On the people front, while there is incredible flexibility, work-life balance and health benefits, sometimes discipline and professionalism are negatively affected. People also miss the human connection. Businesses, too, need that team spirit for creative thought and collaborative tasks.

Jackstien Practices has designed detailed and scientifically driven change management programs to train and adapt people to the new normal. At the same time, we also structure programs and training to ensure that the human element and team spirit is retained and becomes stronger than ever. We even structure in need for the all-too-important random chance interactions.

Given the extensive remit, how do Jackstien Practices coordinate the transition?

We map and plan transitions over the period of a few weeks to a few months, including dry runs and parallel runs. The transition plan itself is based on the size, preferences, cost structure and talent pool. Detailed transition plans are agreed upon with the senior management before we start the transition.

While we have multiple specialists, clients may also prefer their internal talent pool is integrated into every aspect of the transition.

I personally love the fitment and interplay of the many moving parts, so I remain a part of every transition, irrespective of size.

A senior banker from the complex global markets space, Mr. Nishant Shah has worked for more than two decades across multi-national banks, last at JPMorgan Chase, before taking over as Managing Partner of Jackstien Practices. A Chartered Accountant by education, he has won several prestigious awards during his career.

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