Thursday, June 17, 2021

Hospitality & Admin team: a Pandemic Samaritan

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By SK Nag

Covid forced all organizations to recognize the subtle role of their admin and hospitality teams who wish to support their employees during critical needs. The paradoxical appreciation pouring in from the rest of the organization during the pandemic second wave is commendable. The pandemic spread in the country resulted in companies losing their revenue, which led to the cost-cutting initiatives initially with this department. The pandemic slimmed the department’s size invisibly thin, keeping not enough workforce to support even remotely. This department tacitly goes into nonexistence mode. They are operating with their basic structure and maintaining non-operational assets silently to regain their existence gradually. Work from home has made them irrelevant.
Many companies have decided to maintain WFH 100% even in post-pandemic days giving them an opportunity to reinvent their cost of operation differently. Therefore the future structure and role of this admin & hospitality department are yet to be seen. How it will emerge differently is a matter of concern for a large workforce earning their bread and butter out of it.
This second wave of pandemic started infecting discriminatingly across the organizations in pan-India locations. Companies are now trying to reach out to their employees to protect them from the infection at any cost. Employees are battling for hospital beds, Oxygen cylinder, Remdesivir, Tocilizumab, and so on. The situation is pervasive for every organization. This struggle for existence will continue for how many days nobody knows. This time the wave has hit us so severely that companies are losing their young talents. Young populations with varied skill sets are the backbone of a country’s growth. A developing country can manage their development if they have a substantial number of young people. 75% of our total population is below 45 years, indicating our human resource potentials. This talent does not necessarily contribute to India alone. They cater across the globe. So insulating them from the pandemic is the need of the hour. However, the organization is trying to protect them using their respective establishment strength and hoping to come out of it soon.

Prediction by eminent scientists, statisticians have failed to provide any reasonable pattern that can fairly decide our future. The end of the tunnel is still not seen. Millions are getting infected in the middle-class population at the age bracket of bread earners for their families and companies too. Many promising talents and critical assets are being infected and pandemic taking away life due to overstressed health care systems due to delay in providing treatment.
Covid is a treatment of phases where the dose and medicines are different as the infection days progress. Therefore, close coordination with the local government body, hospital, ambulance, oxygen suppliers, and medicine shops makes the job multidimensional and challenging. All such medical emergency coordination requires many activities which are only manageable with outdoor spread work only. Remotely managing them is extremely difficult and challenging. Coordination over phone calls can ensure limited access to the hospitalization needs of the patients. In such a difficult situation, the companies rely primarily on their admin team to support their infected employees, taking lateral support from the HR team.
The typical setup of any admin team of an organization is outward-facing. They have a lot of control over the outside ecosystem due to their nature of dispensation. Their business transactions are third-party service provider dependent, and hence their outreach is more penetrative and practical than any other department in an organization. 

A few months before this department was looked down upon across the industry as a burden of cost rather than a necessity, Covid second wave proved them to be a department that cannot be done away with. They are slowly being recognized as pandemic Samaritan and frontline defence, compelling them to go beyond their respective call of duty.

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