Nasima is an employee of a hotel management company based in Dhaka. She was planning to use the bonus from Eid Ul-Fitr to pay off debts but the current crisis stopped that from happening as her bonus was cancelled. On top of that, her workplace threatened to slash 30 percent of her salary.
Besides having trouble coping with "work from home" policies, Nasima also has to cope up with other new changes at her workplace. The built-up stress takes a serious toll on her mental health. However, she is still optimistic about the situation as the financial struggle will not last forever.
For most service holders, retaining a job is more important now as a means of survival. Hence, rather than complaining and thinking about larger prospects like promotion and bonus, Nasima is satisfied with one small win - she has her job.
Like Nasima, thousands of people in Bangladesh are facing lay-off. The unemployment rate also increased in the nation. Many of the organizations closed their recruitment process for the time being. Even expatriates are losing their jobs. Recently nearly 10,000 Bangladeshis have lost their jobs in Bahrain. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the economic and labour crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic can increase global unemployment by almost 25 million.
Covid-19 has hit the employment sector of Bangladesh hardest. And globally, the pandemic is spinning the sector into a downward spiral. People are losing their jobs everyday as companies are laying off their employees to reduce costs while most are not hiring - expanding the existing crisis in the employment sector. This has made survival the top priority for the employed ones.
Given the circumstance, the best way for business owners is to not react to enormous issues with bold moves, rather adopting a progressive, improvisational, and insistent way through 'small wins'. Even if the work condition is dissatisfactory, it is not the right time for aspiring big.
Success should be defined as a series of small wins which may seem unimportant at first but in the long run it will attract co-workers, restrain opponents, and lower resistance to consecutive proposals. Especially when it comes to leading change, less is more. Moreover, one cannot solve an issue unless it is figured out. Focusing on small wins can break down bigger goals into more feasible ones.
'Work from home' and 'social distancing' have become the buzzwords in the business landscape - creating stress as employees working from home are having difficulty to concentrate and brainstorm, and to resist old categories. It has become important to take small steps because it minimizes the possibility of mistakes, minimizing the consequence of a bigger loss.
Telecom companies are also dealing with unusual changes. Hasan Mahmud (alias), an employee of a telecom company, said, "The crisis is new to all of us. Everyone is learning to adapt as every day is a challenge. Considering this situation and uncertainty, focusing on short term plans with proper execution will help us to stay focused and achieve goals."
Celebrating small wins, whether personal or professional, is now more important than ever. It can help employees become less stressed and maintain mental wellbeing.
Managers can ensure that employees know just how small wins are contributing. During this time of heightened anxiety, it is important to approach employees with empathy. Being a senior officer, Mahmud said, "Our work environment has changed massively. Interaction with people has been restricted. Home office concepts dilute one's personal space with his work. So, as a team leader, it is important for me to communicate the priorities with my team properly."
"Team leaders need to appreciate the employees' struggles to make ends meet, alongside appreciating daily achievements," Mahmud added. Highlighting team deliverables and its impact on businesses can impact a team positively.
Covid-19 is revealing larger problems in the banking sector as well. Bank employees are suffering more in comparison as many banks threatened pay cuts. It is a blow to any employee, regardless of what one's expenses entail.
"The sudden pay cut has given rise to stress and impacted our lives. We still have to pay the same rent for our house and school fees for our children's online classes," a frustrated bank employee said. Amenities like Internet connectivity rates and call rates have also increased, he added.
"We have to spend more on transportation now due to social distancing measures, as we cannot take the bus and have to opt for private vehicles. Employees are risking their lives to attend office but they are not getting any protection from the banks. The cost of buying masks, hand sanitizers, hair and face protectors add to the expenses," the official said.
Saving a job and surviving has become more important than getting a promotion given the current situation. Another bank official said that having a job with a pay cut is better than losing a job. Companies globally are following the small win theory. "Focusing on the small wins brings forth big opportunities for the future," he added.
Students were not exempted from the situation. Classes, exams, and even graduation ceremonies have been upended. Because of the Covid-19 restrictions, many students have lost their part-time jobs, raising concerns as they are no longer financially independent.
Nonetheless, they can utilize the time and brush up their skills for a post-pandemic world through small goals - progressing every day toward bigger ones.
According to Roohi Huda, an assistant professor of the department of Humanities at BRAC University, "Students should take advantage of learning from the free courses offered online. Even the faculties are now learning to be more tech-savvy in order to teach during the pandemic."
"I feel that the best way students can prepare themselves for the post-pandemic world is by knowing that they can never take anything for granted and life as we know is susceptible to change at any time," Huda added.