Organization Development

Sep 10, 2022 6 min read

Organizational Culture and Covid-19: An employee’s perspective

Author holds a Masters in Business Administration from SCMHRD, Pune. She is currently working with the team handling SAP HCM at Corporate Information Systems at IndianOil Corporation Limited


COVID-19 had brought about a major upheaval in Organisational cultures across the globe. In this article, one has attempted to present an employee’s perspective of how she experienced Organisational adaptations during the pandemic.


Organisational Culture, as we understand it, is the expected way to behave within the organisation.

Undoubtedly, COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in tremendous and swift effects on workplace dynamics and corporate cultures across the globe.

Much has been written and is still under study regarding strategies for corporate resilience and ways to deal with such unprecedented situations.

This article is a personal perspective of how one experienced organisational adaptations during the pandemic.

The game plan apparently lay in the mnemonic itself:

  • Communication: With Covid-19 lockdown being imposed nationally, boundaries blurred between the time spans earmarked for personal chores and professional activities. There was more to be done for household care of family members, children, routine housework including cooking and cleaning.

In that stressful period, fraught with rumours and panic-mongering, the organisational leadership came up with communication – and a lot of it. Organization came out with verified, trustworthy and crisp nuggets of information. Regular online meetings were the call of the day. Managers communicated on both professional and personal fronts – leading with empathy.

This helped allay an overwhelming sense of alarm. The semblance of normalcy was slowly and surely brought back.

  • Open-mindedness: “Trust” being one of the pillars of IndianOil’s core values, this was an easily adopted move. For an Oil and Gas major with operations which can only be done physically, our leadership incorporated the concept of Work from Home in all the feasible arenas.

With employee health, safety and well-being being the key priority of our leaders, majority of junior executives in supporting departments, such as Information Systems, were permitted work from home facility. However, expectations were high from the IS department to provide the digital tools and facilities for our counterparts who were still out on the field. Many IT services and applications had to be rolled out, even while we were coping with a unique workplace dynamic – the demands were time-bound and of extreme urgency. Our managers responded with setting up the context and then gave us space and ownership of the jobs in hand. It was a feeling of being there - for each other and with each other.

  • Versatility: Working remotely was a new pattern. Yet, we took to it with panache. We were provided ample opportunities for upskilling and staying relevant. Online knowledge sessions were the order of the day. E-Learning portals were adopted. While the pandemic forced us to remain physically distant, the Organisation was taking innovative and contemporary methods to help us stay updated.

  • Interdependence: Collaboration was key. As we moved physically into silos, there seemed to be a conscious drive towards more collaborative and interdependent behaviour. Never had we been more available to colleagues - nearly round the clock. It appeared as if the team and the leadership was always with each other- at the mere touch of phone.

Not only did this drive timely completion of projects, it was infact needed for the mental well-being of each of the team members. We knew that we were in it together.

  • Digital Tools: Thanks to our visionary leadership, the Digital culture was hardly a new ballgame at IndianOil. With a devoted team of over 150 professionals at the Corporate level and more at Regions and Units, IndianOil has always been comfortable in the Information Technology arena. Modern, sophisticated and collaborative technologies such as video-conferencing, screen-sharing, digital shared file storage were made available to the business users. Infrastructural support thus facilitated our smooth transition to the “New normal” way of work.


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