I feel very proud and satisfied as I write to you for the last time as President of our illustrious Society. It is an honour and a privilege to have led the Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society during a memorable and unprecedented year. We continue to march ahead and strive to achieve greater heights of performance year after year by building on the excellent work done by all previous Presidents. The last three months have been challenging and unmatched for us in terms of conducting our normal activities of education, training and spreading knowledge. But we converted all the challenges that came our way into opportunities and continued with our endeavour of spreading knowledge with even more vigour and zeal.
I am happy to inform you that we quickly transited to an online platform and were able to reach a much wider audience and get high profile and knowledgeable speakers for the BCAS platform. All this was possible since there were no geographical restrictions. To our immense satisfaction, our internal assessment actually shows that we have been successful in delivering more man-hours of training by way of live attendance and follow-up hits on our YouTube channel. We managed to clock almost half of the man-hours of training (during the three months of lockdown) that we were usually clocking in an entire year through physical meetings. Things worked out best for us because we made the best of how things worked out. I expect this trend to continue for some more time yet and I thank all of you for supporting BCAS during these testing times. This success is only because of the faith and the patronage of all of you.
A balanced approach is required
It has been more than three months into the national lockdown and work from home (WFH) has caught the fancy of many, including some marquee IT and multinational companies. However, according to a reported survey, some of the employees want to get back to office. ‘The lack of human interaction is a problem – there’s something about face-to-face interaction that can’t be replaced.’ According to some HR professionals, there are groups of employees who enjoy working from the office and want to get back there. At the same time, there are several companies mulling the possibility of shifting to a complete WFH mode on a permanent basis. According to them, productivity has gone up and a lot of travel time is saved. But the question remains: does work from home really work? According to the survey, it is premature to conclude whether WFH has succeeded. The survey adds that social capital is missing and this is built by social interactions while working together and knowing co-workers well enough to establish a bond of human relationships and emotions.
Success is achieved by teamwork and because co- workers have known and have intimately interacted with each other for years. Banter over a cup of coffee during a break is very much part of team-building and camaraderie and this social capital is missing while working remotely from home. People will continue to work from home, but in my view if a balanced view is not taken, they will become robots lacking the all-important human touch. In time, fatigue will set in and productivity may actually come down in the longer run. So, at least till normalcy returns, we will have to adopt a hybrid or mixed model of WFH by allowing some people to choose their preferred option. However, follow-up with physical interactions (with all required safety norms) at regular intervals should be integrated into the work culture.
on 6th July, 2020 I complete my term as President of this esteemed institution and I bid farewell to all of you with a great sense of happiness, satisfaction and achievement. In the past twelve months I have tried to deliver my best to the Society and tried to strengthen its existing goodwill, brand value and reputation built over the years. During the year gone by, we strove to increase our reach by reaching out to a much wider range of constituents beyond our traditional cycle of influence. We tried out new formats for our educational events, invited trainers from across fields and from a cross-section of professional backgrounds and tried out new mediums of dissimilating knowledge. We also had focused events on specific sectors, emerging areas of practice and various non-technical but important areas of personal and professional development. Besides serving our members, organisationally also, the Society consolidated its position by various measures of financial prudence, cost savings and infrastructure building. We also worked earnestly to harness talent and build future leaders. At a personal level, this tenure as President helped me further to develop leadership skills and I have learnt how to handle different people and different situations more efficiently.
Finally, I wish incoming President Suhas Paranjpe and the new team all the very best for the coming year. I have no doubt that it will be full of events and innovative programmes.I am sure under his leadership our Society will successfully venture into uncharted territory while continuing to flourish in its traditional areas.
I started this journey with anxiety, not knowing how the year will pan out but I created some beautiful memories, made wonderful friends on the way and now I say good-bye and a big THANK YOU for all your love, support and affection.
With Best Regards,
CA. Manish Sampat