A Hybrid Work Environment Helps Us Blend The Best Of Both Worlds: Benori Knowledge

In an interview with Businessworld, Puja Gupta, Co-Founder and COO of Benori Knowledge, spoke about the new office space and the lessons she has learned from implementing a hybrid work model

After two years since the COVID-19 Pandemic disrupted routines across the world, offices are opening their doors again in an attempt to resume life as it was. However, the Pandemic has spurred a change in the usual Indian corporate dynamic: companies are now beginning to offer hybrid models that combine the benefits of working from home and working from the office. One of them being Benori Knowledge, a new-age provider of custom research and analytics solutions, that opened its new office in February 2022. In an interview with Businessworld, Puja Gupta, Co-Founder and COO of Benori Knowledge, spoke about the new office space and the lessons she has learned from implementing a hybrid work model. 

Shifting from WFH to back to the office, what has the employee experience been like?
It’s been great to be back in the office and work together under one roof after two long years of working from home. While WFH has its own advantages, face-to-face interaction promotes deeper ties, trust, and engagement among employees, all of which improve collaboration and innovation. Also, getting back to team-building fun activities both inside and outside the office has helped us let go of the tension brought on by our jobs.

You have moved into a new office space, how are the employees adapting to the new workplace, what has the feedback been like?
Our employees love the new office space that we moved into in DLF Cyber City in Gurugram earlier this year. It is really spacious, filled with natural light and conveniently located. Given that COVID is here to stay, the new location provides a lot of conveniences while also taking our employees' safety into consideration. The comfort and atmosphere helped everyone get through the first few months of adjusting to their return to the office.

Do you offer a hybrid mode of working to your employees? What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of the hybrid mode?
Yes, we work in a hybrid mode, all employees work from the office on 50% of the days; that is approximately 10 days a month based on a roster. While working in a hybrid mode helps us operationally in reducing costs, our employees also really appreciate it. They get to meet and work with their teams in the same physical space a few times a week and use the time they save on commuting on the rest of the days on more worthwhile activities. The only drawback of a hybrid mode is that it makes us more reliant on technology for engaging with our coworkers.

What are the ways to retain high-potential employees and keep the teams involved, engaged, and motivated?
There is a saying, “Hug your high potential because if you don’t, someone else will”. You need to make them feel that they matter, be it through promotions/salary hikes, assigning challenging tasks and opportunities or sharing direct feedback at regular intervals. You have to lay down a career path for them and show them the growth opportunities that lie ahead. At Benori, we have always believed and adhered to these values.

Considering the experiences and lessons learnt over the last two years and given the rapid shift to digitisation, what tools have you implemented in terms of connecting with employees, focusing on their well-being and addressing employee growth?
While the pandemic threw many challenges to us as employers, connecting with employees was on the top and digitization really helped us through this. We mostly used MS Teams to connect with each other and for teams, staying connected on Teams was the next best to being together physically. We have also moved our employee training sessions and monthly “Pat on the back” sessions to virtual meets so that none of our employees miss out on the learning and the fun.

What are your expanding plans?
Over the next 1-2 years, we aim to double our team in size. We always seek out people who share our key values, which include having a growth mindset and intellectual curiosity, as well as the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior.

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