Work-life balance during a lockdown: Using time wisely

Quality leadership, engagement and culture are at the heart of SP Jain School of Global Management. I write this as it all started with a simple email from our President, Nitish Jain, triggered by a conversation with our Global Director (Counseling & Coaching Center) based in Dubai, Bijal Oza, on how we should use this lockdown period amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for doing good things like building immunity, learning something or looking after elderly people.

Upon that, Mr Jain shared that he took to jogging to build his health and immunity. “I managed to do this on Saturday eve (before the lockdown in India). Yes, times are tough. But we need to be even tougher! Remain calm, remain positive and use your time wisely,” said Mr Jain on an email to all campus staff.

Nitish Jain (President – SP Jain) shares a selfie while jogging

In response, staff from our campuses based in Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney shared their tips and interesting ways of being engaged, positive posts and knowledge for mental wellbeing. Read on as we exchange practices to boost mental wellness in times of social distancing and lockdowns due to COVID-19.

Nothing like a good workout

Dr Nicolas Hamelin, Associate Professor and Neuroscience Lab Director based in the Sydney campus, shared that being in isolation has inspired him to be more fit. He drew inspiration from the recent news about using balconies to run marathons and stay fit!

In the same vein, Krishnapriya Nandakumar, Manager for Industry Interface Projects based in Dubai, shared her top tips to break a sweat in 10 minutes with a cardio workout. “Try exercises like Jumping Jacks, Worm Walk (at your own pace), Boxing Jabs (both hands) and Mountain Climbers (at your own pace). Repeat this for 4 sets and you have yourself a complete workout!”

Home Cooking Experiments

Dr Gulnara Karimova, Assistant Professor based in Dubai, ordered delicious treats from the CIS grapevine’s home cooks and shared her plans for Easter. “You can order pryaniki in the shape of eggs and rabbits.”

Dr Gulnara Karimova – Assistant Professor, shares a picture of tasty treats

While, Smita Jain, Director – Master in Global Luxury Goods & Services Management based in Mumbai, also shared a picture of her first attempt at making a dish for dinner at home.

A pot of food on a metal pan on a stove

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Smita Jain, Director – MGLUXM, shares a photo of her first attempt at cooking

Spending Time with Family

Continuing the positive chain of thought, Bijal Oza wrote, “Something I’d like to share is how I start my mornings practising Mindfulness with my 8-month-old daughter 😇 I call this practice my ‘Morning Mindful Coffee’.”

A person sitting at a table with a cup of coffee

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‘Morning Mindful Coffee’ with Bijal Oza, Global Director – Counseling and Coaching Centre

Sameet Pradhan, Manager – Talent Management based in Mumbai, shared, “I dedicated some time post-work to my son by being a silent observer to help him enhance his drawing skills.”

A close up of a piece of paper

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Sameet Pradhan, Manager – Talent Management, shares a sketch made by his son

Self-Reflection, Gratitude and Yoga

Ana Jeremiah, Life Coach & Counsellor – Postgraduate Programs based in Singapore, is thankful and sees the positive as we overcome this crisis together. She shared an interesting video on coronavirus and gratitude, and raised a relevant thought, “The irony of it but, truly, hasn’t it stopped the world in its tracks?”

Dr Gulnara Karimova endorsed yoga to relieve back pain while Dr Monica Gallant, Associate Professor based in Dubai, added that she has resumed practising yoga with the help of online sessions.

Dr Parimal Merchant, Director – Global Family Managed Business, shared an insightful personal reflection note on ‘Journey to becoming better human being: What for am I doing, what I am doing?’

Self-Learning & Research – Push Your Limits

Our professors have upped their teaching game with the use of e-learning tools to ensure the learning process continues. A huge shout-out to all our professors around the world taking classes and mentoring students!

Dr Dhrupad Mathur, Deputy Director – Faculty Management and Associate Professor, shared a photo of his mini ‘Zoom studio’ that he’s been using to teach our Global MBA and Master of Global Business students.

A close up of a computer

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A mini Zoom studio by Dr Dhrupad Mathur, Deputy Director – Faculty Management and Associate Professor

He also shared a quirky perspective on ‘Gaming COVID-19’ – defeating the virus by playing a game! ​FoldIt (click here for more) is a well-recognised platform to help solve the Protein Folding problem. ​Knowledge of molecular biology is not needed. School children find this game addictive as they solve the complex maze of puzzles visually, while in reality they are generating a large number of possible combinations for protein structures in the background.

Dr. Gulnara shares that she loves doing research, “I am currently working on a Polyphonic Model for Organizational Identity and Archetypal Artificial Intelligence.”

Vikram Pandya, Director – Fintech based in Mumbai, posed two tricky questions:

  1. How many people a single bullet can kill?
  2. What is the costliest meal ever that anyone has had?

You can check the answers here.

He also shared a different perspective on “How to learn” rather than “What to learn”.

  1. Question/Problem-Solution based learning: Start with whatever topic or area you are interested in or curious about and start researching about the same. This journey will take you across multiple different topics that you never knew about. For instance, Mr. Pandya started with COVID-19 Economic Impact and Recommendation which gave him interesting insights on the global economy and the Indian situation which he has summarised in that article.
  2. Go through some of the concepts given below which are important in the current situation:
    1. Lucid explanation on what is a virus, the role of antibiotics, antivirals and vaccines and everything you need to know about coronavirus in the most scientific way.
    2. Check out this simulation to understand the spread of coronavirus and why social distancing is important. If you are an expert and would like to build a more complex simulation, then you can use this free but powerful tool.
    3. Current hoarding behaviour is soon going to give rise to Bullwhip or Forrester effect. You can watch this video to understand more.
    4. How machine learning is helping in identifying a cure for coronavirus.
    5. You can be part of a global initiative of people working from home to create an open-source solution to various problems. They have several interesting projects and few of them are already successful.

Honing Forgotten Skills & Exploring New Hobbies

Smita Jain shared, “During these uncertain times, one thing we can be certain of is ourselves, our individual approach and our ability to adapt to the changing times.”

“I have personally taken up the challenge to add more skills to my existing skill set. I am currently trying to learn oil painting on canvas and, hopefully, I’ll add some more skills such as cooking and meditation. Sharing a picture of my first oil painting on canvas. Being a person who loves colour, I couldn’t resist using as many colours as possible.”

Smita Jain, Director – MGLUXM, shares a picture of her first oil-painting

Sujith Sivan, IT Manager based in Dubai, wrote, “Art, in any form, be it crafting, writing, sketching, dancing or absolutely anything, has proven to be a great stress-buster and it has a major role in contributing toward healthy living and happiness.”

Sujith Sivan – IT Manager, shares his artwork

Dr Rajiv Aserkar,Professor & Head of Logistics and Supply Chain Management, said that he is catching up on his reading list and shared details of e-book resources and online literary festivals.

While Dr Monica Gallant loves to craft, she ironically found some Corona yarn and crocheted the Corona crew.

A picture containing table, indoor, thread, sitting

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Dr Monica Gallant, Associate Professor – Accounting, shares a photo of her craft

Adopt, Adapt & Transform: 4 Cities become stronger

Even with all the creative vents that our colleagues have resorted to – it just shows how we’ve taken a little time to appreciate the ‘small pleasures of life’ that we typically take for granted. That said, being a global school with 4 different locations – our ability to report and coordinate between and in different cities i.e Dubai, Sydney, Singapore and Mumbai is getting stronger and stronger. We can naturally take on tasks head-on, coordinate, connect and deliver work. As majority of our professors and students quickly transition from physical classrooms to virtual ones; program offices work seamlessly to track courses, attendance, exams and more; IT teams act as a solid foundation to bridge communication and technicalities and staff with different responsibilities adopt and adapt to using alternative methods to undertake their respective responsibilities. 

#SPJWorksNonStop – Separated by distance, united by thought

Come What May: Quality Work Endures

During these testing times, a big kudos to our management at each campus who are at the crux to ensure smooth facilitation of all academic and non-academic work.

As Jacquelynne Alday, Program Manager – Undergraduate Programs – Dubai, aptly quotes Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, saying, “Schools are shut, Education never stops.”

Stay safe, clean and happy 😊

About the Author: Megna Kalvani

Megna Kalvani is a Senior Manager for Global Learning & Student Life at SP Jain School of Global Management, Dubai Campus.