I am a strong advocate of the hybrid working model: Santosh Iyer, Mercedes-Benz

Iyer, Vice President - Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz India Pvt. Ltd, said the Covid pandemic has paved the way for exploring new possibilities which hitherto were unknown or unexplored

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Nov 23, 2022 6:27 PM  | 3 min read
santosh iyer

As the debate over the pros and cons of the hybrid working model goes on, Santosh Iyer, Vice President - Sales and Marketing at Mercedes-Benz India Pvt. Ltd., has come out in support of the format saying his company has done exemplary work while following the hybrid working arrangement.

Iyer, who will assume the role of Managing Director & CEO of the company’s Indian operations next year, said the pandemic, which he referred to as the black swan event, paved the way for exploring new possibilities which hitherto were unknown or unexplored.

Sharing his viewpoint in a Linekdin post, Iyer said, “There is a lot of debate currently on the ‘Hybrid work model’. Some feel it is super effective while others still insist that their teams work with them in the office and physical presence is a must to get high productivity. Personally, I am a strong advocate of the hybrid model as Mercedes-Benz India has done exemplary work ranging from sales growth and new business models to important product launches while adopting a ‘Hybrid work model’.

Of course, as a brand making luxury cars to cater to a colossal customer demand, we cannot implement the hybrid work model for the employees who build cars in manufacturing operations. For them, we encourage a hard stop after working hours and a clear cut-off at weekends. This balancing act has helped bring ‘work-life balance’ across the company as employees get more quality personal time and flexibility, which results in enhanced productivity and commitment towards business, at work.

The pandemic set into motion a cycle of uncertainty, which has a lasting impact on the workplace of today. “They say ‘never let a crisis go waste’ and the learnings from this black swan event paved the way for exploring new possibilities which hitherto were unknown or unexplored. These led to new organizational elements ranging from digitization to remote working. As we continue to navigate this evolving landscape, I am often asked, ‘how can leaders consistently motivate their employees in a hybrid work environment?’ There are two critical factors for success.

1) TRUST: When changes are frequent, mutual trust binds the organization together. At Mercedes-Benz India, we have nurtured a culture of trust by adopting a permanent hybrid model where employees of non-production functions have to come to the office for a minimum of two days a week and for the balance of three days they can opt to work remotely. The two days in the office help in developing better interpersonal connections and also meeting cross-functional teams. We leverage every opportunity to build trust, for example, where it was possible, we have done away with the need for clocking time & attendance thus making employees feel in-charge and not micromanaged. Trust played a crucial role in binding people together and gave them the determination to brave the uncertain times that the pandemic introduced.  

2) EMPOWERMENT: In my experience, the roadblock to building this trust in the face of uncertainty is the element of ‘Control’, which compels managers to micromanage activities and meet employees personally. Here, I strongly advise encouraging flexibility, nurture business acumen and decision-making skills in your workforce by empowering them. They are the backbone of your organization in testing times.

My advice to managers would be to take the leap of faith by trusting and empowering the teams. You will be surprised by their increased commitment to the organization and higher productivity.”

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