As the lockdown gets extended yet again, people can't help but think that work from home just might become the new normal. While such a situation may turn out to be a nightmare for some, it comes as a blessing for others. People have been wishing for more flexible hours and opportune working conditions (from the comfort of their own homes) for a long while now. This lockdown was just the experiment they were wishing for. India is nearing the completion of 2 whole months of being in the state of a complete lockdown.
If there's anything that we've learned from these two months, it's that work from home definitely works. Such change is remarkable because it is also in favor of the Environment. For instance, Co2 levels have fallen by almost 30% in India as of April 2020. The nation has not seen such statistics in over four decades! If such is the effect of merely 2 months of work from home, this situation might prove to be plausible and, more importantly, extremely beneficial for the future.
As a result of the suddenness and severity of the lockdown, our artisans at SSF had to face many complications when it came to acquiring and completing orders. This, invariably, led to further financial issues. However, adapting to the changing norms was the only way we could survive and adapt we did. We were damn sure that we were going to emerge stronger, better & wiser from this. So we developed a simple creative work-from-home model for our artisans. We have aimed to set up our new production facility called the Skill Lab. This site will function as a 'Drop-Collect' unit, which will be located within 5-7 km of at least 20 villages where most of our artisans live.
The main objective of the Skill Lab remains to enable the continuity of production during the lockdown. However, it also allows us to employ women from all age groups, castes and creeds. Even those with disabilities can work with us from the comfort and safety of their homes.
- There are around 20 villages in the vicinity of our Skill Lab (approx. within a 5-7 km radius), with an average of 250 employable women per village. This equals a large amount of 5000 women whom we can employ.
- In such an arrangement, women would have the ability to come themselves or send any member of the family to collect the frames and other materials. They can conveniently work on these frames from their homes.
- Since the production unit is only 5-7 km far from their village, it is easily accessible by foot or cycling.
- Once their projects are completed, they can deposit the finished product at the same site.
- Each artisan will receive their payments at the end of the month based on the number of products they have worked on.
This way, there are a limited number of craftsmen at the site; thus, adhering to the COVID guidelines. Furthermore, women can work from the comfort and safety of their homes while attending to their chores, kids, and families. Our vision for the Skill Lab post-COVID is to expand its operations. It will be open to the public for visitation and for designers to provide online and offline training to our artisans. Soon, we might witness numerous changes in the way we work, travel, and live. At SSF, we're determined to fight any difficulty that comes our way to emerge stronger, better, and wiser. We've gone through a lot, as members of the human race, and this, too, shall pass. Let's remember to stay safe and support each other!