The key to an organisation’s success lies in the work culture. A healthy and flourishing work culture truly changes the efficiency with which the employees carry out their functions.
The work culture at the WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) Mumbai office is quite unique, unlike other NGOs and even corporates. At first glance, it comes off as highly task-oriented, where every mind in the office is focused solely on meeting deadlines. However, spending more than a week at the office as an intern made me see the beautiful bonds and relationships that have bloomed amidst this raging ocean of deadlines.
Backbiting or criticising one behind their backs kills all the trust among employees. Criticisms are offered to employees at the WWF by their seniors or co-workers; however, they are always upfront and constructive. It gives the person a chance to recognise the mistakes he/she is making and correct them as soon as possible. Good work is always appreciated and praised.
Discussions and a clear exchange of ideas always allows the employees to be on the same page. We often have brainstorming sessions with our seniors and pitch in different ideas for the upcoming programs. An occasional wildcard idea is also treated with respect and everybody’s ideas are carefully noted down and used when planning the final set of events for the project.
Every single employee at WWF is treated with respect, whether it be interns or the head of the office herself. Ideas and suggestions coming from every employee are given equal importance and even interns are entrusted with significant tasks, telling them that their presence in the organisation is valuable. I was lucky enough to be entrusted with three major tasks; handling the volunteer base of the state of Maharashtra, the project in-charge for the clean-up project in collaboration with Safai Bank of India, as well writing content for and designing various newsletters and reports. Interns are assured that they will get a lot more work than just coffee runs.
The bosses and older interns at WWF are not just people I report to. They quickly took on the role of being my mentors. In the initial days of the internship, when I was not quite sure about how I should be going about some of the tasks, they were there every step of the way to guide me, answering questions before I even had a chance to ask them. They were welcoming and patient, sharing their own experiences and mishaps with me. One of my mentors even sat down with me for an hour on a Friday and gave me tips and tricks of getting certain tasks done that she had learned during her time as an intern. She even gave a humorous but helpful insight into what some of my seniors’ preferences were so that I could keep them in mind while I worked.
The beauty of the bonds among the WWF employees is quite evident during the hour-long ‘lunch-break’. It is the time when the phrase ‘work meets play’ becomes applicable in the office. Every employee devotes a busy 7 hours to their tasks. The lunch break serves as the period when all the employees sit together in the dining room exchange home cooked food and hilarious anecdotes. It is the time when we get to know each other better and form friendships. It is the time when most of the bonding activities take place. A particular activity that I thoroughly enjoyed was the making of a large sprouts salad with every employee bringing one ingredient from home, chopping and boiling them in the office kitchen, putting it all together collectively and sharing a delicious and nutritious meal.
I have been told of employees who had previously disrupted the nearly flawless work culture of WWF with their negative attitudes but I am lucky that I had to face none during my first two weeks here.
The healthy work culture motivates me everyday and makes me look forward to arriving at my work place every morning. I joined the organisation for mere work experience but find myself taking back a lot more.