Coffee breaks with wife help KPMG India CEO get through long workdays

The Economic Times – Panache

Arun Kumar get refreshed and energised by balancing work demands with other interests.

Arun Kumar shares how he made time for hobbies despite a demanding schedule.

While remote working and video conferences have taken away the delight of in-person meetings, they have made person-to-person or small group conversations more focused, believes Arun Kumar, CEO, KPMG in India.

“The social distancing caused by remote working is also driving increased social connections. Last month we conducted our annual partners’ meeting virtually, bringing several guests from overseas together on one platform. This meant that we could have guests from London and Silicon Valley connect to us in India just as easily as guests from Mumbai,” he says.

Work mode
Kumar’s study at his home in South Mumbai has been serving as his workspace for six months now. It has a comfortable set-up for him to conduct meetings. “For a change of scene, I sometimes take calls from my living room or the dining room,” he says.

“During the week, I am at my home desk by 8.30 or 9 am, usually in khakis and a polo shirt. The problem is that the workday can stretch till 9 pm, especially when there is a meeting with a team in the Western hemisphere. When some days unfold in that manner, I take coffee breaks with my wife,” Kumar says.

Time for hobbies
A benefit of the lockdown is the chance to be regular about one’s exercise regimen. “I start the day on a treadmill or occasionally with a walk. I also had the time to complete the second anthology of my poems that brings together my works over the past 10 years. I am making progress on a book on global trade, building on insights that I gained during my term in the Obama administration as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global Markets,” Kumar says.

Need for a balance
It has been decades since Kumar has slept on the same bed consecutively for as many days as he is now. Or not been on a flight for as long as now. “And I am not missing them,” he says. “By balancing our work demands with other interests, we get refreshed and bring more energy to our work.”


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