COVID-19 RESPONSE COULD RESHAPE THE FUTURE OF WORK
In just a few months, what started as an epidemic mainly limited to China has now become a truly global pandemic. The COVID-19 virus, spread rapidly throughout China and quickly beyond China’s borders with the World Health Organization (WHO) now declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, on 11 March 2020, with unprecedented disruption and risks. The unforeseen and unpredictable crises often have extreme consequences. The outbreak of COVID-19 and its move across the globe have introduced a new kind of uncertainty. More than 189,452 people have been infected with COVID-19. The situation is evolving daily, and a rapid, proactive and comprehensive approach is essential in order to delay transmission, as containing transmission is a high priority.
COVID-19 has caused significant people, social and economic implications and the next phases of the outbreak are profoundly uncertain and present unique challenges for businesses, to which leaders need to adapt and respond rapidly.
Following the declaration by the President of a national disaster, many businesses have decided to perform all work virtually in response to curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Leaders across various industries are placing an emphasis on health and safety as a main priority, focused on the wellbeing of their people. This has placed attention on the need for corporate resilience and the ability to embrace virtual collaboration. Its apparent that working from remote locations, mostly home, will become the new normal in the next few days, weeks and possibly even months. This calls for an adjustment to new ways of working.
What does this mean for business continuity? How can we continue to create value for our clients and stakeholders in this environment?
Remote working presents a timely opportunity to leverage available technologies. There are an abundance of online tools that teams can use for collaboration as they work from home.
Clarify goals and roles
The move to home-based working is a great opportunity for teams to revisit the basics in order to ensure everyone understands the team objectives, their individual roles, and how each person contributes to the outcome.
As employees work from home, checking in on a regular basis establishes open lines of communications with your colleagues.
Businesses across various sectors have had to find alternative ways of working to sustain and thrive during this uncertain time. It’s forced leaders to blend physical and virtual environments and challenge the norms that define the workforce. In maximising the response to the virus, companies that have embraced alternative work practices are well positioned to sustain business operations as we navigate the impact of COVID-19. Virtual collaboration can sustain productivity, create resilience and maintain business operations.
It seems inevitable that this period of enforced change will open many eyes to the benefits of a more flexible approach to working practices. Some of the changes we will see over the next few weeks and months will persist long after the COVID-19 crisis abates – with impacts on the use of technology in the workplace, and incorporation of flexible office solutions added on to corporate portfolios. As we navigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it is crucial to remain fully engaged and impactful as a virtual team, which is increasingly important as we work from home to reduce its spread.
Authors: Muhammad Loonat and Ighsaan Embrahim