COVID -19 forcing landscape to change: Time to reinvent how we do Business?

25 Mar, 2020
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Through adversities, rises the phoenix of innovation. So let’s look at how this pandemic will probably change our way of living and doing business. Today, we talk about how COVID-19 is changing the face of workplace and analyze if collaboration is the order of the day.

The world is anxious, but also recognizing that when we come out of this, things will not be the same again. Who could think, so much could be achieved working remotely in the last few weeks? Not every sector can work from home but in today’s technology driven environment 56% of employees globally, can actually do so. Hence resulting in a change in the workplace model. We could assume that commercial property rates will be recalibrated and there will be surge in demand for VPN services, cloud servers and many more!

I would say, till now we were like spoilt kids. We had abundance of innovative technologies but were not adopting fast enough to be more efficient. Why could we not take advantage of virtual tools to even half the extent of what we did now? So much could be saved on time and money while reducing our carbon footprint from business travel alone. Is this nature’s way of pressing the ‘pause and play’ button? Yes, new models will put pressure on traditional sectors but it will also force us to think efficiently and implement innovative solutions.

This new way of working, will definitely bring new challenges, particularly from the perspective of workforce management.As a member of various business groups, even this morning I heard how large employers are micromanaging on a daily basis to ensure workforce productivity and resource allocation. Issues of team morale and mental health are being highlighted several times in discussions like these. This is not sustainable in the long run, if this becomes more of a norm.

According to the American Psychological Association, remote work can increase employee satisfaction when implemented correctly. However, it also reports remote employees experiencing higher levels of stress and increased difficulty in finding work-life balance, when compared to office-based workers. This may lead to a negative impact on employee health; increasing risks of chronic conditions, lack of sense of belonging and team spirit. And chances are, that these will go unnoticed till it is too late.

We have talked several times about how HR, is no longer a transactional role but a strategic one. We have also focused on the need for data to make smart decisions in terms of resource allocation and looking after employees, so that productivity is not compromised. With a more flexible and remote workforce, real time data analytics and business intelligence will become increasingly important to have finger on the pulse and take preventative action.

While providing employees with gyms, canteens and onsite classes are good options, it will be increasingly important to provide them with digital tools for self- management of their health. This in turn will ensure that an organisation is not late in realizing that they have lost a key employee to poor health. Additionally, saving them from a hefty insurance bill.

Yes business is tough now, more so for certain industries. Revenue streams are practically non- existent. Even this time, like every big economic, social and political event in the past, big changes will happen and those who survive this, will come out more efficient.

This calls for more collaboration between companies of various sizes to test new ideas and innovative solutions. Work together to establish proof of concept of ideas that will in the long run help both, large companies and SMEs to bounce back stronger after the pandemic. Time to think about long term implications while we manage the acute scenario. While old makes space for the new, innovation and thinking outside the box are the primary solutions to keep businesses functioning.

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