Will the Coronavirus Improve Your Business?
Recently I was referred into a business who had the same managers managing the same way for the past 20-30 years. The idea of working from home was considered ‘crazy’ and ‘ridiculous’ and it was deemed impossible to manage staff output if they couldn’t physically see them working. Unsurprisingly this business is known for loosing good staff because of general their failure to adapt to the needs of the modern workplace. The ‘old school’ still reigns supreme and the frustration levels of senior managers with a more modern mindset is at an all-time high as their voices continually go unheard.
It’s workplaces like these that come to mind when I consider the impact the coronavirus is having on what most business consider to be their ‘stable operating model’, as it has inadvertently created a work environment where managers not only feel obliged to let their staff work from home, but actually feel guilty for making them come into work.
To make things more difficult supply chains are beginning to drying up from a combination of panic buying and the temporary closing down of offshore manufacturing facilities. One article recently forecasted the undersupply of building materials in the construction industry to last as long as the next 6-12 months. The problem is then compounded by everyone being sent home creating a shortage of staff – I can’t tell you how many times I have been told by supermarket representatives that they have plenty of stock, they just don’t’ have enough staff to get it onto the shelves quick enough.
There is also the looming uncertainty of work coming down the pipeline, with work that once felt 100% guaranteed now appearing to be ‘less certain’ creating a resource and cashflow headache for executives and senior managers. And yes, I can hear you saying ‘we have the stimulus’, but the reality is most businesses are busy dealing with their current challenges and have little time to even consider how to jump through the number of hoops required to actually gain the funding.
With all of this uncertainty going on the one thing I am sure about the pandemic is leading to – is a lot of creative thinking, problems solving and the genuine need for people to step outside of their comfort zone and adapt which from my perspective – is brilliant, because this is exactly this type of innovative thinking we need to keep up with the pace of industry 4.0. Something as a country according to the Australian Institute Machine Learning we are already far behind on. The sudden mass move to remote working showing how agile we have become in the age of technology is a particularly great example of this.
Do Things Differently
So as I watch businesses shift and adapt as we come together to tackle problems and to tackle the latest set of challenges transforming business in ways that were previously never thought possible it’s becoming more and more evident that despite the chaos some good can actually come of this pandemic. And I am left wondering how many businesses actually will switch back to their previous operating model after finding out they can do things differently.
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