Learning from COVID-19: Adapting to Change

The impact of COVID-19 has been monumental. Within a matter of days, our daily routines have been turned upside down and we have been forced for the first time in recent history to change the way we live, work and socialise. Change has always been something that can be hard to adapt to, but today’s generation has never had such a profound adjustment forced upon us, and within such a short timescale.

Rewinding even half a generation, would we have seen even more disastrous consequences to the current pandemic? Through the mist of these uncertain and unprecedented times we find ourselves in, there is hope in that our ability to respond to and combat threats like COVID-19 has been heavily and positively impacted by globalization and technology.

As the effect on organisations continues to unfold, with the full consequences still unknown, organisations’ ability to continue operating effectively is driven by their capacity to adapt to such severe changes. This applies not only to the technology but to the whole organisation; the workforce, who may be adapting to periods of furlough leave and leadership who may need to completely re-think business plans, models and make critical decisions.

With the world in lockdown, there’s a clear disparity between organisations that must cease trading and those institutions who continue to provide essential services during this crisis. Financial services are under more pressure than ever, dealing with huge increases in customer contact and striving to keep our economy alive. Payment processors are dealing with millions of online transactions as retail is forced to turn online. Streaming providers are dealing with an immediate increase in subscribers and content consumption to keep us entertained at home. Healthcare providers are adopting remote consultations to cope with demand. We’ve witnessed key organisations adapt to enable their entire workforces, which can include thousands of staff, to work from home at the drop of a hat.  Despite public perception, the shelves have not run empty, with supermarkets showcasing robust supply chain planning and execution. The speed and agility in which some have had to adapt is truly inspiring and teaches us all that we need to adopt flexibility to work successfully.

It’s no doubt that without some of the key technological advancements we have seen in recent times, we would have faced problems deemed impossible to overcome. Cloud services have enabled entire companies to make the transition to remote working, with minimal impact to workers. Unified communication solutions have enabled us to engage in essential conversations that may not have been possible while working from home, even ten years ago.

One question that is worth thinking about: will impulse working methods stick in the aftermath of the pandemic? Video conferencing isn’t new – but full adoption by organisations has been slow compared to other emerging technologies. Now all of a sudden Zoom has become the No.1 App downloaded throughout the world.  But is this a long-term solution for everyone? It may be a quick solution for remote communication, but have organisations reviewed the long-term benefits? My opinion is that businesses should learn from the current requirement for a VC solution but instead view it as something that can be integrated fully across the wider environment, not just as an impulse application where the full functionality isn’t realised.

Although it seems like the world around us has paused, we can learn so much from these times, with a view of increasing the sophistication and resilience of our response plans for future critical events. Those who have invested and planned for disaster scenarios have reaped the benefits of what others may have thought unnecessary, demonstrating the importance of planning and preparation within any organisation, regardless of size. How we respond now will influence our response to global threats for generations to come.

If there is one final thought I’d like to share with everyone, is that it’s evident that in uncertain times, partnerships created in business can make for fruitful long-term relationships, that will perhaps help them steer through future crises by working together, learning from each other and planning for the “worst case scenario”.

Our clients need us today more than ever before and yet again this is our opportunity to really work together to be there for them. This is our time to take yet another step forward in our relationships with our clients.

I’d welcome thoughts from others on the impacts to you and your organisation on how the pandemic has impacted you and if you have already learned anything from how you’ve adapted.

 

With every passion and wishes of health and well-being.

 

Tom

 

You can follow Tom on Linkedin here.