What good can emerge from a pandemic that has cost so many lives and disrupted so many businesses? While you may be more compelled to spend your time watching Netflix on the couch or betting on NBA predictions today, there is context and awareness to be gained by taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture. COVID-19 changed our world forever, and in this case, affected businesses. There are a lot of good outcomes that may help us move forward in a stronger and more confident manner.
After a yellow fever outbreak raged across Philadelphia in the 1790s, the United States needed strong quarantines. President John Adams called for stringent statewide quarantines to suppress epidemics and the establishment of hospitals to care for ill seafarers in 1798, an act that spawned the Public Health Service, the first of many government efforts to preserve people’s health.
Corporate executives share that duty and must balance it with protecting the financial viability of their organizations. Consider how quickly the Covid-19 vaccine was brought to market as an example of how public-private cooperation may be helpful.
Disruption Equals Opportunity
In fact, a period of upheaval may be the perfect opportunity to make long-overdue changes. Sir Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, and Nobel Laureate economist Paul Romer, among others, are said to have said something along the lines of “never let a good crisis go to waste.”
Adversity can — and should be — be converted into a positive experience. A crisis scenario might make persuading those who are reluctant to change easier; it can also assist overcome institutional inertia. Employees have a strong feeling of psychological ownership of the status quo in normal times.
Still, when a crisis takes over their work and personal life, they may be more easily persuaded. Employees are less inclined to place responsibility for new procedures if they believe they were forced to be implemented due to external forces.
A crises’ feeling of urgency inspires collaborative problem-solving, inventiveness, and a desire to try new things. For example, the spread of the virus provided the perfect opportunity for businesses contemplating implementing contactless payment to do it swiftly.
Companies that struggled to embrace remote work regulations were in the same boat. It offered them the ideal justification: they didn’t have a choice. Consider how many restaurants have established not just systems to enable takeaway and delivery, but also meal kits so that consumers may complete the final meal preparation at home.
The need to work online led to cooperation outside of one’s own physical workplace, even with coworkers from other countries. Those companies that hastened the implementation of new methods of working saw significant productivity benefits.
Boundaries and silos have vanished, new technology has been promptly implemented, and decision-making has been facilitated at all levels of a company’s structure. A feeling of empowerment has opened the door to a slew of new prospective CEOs across the board.
Agility was re-defined as a result of a focus on priorities and objectives. In many situations, the world witnessed actual customer orientation and gains in customer satisfaction.
Look no further than how medical visits via computer or smartphone were immediately created and/or increased once the extent of the epidemic became evident in terms of agility and creativity. “Telehealth policy reforms may continue to enable enhanced care access throughout and beyond the epidemic,” the CDC said.
On the home side of things, stay-at-home orders opened up new possibilities for family bonding. While it may seem that parents working from home and children receiving their education at home is a formula for conflict, several studies have shown the reverse to be true.
In a Harvard Graduate School of Education survey, for example, 68% of fathers claimed they felt “very close” to their children. On the other hand, just 1.4% said otherwise.
All of these advantages must be considered when determining how businesses and companies will deal with the post-pandemic “new normal.” It’s time for leaders to reflect on what they’ve done well and work together to continue to transform their customs and policies in the right direction.