The Pandemic 6 months on – A leaders view

The Pandemic that we all assumed (and hoped) would be over in 3 months, is still with us and will continue to be with us for some time yet. The impact on the local and worldwide economies has been extremely damaging in the short term and holds uncertainty at best in the long term.

The virus has underlined the criticality and importance of thriving through the challenges thrust upon us. It is essential that we as leaders adapt our leadership focuses, styles and practices to help foster these traits within our businesses to help us through this crisis.

Many companies are still looking to ride out the storm and are battening down the hatches. They are taking all the support offered by their respective governments and focussing on existing contracts and customers. They are running on minimum staff levels with a view to bringing back temporarily laid off staff when the situation improves.

One thing is clear, the Pandemic has created the largest proof of concept for remote working that any of us have ever seen. Companies that get through this crisis will come out far more resilient and will be the first to thrive in the new “Normal”.

There are many areas of focus if an organisation is going to be successful through this crisis, and the top five are as follows:

  • Remote working arrangements – this have been largely enforced by country and local lockdowns. Although many companies are beginning to reopen offices, a large number are enforcing work from home policies through to the end of the year (Google have extended this until mid-2021). You should take steps to ensure you and your staff have the right equipment and sufficient internet bandwidth to do your jobs. You should consider effective collaboration tools from providers such as Google, Microsoft or Zoom; digital experience solutions such as our Digital Experience Optimiser, powered by Nexthink; and digital white-boarding solutions such as Miro, which will enhance the remote working experience for staff.
  • Clear and communicated strategy – whatever the new normal will be, there will be much uncertainty amongst staff at this point and they will really benefit by having clear and unambiguous goals and targets that show them a road through the crisis.
  • Establish ongoing staff communication – keep contact engagement avenues for staff working onsite, remotely and those that have been temporarily laid off. Hold regular virtual town hall style meetings and be open and honest with your communications. Identify staff who are socially isolated and take steps to keep them involved. Really support innovation forums, this situation is new to everyone… who knows, ideas from these forums could give a real competitive advantage!
  • Increase focus on controls and security – out of every crisis there are those that seek to take a dishonest advantage from it and cyber-crime / cyber-attacks have more than doubled. Reinforce your security policies, look to assess and improve your data security controls, strengthen your password and backup controls, increase focus on security administration functions.
  • Prevent burnout – this has been an extraordinary situation and is not over yet, make sure you understand the impact and pressure on staff who are holding the fort and keeping the business going. The expectations and pressure on sales staff in shrinking markets, staff competing and fighting for fewer jobs and the worrying uncertainty for staff who been temporarily laid off. You should also ensure awareness of the impact burnout can have on you as leaders, the long hours and the weight of balancing the prosperity of the business and the livelihoods of the staff that you have known for so long.
David Smith, Chief Financial Officer – Illuminet

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