When the pandemic first struck, companies everywhere just scrambled, trying to solve immediate fires and fighting to steady their ships, even just fighting to survive. Many argue that Lockdown 3 has been far harder than the initial lockdown as, of course, much is changing, and many are only now beginning to see their teams return to work.
There are some to say they are surprised how little many MDs seem to be planned for re-opening, but they are tired for it has been a very intense first five months of the year, and it has tested everyone’s thinking to another level.
However, one can see a number of major trends begin to emerge which do provide a glimpse into the future:
· Workforces are connected, via digital comms, in a higher and more reliable way than ever before. The positive is that it is reported that internal comms is today at its highest level between colleagues for more than a decade. The counter is that this may be so, but productivity is still not high. The question is whether this does rise as the market returns?
· Nearly all have improved and acquired digital skills over the past 18 months to a whole new level. This will continue to grow.
· Automation of process has increased, and it is estimated that we will see the fall of 10% of all jobs and yet the creation of new jobs which have never previously existed. The tougher question is whether those losing their roles will be able to adapt to the new landscape?
· Leadership is changing. It no longer relies on a single dominant leader but has become far more collaborative and compassionate. In just 18 months, some leaders have become an almost old school in approach and will need to adjust. Today leadership needs to be achieved through effectively bringing diverse groups together, united in a common goal.
· Business will be more inclusive than ever before. It will be more open and sophisticated, which in turn should create happier workforces and higher productivity. 2019 is already too being seen as almost old school in approach.
· A desire to do good works. Business today understands that it does possess an important role in play in communities, in society and for the environment. Companies are working far harder to ensure they deliver well to a higher level.
One can argue all these changes were happening anyway, and this is true. The pandemic has heightened the speed of change. All of which leaves one final question – what must it be like to have gone on furlough in March 2020 and be only now preparing to return?