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COVID-19 continues to create havoc the world over and affect communities in the way they function or conduct themselves. As the way things are shaping up, it’s becoming quite evident that businesses and their working patterns, will never be the same again. While remote working has always been a significant part of the corporate culture for some time, after things normalize, companies will rethink on the concepts of working and might opt for going virtual at a scale that was quite unprecedented earlier.

Technology is going to play a pivotal role in all our lives. No doubt about that. Be it team meetings, to interactions with the CEO and the board members, people would be resorting to technology in a manner that was never thought of.

During a crisis like this, the economic concerns become paramount. With time, the issue of layoffs will for sure raise its ugly head. It’s like havoc that has wrecked upon all of us. For weeks, our corporate clients waved off concerns of a potential economic impact from this unforeseen outbreak. But not anymore. The realities have changed. Businesses are considering layoffs as an option to tide over the crisis.

But we have to find a solution. And, that’s why we have to resort to technology like never before to ensure things do not get worse than this. We are suddenly staring at a reality that is way different from what we had led ourselves to get comfortable in.

This pandemic is certainly a wake-up call for companies. They need to revamp the working patterns, carefully review the strategies, policies, and procedures. They have to put forth their efforts to protect employees, customers, and operations in this and future epidemic or calamity as well if any.

When this the crisis eventually passes, for even though things appear out of hand now, such a day will surely come, the entire corporate processes will be altered significantly. Switching to a digital model is a necessity now that will become the functional norm in the years to come.

It’s the time of major workforce shifts. The companies in a bid to survive, have to become flexible enough to adapt their workforce to the newest virtual reality. There’s a crisis, but the world doesn’t have the luxury for too long to dabble in it. We have to use the finest in technology, the best possible workflow automation software, to make the best of the worst time ahead of us.

Be it any line of work, like business process management, enterprise content management system, cloud computing services or others, we have to seek the right opportunity to devise the perfect guiding principles for connecting in this virtual world of work.

We can begin with redefining our interactions for a virtual world. Even as we all follow ‘social distancing’ guidance we can strive to stay more connected than ever, albeit virtually.

Virtual conversations, interactions and collaborations can be extremely helpful when it comes to working with greater precision and boosting company morale. As we are challenged with this new world order, we need to show resilience when it comes to managing dynamic and unpredictable challenges to overturn the potentially unfavorable events.

China battled against this ailment and now appears to be in the early stages of an economic rebound. There are many Chinese companies that have already moved beyond crisis response to go to the stage of recovery and post-recovery planning.

In this difficult time, why not learn a few lessons from them that can be implemented in our businesses as well?

Leaping from offline to online.

In these changing times, many sectors are all set to reemerge. The SARS crisis had accelerated e-commerce like never before in China. Digital emerged as the new normal and it will follow suit in other countries. It’s a direct leap from offline to online, leading to an increase in B2B digital transformation efforts.

To beat the coronavirus crisis, many Chinese businesses are accelerating their existing digital transformation efforts. And this digital transformation is indeed helping the companies sail through these troubled times.

Constant reframing of efforts.

Crisis situations have a highly dynamic trajectory and therefore the need to keep on reframing plans and strategies, otherwise, there is a chance to get stuck and slow down when it comes to adapting to the changing situations. 

For example, a leading food and beverage manufacturing company in China, had reviewed dynamics daily and shifted its focus away from offline, to online – e-commerce, and smaller stores. It also gave a lot of stress to make its supply chain highly flexible. As a result of this, just a few weeks after the outbreak, it was able to supply 60% of the stores that were reopened during this period — three times as many as some competitors.

Providing clarity and security for employees.

In the face of crisis, it’s hard to find clarity, when all the norms are in a state of flux. There’s a plethora of advice and perspectives, and that leads to only confusion. 

However, some Chinese companies were prompt even during the challenging time. They created very proactive guidance and support system for employees. 

For example, China’s largest kitchenware manufacturer instituted specific operational guidelines and procedures for all the employees. The company also conducted their health checks. This way they were well equipped to timely resume their business, reopening some of their production lines even in the second week of February.

Reallocation of labour to different activities.

In these difficult times, layoffs might not be the only solution. Certain creative Chinese enterprises reallocated employees to many other valuable activities, like recovery planning, or even loaned them to companies, which were in urgent need of certain work allotments like delivery services because of the sudden increase in online purchases. 

COVID-19 has changed the world to an inconceivable extent and some of those changes are to stay, even as the pandemic passes. This new normal is something we all have to deal with willingly or not so. The future of our working pattern has altered and now, here to stay. We are battling out the crisis with renewed vigour every day and will surely come out of it victorious. Our resilience is helping us to virtually close the gaps, bridge the chasms and cross the boundaries like we never have done in the past. Let us accept the change with open arms.

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  • Date: 17-04-2020