Measuring Firms’ Ability To Sustain Operations:
While most of the world is still in the lockdown phase, many business operations are still closed and as the days go by, the economic consequences from the continued lockdown are beginning to start at us.
In large non-financial firms, to be able to meet a certain threshold of minimum expenses in the absence of revenue and liquidity coverage, they are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain and even the minimal operations required to keep them alive.
What Do We See?
However, when firms decide to start operations with minimal operations and go back to employees with proposal of resumption to work, are their employees ready with a mindset to return to work?
Do employees now accept Covid-19 with fear & insecurity OR with neutrality after experience of last few weeks and months around us as well as world?
Healthcare workers, Doctors, Nursing Staff, Police, Essential Good Suppliers, etc. are working 24X7 since Day 1 of this crisis with same motivation and spirit.
What about the rest of the citizens who are consuming negative news, living in an unprecedented fear regime?
Let’s live life….let’s be normal….let’s accept all wasn’t , isn’t & never shall be in our control !
All that we need to do is follow the advocacies & no more , no less…….let go of our insecurities.
Economy will be back , after this ‘pause’ , with a change of ‘our mindsets’.
A couple of wicket maiden overs don’t decide the fate of a cricket match.
COVID is like that ; like a champion team that can battle out a crisis on the field, our own teams shall do the same.
Employee Vs Consumer Mindset
Food for Thought and Time to Reflect on our Mindset (Short term and Long Term)
When we talk with our own employees when they wear employee shoes :
Work from home has become new normal to many employees since last few weeks as they could set their day schedule, infrastructure, etc.
Now large piece of company employees expect that we should get permanent WFH as our work is and can be managed 100% from home. However, do we set right example or spirit in front of those colleagues within company or our customers and partners who needs to be at office, Plants, Shop Floors, On ground transport, etc. for full time to support essential services. Do we minimize their morale to do their job with our expectations? For sure, we need to maintain social distancing and safety and health. If Full Time remote work is short term story, that’s fine and makes sense.
If we expect it in long term, we need to encourage to ask following questions to ourselves:
- Is workplace is only the location to execute our routine work?
- Can just Skype calls helps us to learn new and compound skills (Professional/Technical) with same passion from our peers like before while working in same office next to each other.
- Already society is getting less social as we used to have more friends in the office to collaborate and make workplace more exciting than our home sometimes. Are we going to miss with WFH?
- Many professional skills gets developed by observing our leaders in person. Can we expect same level of mentorship from our leadership and learn on-job leadership skills like before with our observations or in close working relationship of leaders? Can we continuously live our company culture and values and promote them with new team members who never worked in person with us and able to build the strong working relationship with them?
As per survey conducted by Co-Working Resources and Monstor, Remote work often impede organizations from creating and solidifying their company culture. Company culture is fostered, in large part, by employees coming together and engaging in team-building activities and Team-wide meetings. So having disjointed teams can make this hard to accomplish.
When employees clearly identify with a company’s values, they’re more likely to engage with their work. Engagement is key in today’s workplace—one study showed that companies with high engagement have higher customer loyalty, productivity, and profitability than their peers. Companies with high employee turnover rates often suffer from poor employee engagement.
When we talk with other consumers who are also the employees of some other organizations but when they are wearing consumer shoes:
They would like to enjoy their vacations as normal as before on (crowded) beaches or tourist spots even after Covid-19 pandemic in long term. They would like to goto Shopping Malls, Restaurants, Movie Theaters, Various family and friend gatherings like wedding, birthdays, Sports events and exciting cricket matches, etc. like before once situation becomes normal.
Do we as a consumer still equally concerned like being as a employee?
If answer is Yes, are we directly and indirectly supporting economic growth of country and world or unintentionally working against it? Sooner or later, economic impact will come back to us at individual and company level certainly if we don’t change our mindset.
So our approach towards the situation needs to be balanced while as a employee and as a consumer. We need to keep everyone encouraged to do their best job without losing their motivation as a employee. Further, we need to keep consumer encouraged to enjoy life like before to keep the economy moving like before. At the same time, as a citizen, society, country and world has learned incredible lessons out of this crisis which will be a foundation to correct the things which we did wrongly in the past.
Flexible Work Arrangements or Remote Work offers some benefits like employees gain flexibility, avoid long commutes (which significantly impact job satisfaction), and remain free from office distractions, while businesses save on office management costs, etc. the employee engagement challenges and consumer mindset might bring whole life to normal like before in future. This is the only certainty as a positive leader I forecast, during this uncertain time.
The author is: Prashant Jadhav – Head of IT Centre of Excellence, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.