The global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) is creating significant challenges for leaders at all levels and organisations of all sizes

Hamilton Forth is running a series of virtual networking events, inviting clients to get together online and discuss the challenges currently presented by the COVID-19 crisis, and sharing ideas and best practice as how best to tackle them.  Our most recent virtual event featured digital, transformation, and change professions from a variety of sectors including Further Education, FMCG, Manufacturing, and Healthcare.

Whilst each of these sectors has been impacted and responded in different ways, what is clear is that technology has become the linchpin across sectors, and that the pandemic has accelerated the pace of change as never before.

In the final blog of our three part blog series following the event, we look at what the legacy of the COVID 19 pandemic could be for businesses and organisations.

Embracing Flexible Working

For many organisations, flexible working schemes were available pre-lockdown, but often uptake would be low or not reflected in the culture of the business.  Now, almost all businesses know that they can work successfully and productively with the majority of staff at home using virtual meeting platforms and digital resources.

There is a new understanding that attending a meeting ‘virtually’, whether it be a weekly catch up with colleagues or a presentation to the board, is completely acceptable and effective.  Many have realised that it is possible to keep up relationships with colleagues virtually, and that they don’t need to be ‘at work’ in order to see them.  It is likely that this new flexible working culture will continue long after lockdown is over.

However our participants noted that it is important to acknowledge that this way of working doesn’t work for everyone, whether due to personal circumstances or job type, and that organisations must do their utmost to ensure that their employees’ mental and physical wellbeing is prioritised.

Increased Collaboration and Understanding

Our participants acknowledged that since lockdown, there have been increased levels of collaboration, less contention in meetings and a real air of people being reasonable, perhaps because they are addressing work issues from the comfort of their own homes.

We are also learning more about our colleagues, getting to meet each other’s spouses, pets, and see inside each other’s homes, leading to a greater feeling of connection that will hopefully carry through the pandemic and beyond.

Sense of Community

Across the globe people have found new ways to come together whilst staying apart, whether at home or at work.  This sense of community has included looking out for neighbours, and ten weeks of ‘Clap for Carers’.  At work, it has involved issuing newsletters to share baking and haircut tips, and virtual quizzes and fancy dress get-togethers.

It is important that as we continue through lockdown and the phases that follow, that this sense of community remains authentic, as in the long term these changes are the ones that will have the most profound impact.

To discuss your transformation and change recruitment needs contact [email protected]