COVID-19 lockdown has provided a number of challenges to organisations and how they operate. It has also provided some opportunities to think about the impacts of these beyond the immediate COVID-19 event.

For the majority of organisations COVID has forced us into working in a different way. Now we can start to reflect on what those COVID-driven experiences have been and think about which ones are worth adopting to create new ways of working and creating enduring change across our organisations.

“...it’s ok to work remotely and productivity is still possible....”

TAKING NECESSARY ACTION

Lockdown forced in cross-organisation collaboration and planning, really bringing the organisations together to work together to a single goal. It also provided the opportunity for organisations to review some core business processes. Such as onboarding new staff and really looking to speed that up, rather than taking the weeks and weeks that it did previously; how we’re engaging with our stakeholders has had to change fundamentally, as too, how we’re staying connected both socially and professionally.

A number of organisations already have flexible operating models in place and would be great adopters of technologies and other flexible ways of working, but for the majority of organisations COVID has forced us into working in this vastly different way.

A CHANCE FOR REFLECTION

We now have this great opportunity to reflect on what these COVID-driven experiences have been and think about which ones are worth adopting to create new ways of working and enduring change in particular; 

  • our governance, 
  • our core business processes, 
  • our people, and 
  • technology and the use of it.

Really thinking about the organisation at the macro level and thinking about the core operating model for the organisation. And if you think about your organisation and some of the experiences that you’ve worked through in the last month or so - what’s different, what’s changed and perhaps is there an opportunity to adopt those going forward?

LEARNINGS FROM TREGASKIS BROWN 

It’s useful to share a couple of observations that we’ve experienced at Tregaskis Brown either ourselves or as we worked alongside clients through lockdown. 

People 

The realisation that you don’t need to be sat in an office, sat next to your manager to be productive. Of course most team members already know that - but the realisation for managers that it’s ok to work remotely and that productivity is still possible. The new appreciation for the importance of actually balancing life and work demands is a breakthrough for all team members. 

Strategy and transformational change 

Those changes that we were striving to achieve some time in the future are now being realised much faster than what we thought was possible. Those changes are now 6, 9, even 12 months ahead of schedule. So, warp factor strategy to execution is a thing! And one transformational level that’s really evident is in technology environments and seeing how big of a change there has been in the last couple of months in the availablity and use of technology . 

 

Governance & Leadership 

There’s been some big decisions that have had to be made in organisations due to COVID. The decision-making processes and risk appetite are bigger, bolder, and the timeliness of decision-making is much faster than pre-COVID. What that means is our organisational agility becomes an actual thing and it’s made possible because we are all working together - actually working together. 

Technology 

The fourth learnng would be around technology and the realisation that we can actually use it effectively! We can ‘Teams’ and ‘Skype’, ‘Zoom’ and ‘Hangout’ with the best of them now. While it’s a great tool for sharing information and discussions, it’s not always the most ideal tool for some of our work practices. But it is still worth keeping technology options as your toolkit regardless of if you’re back in the office or adopting a more permanent flexible home/office arrangement. 

Resilience 

And Resilience, both for you and your organisation. Thinking about your business continuity plans. They’ve probably had their biggest test they’ve had in a very long time. How well did it stand up? And you personally, with you and your resilience, how good was your “bounce” as you went through the COVID experiences? 

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Margo Ray

Principal Consultant

FORWARD THINKING 

So, before we all breathe that collective sigh of relief and we look forward to returning to usual operations - the question we should be asking ourselves is; “Do we want to or do we even need to?” And that perhaps these new ways of working that we’ve had to adopt with urgency - perhaps should be turned into permanent ways of working, and that by doing that we stand a much greater chance of achieving our collective outcomes.