It has been well over a year of suffering from the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic. So many people have been forced into compromising their lives, both personal and professional. Businesses have been severely disrupted and shut down, whilst our economic infrastructure has been compromised.
In the face of all this, are there things we can learn from the pandemic?
What we can do is extract as much value as possible from the experience, so that we can try and make things better moving forwards as much as we can.
Here are some of the good things to come out of lockdown specifically for business:
- New technology, or people noticing and utilising great technology that has been here for a while.
Zoom isn’t new. People have just noticed that it can be incredibly useful. It goes without saying that more people have used video conferencing than ever before. But what you may not have noticed is all the extra technology that has arrived to supplement things like Zoom.
For example, Mmhmm is an app developed to add joy to video calls and presentations. It has erupted in popularity since it was developed last year. Instead of talking on a bland and boring box with nothing but tinny speakers and jittery video, users can play with hundreds of backgrounds, effects and floating presentations.
- Discovering inefficiency
How many times have you been forced to change begrudgingly, then realised how much better things are… despite your reluctance? Well change was forced on the whole of planet earth with brute-force. So there have been a lot of revelations with businesses discovering new ways of doing things that have launched them into massive success.
Take Clifton Coffee Roasters for example. They thought the final bell had tolled for their coffee tastings when they could not do them in person. But it was quite the opposite. They got creative and organised an online version of the event. The result: there was now no limit to the number of participants they could invite. Sales and revenue rocketed.
- Flexible working
Employers are delighted with the potential saving on office space, as well as the evidence of greater employee productivity and wellbeing from offering flexible working. The key here is choice. For some people working from home is a complete disaster. For others it is a revelation of productivity.
Before the pandemic flexible working was mostly for avant garde startups run by millennials. Now, even the most traditional employers have been forced to see if it is possible for their workers. For some it will stick. Interestingly, for the first time there will be resistance to companies who want to be prescriptive rather than offering flexibility.
- Focus on employee wellbeing
Many people have now experienced a threat to their mental wellbeing for the first time. The pressure and stress of change and isolation caused emotional turbulence on an unprecedented scale.
This suffering was felt throughout the country. And so has a new level of empathy. Employers have been motivated to take account of what they can do to support their workforce. This added fuel to the already-spreading word about mental wellbeing. There are new services and experts in helping companies to support workers and create workplace resilience.
As soon as users of online services like Zoom increased, so did the number of cyber-attacks. This went for online banking and all things vulnerable to online abuse. Spam and phishing went through the roof.
Clearly this is not a good thing that arose from the pandemic. But it has galvanized people into improving their online security.
The Government backed a scheme to deliver a basic cyber security standard called Cyber Essentials. Online banking has implemented new security checks to foil scammers. Awareness has gone up.
The hope is that this proves a net gain. The increased precautions and awareness must stay ahead of the disastrous rise in cyber-attacks.
None of these points outweigh the pain that has been caused by the pandemic. Rather, this is a short list of the good that we can focus on extracting from the disaster. Feel free to comment below with your thoughts on what we can add to this list.