Should we go back to normal?

Updated: Mar 25

Article by: Michael Valdivieso

Everyone agrees: the world is going through an unprecedented crisis. We usually read about deadly pandemics only in history books, but our generation is now experiencing what previous generations survived. There are multiple perspectives on how we should tackle this pandemic in the public and private sectors. Governments around the world are doing what they can to stop the spread of this virus, and corporations are pitching in to assist governments with their response. For small and medium enterprises (SMEs), one of the key questions for the long term is how they will thrive in the aftermath of this crisis. 

The first takeaway from this situation is the adaptability and resilience of organisations. Many businesses have adapted to remote work in less than a week. This transition usually requires weeks, if not months, of planning and careful capacity-building. What’s the positive aspect? The fact that there are many processes in companies that can be made more efficient and carried out online. Start analysing the new ways in which your company is working, and identify the associated advantages. Once we return to the workplace from isolation, try to polish them as much as you can so that your business evolves and benefits from these new approaches. 

Surely, you will encounter difficulties in approaching new clients and maintaining existing client relationships. Make your business a key player by supporting your network in learning about new tools that will help your clients—other businesses and people—adapt to remote work. Consider whether your business can begin coordinating with other SMEs in your field or community to support each other in staying afloat and taking advantage of the opportunities ahead. 

Sustainability is probably the last thing most business owners are thinking about as they work to adapt in light of current events. However, you now have valuable opportunities to integrate sustainability into your changing business model. For starters, you can think about how your business can enable the local economy and establish practices that support local producers and communities. In addition, there is the environmental aspect of becoming more sustainable. With the transition to remote work, your business can digitalise processes and practices to diminish its carbon footprint. These changes will ultimately mean a reduction in fixed costs. Sustainability will also make businesses work in a more responsible way that respects the delicate balance between the environment and us. Finally, some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be related to the current crisis in the sense that we can learn to develop strategies for risk reduction, mitigation, and adaptation in response to events such as the current pandemic.

While there will be many challenges, we are certain that it is also a time of great opportunity to demonstrate the true values of our businesses and what we are willing to do to make sure all of us are able to move forward. The key is that we make a collective effort. Clearly, our goal should not be to go back to what we perceive as ‘normal’. Instead, it is crucial that we all learn from this experience by aspiring to more than the way things were and redefining ‘normal’ in support of a better, stronger global community.

This is the first of a series of articles regarding the current pandemic of Covid19.

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