1) COVID-19 – How it started and how it got worse
COVID-19, a shorter name created by scientists from Coronavirus disease of 2019, started in central China at a wet-market inside Wuhan province. The outbreak was reported as early as December 31, 2019, and began rapidly outspreading worldwide from then onwards. COVID-19 was most likely caused by the human-transmission of wildlife animals through the handling of both the bat and then the pangolin species.
This outbreak soon became a global pandemic – a big threat to businesses and employees who had to start adapting to a fixed work-from-home lifestyle. Since January 2020, millions of people across the globe were urged to stay indoors. This was when the rise of working-from-home occurred.
(source: The Guardian)
2) How COVID-19 is affecting businesses
COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and along with that came a lot of uncertainty. From social distancing to curfews, businesses are suffering the hardships of COVID-19, and can still be for a while.
Small businesses are hit the hardest as consumers are going out less, meaning for less outdoor purchases, resulting in heavy income losses due to minimal income through only digital channels. It’s the small businesses who need to act fast and turn themselves around to battle this pandemic. Governments and larger companies such as Facebook are offering grants to support these businesses – which can be seen here.
3) Communicating effectively during this pandemic
Keep on track with Google suite. You can call this as a one-stop-service for sharing your documents to others online with an access link or open as a public document. The users can use Google documents, Google slides, Google sheets, Google calendar, Google Hangouts and Google Cloud to collect all important data available 24/7!
Google Hangouts and Zoom are some of the best tools out there for communicating on a phone call or video conferencing with others. The users are able to have real-time screen sharing inside the video call conference. Moreover, Slack is also a good tool for using internal communication with employees in the company – users can also make a phone call or share files internally.
Manage your work with Trello and Jira to prioritize your personal task and your team. The users are able to mention each other and follow up with others in the team to ensure that tasks are completed efficiently.
4) Staying efficient whilst working remotely
Having a daily standup is the best way to check how ready each employee is to start a new day and share with others about the tasks that are progressing. From this stage, everybody in the team will know who is working on which project. The most important point is to be available and stay connected to others as always. Stay close to all communication channels including the cellphone. This doesn’t mean the employees have to be alert 24 hours a day, but they do need to respond to incoming calls without disappearing for many hours.
5) Supporting our colleagues during this tough time
The COVID-19 situation has hit us all by surprise, making social distancing a new behaviour in our society. Employees have to take care of each other by sharing updated news and employers have to provide a platform for employees to support them towards working success. Moreover, HR is a representative of the company. This department is key to staying in touch with employees and reaching out to them when they have an issue to provide support during this pandemic. Not only updating with news, but also keeping the policy up to date according to the daily situation.
At 7 Peaks, we had an ‘All-Hands Meeting’ in which HR and Management gave updates on the current situation of the company to explain where we are and what is our direction in the near future so that the employees will understand and have no doubts to the management of their future, even though it can be changed every minute but everyone still needs to understand.
6) What can we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?
Working from home and studying online is an ideal model but not many employers or Universities apply it. The global pandemic has forced people to work from home and study online. All online tools are applied to use for communication, learning, and presentations. Most people understand how important it is to switch between working and studying online, this also allows people to have adaptive thinking and have high performance even when working or studying from home. Distance is not the barrier to communication in this case.
7) Estimation of when businesses will return to normal
As companies worldwide are dealing with intense uncertainty from the effects of this pandemic, the question most of us may want answered is: How long will it take for things to return to normal?
According to PWC’s COVID-19 pulse survey, 75% of multi-territory respondents optimistically say their businesses will return to normal in less than three months! Whilst 21% of multi-territory finance leaders say it would take three to six months to get back to normal.
Will companies switch to working remotely after COVID-19?
On March 2020, Boston Consulting Group estimated there were up to 300 million employees working remotely or from home across the globe. During late April 2020, this figure may already be higher, with more than four billion people globally experiencing a form of lock down or curfew.
The adoption of working remotely is a reactive move due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This transition to working form home was not just necessary, but in many cases became mandatory.
This vast transition was the cause of many challenges for many organisations – as not everyone had suitable equipment or tools ready to adapt to working virtually. New working habits also needed to be formed at the same too.
As of now, remote working has begun to mature, as it is supported by the adoption of technology thus helping make remote work possible.
Every crisis comes with an opportunity, and we may as well all start to recognize the potential of working from home that it will be a key business consideration post-COVID-19 as companies are already upgrading remote working as part of their operations.
That does not mean the traditional office space is set to become a thing of the past, though.
Remote working simply suits some functions better than others. Customer care can be readily provided remotely with the right IT infrastructure. Remote automobile repairs or hair saloons, on the other hand, are definitely a long way off yet.
This may all depend on just how long and how much the crisis evolves. It may be a smart move to anticipate a model where remote practice is embraced as part of a flexible working arrangement for organisations.
This could include job roles that adopt part-time work at home alongside regular office attendance, for example. Measures like this will complement the traditional office space, but not entirely replace it.
The short-term transition to remote working has been a revolution driven by COVID-19.
The long-term adoption of remote working moving forward is likely to inspire a gradual evolution in how we use our offices.
Office density may well fall for some organisations, but only for those who embrace the dynamic “hot-desking model.”
COVID-19 triggered this revolution. It is now up to the organisations to steer the office-space evolution to follow.
Next: read our 10 tips to succeed while working from home during COVID-19 below.
“In times like these, the human spirit and human support is what will make all of us come out on top.” – The team at 7 Peaks Software
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