The three phases of doing business through Covid-19
Kiwi businesses have adapted their offerings in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak. But now boredom will follow, says two top employment trend experts.
After the initial panic, New Zealand businesses have done what they do best; adapted their offerings in the face of the life-changing Covid-19 outbreak. But what will follow? Boredom, says two of New Zealand’s employment trend experts.
Jane Kennelly (pictured), Frog Recruitment business director predicts the three stages of adaptability will become apparent (or will reveal themselves) as the world navigates the most significant economic disruption it has seen in almost a century.
“For now, it’s about adapting. Kiwi businesses are nimble and have responded creatively to the situation,” says Kennelly.
“Businesses have had to, and are, making some tough calls. They are reshaping teams and adapting their workforce to match the current market. One of our employers, a pharmaceutical company, has pivoted quickly and hired a temporary backup team to manage the volume of orders – all within 24 hours. Another, an IT business, has merged all their employees to form a ‘monster IT help team’ to support Kiwis across the country.”
Kennelly revealed that in the past week, Frog Recruitment’s communications with more than 2500 businesses nationally, including government agencies, showed that this first phase, or ‘the hit’, has seen many Kiwi businesses doing well, pointing clearly to the strength of their ‘number 8 wire’ ingenuity.
“Millions of New Zealanders mobilised their home offices, education providers moved to online learning, and bricks and mortar businesses amped up their e-commerce offering.”
Jane Davis, Director of The Flourishing Institute leads New Zealand businesses through workplace wellbeing programmes. She agrees with Kennelly but says the second phase in the Covid-19 cycle may be complacency.
“As New Zealanders get used to being in their bubbles, boredom will be the issue that needs combatting. A few industries will emerge as the clear winners in this second phase – these are likely to be entertainment providers, streaming organisations, app development companies, online training and online services.
“Plugging people into programmes to keep them focused on positive mental health is key in this phase with topics such as managing distractions, thriving through change and building healthy thinking patterns ideal for employees in their home bubble,” says Davis.
According to both Kennelly and Davis, the good news is that if business didn’t have enough time to plan for the swift arrival of phase one – they have time to act quickly for the second one.
“Digital transformation, already a trending pre-Covid-19 topic, is set to become a pillar to reinvent business models. From gyms and dance studios going to online classes, to medical supply firms exploiting augmented reality to create new training programmes, to landscape design businesses offering video walk-through consultations when the landscaper can’t be there in person.”
When the third and last phase happens, a slow ‘return to normal’ will occur. Our way of life may have been disrupted to the extent that previously considered perks, such as working from home, flexible hours and four day working weeks, become the ‘new normal’.
“Kiwis have been given an opportunity to test and enjoy the advantages of working from home, remote working systems and flexible hours,” says Kennelly.
“Making the right moves now could evolve organisational models, increase productivity, add a competitive advantage to employers and allow business to come out of this extraordinary time as stronger, hardier, more productive and innovative.”