Oh dear, this covid pandemic has changed the world in a big way. This once in a lifetime crisis has impacted everyone’s life & going to have a big influence on the thinking process of the human beings. Do you know, there were many myths which are assumed to be real but busted in the Covid pandemic? This brings me to my next point, there were few corporate myths but now they are exposed by the pandemic. This for sure will influence the planning of future strategies of the corporate world.
What are these myths & how it has exposed in Covid crises? Let’s try to explore these corporate myths one by one
- WFH (Work from Home) is not possible- For decades, Corporates were living under the belief that WFH is not possible & employees must attend office for work but that thought has been invalidated in last 15 months of WFH. Majority of companies successfully adopted WFH model. In fact, WFH response is so encouraging that few companies have fully migrated to WFH model with few others opting for balanced working model.
- WFH will bring Work life balance– All this while till the pandemic hit us all, employees were living with the belief that WFH model will bring work life balance, but that belief was completely vanished away in the lock down. Majority of employees experienced in WFH that contrary to earlier assumption WFH is disturbing work life balance. At home, switching between household & office work is adding to the stress levels. Many are struggling to keep track of holidays. The golden lazy Sundays have lost its shine & significance in WFH life. No longer holidays feels like holiday. All in all, Work life balance is far better in work from office environment than WFH.
- A meeting is needed for every matter or issue- Corporates love for meetings is going on for years. Even for a small matter, there was a meeting but that is going change due to covid pandemic. While no doubt that meetings are productive way to find solution, but it also consumes a lot of time & in this fast-moving world, one key priority is to save time. In last 15 months of WFH, many organizations realized that smaller matters can be resolved on emails & don’t demands meetings. I believe this could be one reason that allowed few companies to opt for fully WFH model.
- One niche product one successful company- Over a period of times, many companies believed in investing only in that one product where they enjoy monopoly or have hardly any competition. It’s true that this strategy worked wonders for these organizations. Monopolistic markets allowed them in investing less, scaling up the business & earn higher margins. But this pandemic has exposed confidence on one product business model. Many single product driven companies have to shut shop as they didn’t have any alternative source of revenue to run the business in this difficult time. Even the big industry giants struggled to keep the business alive as demand nose-dived for the product they were selling. On the contrary, its also true that many small-time companies like sanitizer or vitamins manufacturers were able to exponentially increased revenue & margins but they should learn that once pandemic gets over, they will find difficult to generate the same kind of revenue. Here is the thing, they must invest the extra money in other products even if margins are lower to keep themselves ready for the difficult time. Probably one of the biggest learnings for the companies is to continuously explore new products, new line of business even it comes with marginal profits. The vision should not be limited to scalability but also sustainability.
- Globalization is gateway of success- Covid pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain & manufacturers have suffered as either they are not able to timely procure raw materials or able to supply goods in global markets. It’s true that globalization is key for scalability of business but may not hold true for survival in this kind of covid pandemic. Now for sure corporates will plan for developing local markets where they can generate sizable revenue that can be helpful to run the companies at the time of crises.
- Succession & back up plan is only needed for Senior leadership- Companies normally have succession or back up plan for senior position but this pandemic has so badly affected employees that in many organizations, worked has stopped at few levels because they never identified that back up for that position. These forced breaks of employees have disrupted the flow of work & affected the day to day business operations. The challenge was far higher for smaller companies who normally don’t create back up apart from few selective senior positions. Now organizations will surely work on creating back-ups for all positions so that work never gets disrupted in the pandemic. HR’s will have a much bigger responsibility to equip these backup employees with requisite training, process, deliverable & stakeholders so that he or she can seamlessly fulfil the work if an employee is not available due to different reasons.
- Multi-tasking is an art– One of the key requirements in the corporate is that the person should be able to do multi-task. This question is being asked by hiring manager in almost all interviews. In these 15 months of WFH, employees have successfully multi-tasked many activities. From attending a call while cooking or making reports along with baby-sitting. Employees have done everything that needed them to qualify as multi-tasker. On lighter note, I see this key question losing relevance in future interviews.
- Household work is easier than office work- Over the years, office work has always been positioned far higher than household work. Those who take care of homes are labelled as non-working. The hardship of household work is habitually unrecognized by office going people. I believe that understanding is surely going to change. In WFH, employees witnessed the amount of hardship spouses do to run the house smoothly. My wife left her job so that she can take care of the kids along with home, but she always tells me that office work was far easier than managing home. When she was not well for couple of days and I tried to fill up for her in taking care of household work, my kids. Trust me, I found myself all over the place. Time management skills learned over the years went for the toss. The household work is a never-ending saga & only a person having love, care & dedication can succeed in this role. No salary is big enough for this work. I believe if one can only put 25% of effort that is needed to do household work in the corporate world, no one can stop him or her of reaching the top.
While this pandemic has absolutely shattered the world economy, but it also made us learn to stay united. The endurance will help us to sail through the difficult time. Every crisis presents an opportunity to learn & we can do better in future by applying those learnings. Many corporates are implementing some of the learnings & for sure many will implement sooner than later. Corporates will strive to bounce back in a much stronger way building sustainable business models to cope with pandemics & these learnings will surely help.