Analah Fawcett

Management Consultant & CSR Lead

  • Strategy
  • Capability Development
  • Change Management

– 15 May, 2020

Be Prepared, More Change Is Coming

COVID-19 has forced companies to abandon their physical offices and move to distributed online workplaces. While building owners continue cashing cheques for unused space, CFOs shudder. Remote working is the 'new normal' and COVID-19 has provided the social proof that ‘working from home’ works; it’s now not only acceptable, but the right thing to do.

As the world starts ‘opening back up’, companies will capitalize on the opportunity to maintain the new status quo and cut costs by reducing their physical footprint. After all, we’ll need to keep ‘social distancing’ for some time yet. Some companies will do it to survive, and others because they can. Everyone else? Because they should. In the words of General Stan McChrystal “I can tell you with absolute confidence, in the next few years, there’s going to be another, really painful crisis… organisations have got to be set-up, so they can respond…”. Our advice? Best be prepared.

Regardless of motivations, a meaningful move to virtual working will allow organisations to increase their geographical reach while reducing their geographical (and environmental) footprint. Those that already access a global marketplace must adapt, and those who don’t soon will; competition will be intense.

To address this novel opportunity, companies should:

Stop: Expecting employees to co-locate and follow the traditional 9 am – 5 pm, Monday to Friday operating rhythms. Going forward, collaborating in person will involve smaller, hybrid groups, coming together in flexible work locations. Anyway, your global reach will require global, ‘round the clock coverage’, and that means…

Start: Being an employer of choice. You’ll require a geographically supportive (and dispersed) workforce, and you’ll now be competing on a global scale to get it. The best talent won’t be limited by location and they’ll favour an employer who offers them flexibility and attractive benefits; after all, they’ll be able to work for anyone, anywhere, and from the comfort of their own home. To support this, you’ll need to…

Continue: Digitising everything. Organisations that weren’t digital (or ‘digital enough’) pre-COVID-19 were impacted significantly more than those who had their digital processes and practices in place. As you know, managing change is hard at the best of times, and when it’s implemented as a reactive measure, it can become chaotic and painful. To mitigate the impact, organisations and workforces must digitize and transform in a proactive, consistent, and planned way.

So, as we start to recover from the emotional exhaustion of having already adapted at pace, we know that it’s only the beginning; more change is coming. The only thing left to do is to lead the charge – and the change – lest you get left behind. For leaders, given the complex change landscape and the increasing demands to be all-knowing and ever-present, I recommend you deploy a team of change specialists, to be at your service; helping you ensure a smooth transition to the new ways of working.

Analah Fawcett

Management Consultant & CSR Lead

Analah is Chaucer’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Lead; passionate about improving lives, in and outside of Chaucer.

With 10+ years’ experience working as a Change Management Consultant, she has helped high profile clients navigate complex behavioural and cultural change, focusing on innovation and digital transformation these past few years.

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