They say that necessity is the mother of all invention.
Let us hope that we will not see a "mother" this sizeable again in our lifetimes. The variables and potential outcomes are impossible to process and both socially and economically, things are going to be extremely tough for many of us for quite some time.
However, we can all take some comfort in what history tells us about our ability as a species to evolve.
The evidence of the past is clear…..
When change is imperative, we invariably find a way.
At some time in the future, people will marvel at the ingenuity that organisations were able demonstrate during these difficult times. People will take lessons on how the DNA and make up of different organisational cultures and business models, rendered them susceptible to the effect of these dramatic world events. It seems more than likely that these events we are currently living through, will be viewed as the spark that turned the piston of revolution, that changed the way that people work and interact with each other thereafter.
We recently saw Twitter, a species born in the digital age able to turn on a sixpence and announcing staff may work from home 'forever!'
Relatively easy for an organisation like Twitter to say and do, but for those choosing that route, there will be new challenges of wellbeing, mental health, employee engagement, productivity and regulatory control to overcome. Such an announcement merely signals the start of a journey to best practice, requiring ongoing scrutiny, feedback and continuous improvement. Some professionals will love the idea of home working forever, but it does not suit all of the world’s working population.
On the same day of the Twitter announcement, we heard that the occupants of offices in Canary Wharf, were drawing up plans to address the difficult challenge of managing lift protocols and office capacity.
Wrestling with how they could get professionals safely to and from City, with the limited capacity of public transport weighed against public safety guidance and the need to return to productivity, one cannot underestimate the challenges particularly given the highly regulated nature of organisations in that part of town.
Different species, born at different times, presented with the same fundamental challenges but forced to deal with them at different paces and in different ways.
My neighbour is a doctor and is surprised about the level of uncharacteristic agility that the NHS has been able to exhibit over the weeks the crisis has dominated the landscape, when faced with no alternative but to so. He admits that as an organisation, it is still needing to learn quickly, but believes that the fact this dramatic change has been possible will be positive lesson for all concerned.
There will of course be those that were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time and one cannot but feel for all those adversely affected, but on the other hand some folk are already suggesting that ultimately all this may have a positive effect.
Whether that is true remains to be seen but there is little doubt that when engaged in the problem people will pull together, because that is what people do at times like this.
Rise to the challenge because we must, make changes because we need, happy to play our part and heartened to see others doing the same.
Here at PRIMED we are delivering agile oversight and playing our part by helping others index their challenges, manage their risk and orchestrate change and continuous improvement.
Commercial Director at PRIMED