The COVID-19 epidemic has changed things.
As of now, we live in an unfortunate, sweeping reality that has posed an unprecedented challenge to people all across the globe. For a while, at least, it has significantly changed the very nature of how we exist, thrive and build our livelihoods.
McKinsey is calling it a “human tragedy”, emphasizing the enormous impact it has had on the global economy and some of the biggest organizations. Stock markets have also seen a tremendous decline—with the FTSE, Dow Jones and the Nikkei all being on a downward spiral, the first two experiencing the biggest declines since 1987, as noted by BBC News. The economic infrastructure of the world, hence, is in survival mode, with news of layoffs, pay cuts and major stimulus packages dominating the headlines in all major countries of the globe.
This direct assault on the economy ensures that disruption will trickle down into daily work life. Entire cultures of organizations will get disrupted: an unfortunate event, because now, more so than ever, there is a need for intense collaboration to get over the many hurdles presented by this unforeseen and unprecedented event. Collaboration is identified as an important marker of success and as of right now, it will act as the vital component that will ensure the survival of great foundations.
As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”; as far as reality is concerned—it’s the need of the hour. The definition of what we call “teamwork” is now much different than what it was a while ago. The goal of teams throughout is to be even more united than ever, sync with each other and overcome very different sort of challenges all the while, not being at the same place. Since everyone is now remote working, it’s a daunting challenge, but then again, also a proving ground for dedicated, creative employees to rise up and prove their mettle. If you enjoy work, you should see this as a challenge, not a threat.
As mentioned in a recent wirecutter article, the goal is to keep the “spark of teamwork alive”—and that it’s very possible to encourage the same lively sparks that bring about daily work life. Even if employees are working from home and are only visible to each other via videoconferencing apps/devices—there is enough incentive to still engage in fun watercooler talk, shared learning, play games and even have lunch. It is very much possible to replicate the ebbs and flows of a fun, daily, productive workday even within the confines of your home.
This is not a fight to run away from. To quote Sanjiv Bajaj, Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv, in a World Economic Forum article: “The Indian private sector must proactively address the COVID-19 pandemic.” A collaborative spirit is also required in this case, namely, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)—which has agreed to support the private sector in testing efforts through its CSR funds, eventually aiming to provide zero cost testing to the poor. Reliance Industries has also built a 100-bed hospital in two weeks specifically dedicated to COVID-19 cases. The article also mentions that “businesses have a responsibility towards their employees”. After all, they are the most precious resource available.
“It’s important to exercise empathy both towards yourself and your team,” states an article by India Development Review. It is the catalyst which will ultimately fuel the unbeatable collaborative spirit, which is the characteristic of great organizations. Even if employees are constrained in various capacities, they often rise up to the challenge and overcome great adversities, which is a necessary step towards great achievements. In these challenging times, it is what will make certain organizations, not just survive, but thrive.