Locked down in our houses we huddle around our PC screens in video conference mode and discuss the number of infections, the number of deaths and what the new rules are to give us back our freedom.
Many executives I speak to were very concerned about sending their workforce home. Would people get up in the morning? Would anyone do any work? Would morale be affected?
Most people I speak to who are still working, tell me how much better they find working remotely, and many don’t want to go back to being in the office 5-days a week.
I am fully aware of the number of people who have lost their jobs or who are going through a living hell as a result of COVID-19. As one of the 1% minority that is seriously at risk if I catch it, because of an underlying lung condition, I am the last person on earth to say COVID-19 is anything but awful, scary and terribly tragic. The quicker it is eliminated or the faster we find a vaccine, the happier I will be.
My observation is an unintended blessing has emerged through this crisis regarding leadership.
- Unlike when staff are in the office, managers are aware that they need to talk to their staff daily and engage the whole team to align their priorities. Many organisations are finding that work efficiency and business results have improved as a result.
- Company CEO’s have become aware that they need to tell the whole organisation what is going on, and many of them do a weekly all-staff briefing. Often for the first time, back-office staff have access to what’s going on in the business, and by all accounts, they are loving it.
- Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, managers have become aware that their staff are human beings with a private life. They are genuinely concerned about their mental health, about their families and about how they are coping with life. Not surprisingly, the business benefits of all this genuine love and concern are paying dividends on productivity.
Stay safe everyone.