Back to drawing board for business

Date: 06 Apr 2020

Experts say the pandemic has wreaked havoc

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into all business predictions and all 2020 plans. Anything that any business wanted to do this year, or probably even had planned for 2021, will have to be changed, or require a completely new approach.

That is the view of the founder and chief executive The Business Exchange (TBE), David Seinker, who said: “Even the smartest minds around boardroom tables in many corporate companies could not have predicted that businesses around the world would be facing a crisis of this nature and this magnitude.”

Seinker said: “One of the biggest ways in which businesses need to be flexible right now is with their 2020 business goals. For many, profit margins will be smaller than predicted and their client base will decrease, with negative consequences for income.

“To safeguard themselves into the future, businesses should relook at their goals for the next few years and rework their business plans accordingly.”

Human resources consultant and MD of Phetogo Consulting, Basetsana Magano, said: “Despite the onset of technology, many companies did not want to change how they worked, now they have been forced to change.”

Magano said: “All of a sudden employees have the freedom to work from home, but because it was probably not what their managers would have wanted, there is pressure on many to prove that they can be trusted to work without constant supervision, and they will go the extra mile just to prove this to their managers.”

Psychiatrist and head of MBA in Healthcare Leadership at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, Professor Renata Schoeman, said: “Scores of employees suddenly experiencing the ‘freedom’ of working from home may also be experiencing anxiety sparked by a lack of supervision and direction, having little time to adjust to a new way of working, fears of job losses, along with challenges of managing technology, keeping productive, staying connected and juggling family and work responsibilities.”

Cheryl Benadie, the chief executive of Whole Person Academy, a training company focused on employee engagement, said: “What used to be one-dimensional work realities for most (driving to an office, sitting at a desk, signing permanent work contracts) has splintered into a kaleidoscope of alternative workforce iterations: contractors, freelance/independent workers, gig workers and crowd workers. While younger generations will be quicker to adapt due to digital proficiency, more support needs to be provided to mature workers who will find this new world almost impenetrable.”

Labour advocate and legal director of Strata-g Labour Solutions, Tertius Wessels, said: “I don’t think working life will ever go back to what it was after the lockdown and the national disaster are over. You might find businesses restructuring and introducing new technology to make their operations more efficient.”

By MWANGI GITHAHU mwangi.githahu@inl.co.za

 

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