Is the COVID-19 Pandemic A Compelling Event or Missed Opportunity?

Author photo: Mark Sen Gupta
ByMark Sen Gupta
Technology Trends

The push for social distancing has created a lot of upheaval in the way business gets done.  Suddenly, “non-essential” (not that there really is such a thing) personnel have been vacated from the premises and are working from home.  For decades, process plants have consolidated control rooms and now are very much temporarily “unconsolidated” due to pandemic-related concerns.  Circumstances like these, force or compel organizations into new and uncomfortable methods for attaining the same goals.

How COVID-19 Pandemic Can Compel Positive Change

By forcing a change in how work gets done, organizations have an opportunity to re-evaluate their current procedures and operating philosophies.

COVID-19 pandemicSustainability

If you live a high population area, have you taken the time to look at the traffic map during rush hour?  The moment you put someone in front of a computer screen, their location becomes irrelevant.  Working from home reduces the overall carbon footprint, and organizations can take credit as part of their overall sustainability program.

Employee Benefit

Working from home is also a great employee benefit from the saved commuting time.  It also provides reduced expenses or a bump in pay depending, on your perspective.

COVID-19 pandemicSafety

Fewer people on site means fewer people at risk.  In the rare case that an accident at a facility occur, fewer people would be exposed.  It also means fewer employees at risk of a car accident.  There are 6 million accidents per year in the United States alone, and jobs with a significant amount of driving are deadlier than occupations like law enforcement.

Things to Watch

It’s not all positive.  A face-to-face meeting is amazingly effective and efficient, but do those need to occur daily?  Organizations will also need to revisit the IT infrastructure and policies with office equipment for home use.  Many organizations have made great efforts to collocate staff specifically to foster better and quicker collaboration.  Obviously, companies need to approach change with their eyes wide open. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to try some things.  Necessity has forced some changes.  Were any positive?  Can your organization capitalize on them?  Will the organization proactively start to address long-term strategic changes to more readily and easily face the next disruption?

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