Probably the most common topic of conversation at the moment is trying to make sense of the crisis and how businesses can keep going.
At Ink Strategy it’s no different. Considering we run a consultancy, it’s of the utmost importance that we have an understanding of what our clients need during these challenging times. We therefore held a digital roundtable to invite everyone to share their views on the effects of COVID-19.
Who was there:
Frank Jansen - Commercieel Manager - BAM FM
Harmen ter Horst - International Strategy & Transformation Manager - ING
Lars Rook - Agile Transformatie Manager - NS
Larsse Wilken - Customer Service Manager - Orange
Martin Hermsen - Sia Partners - Partner
Tristan Ozero - Co-founder - Ink Strategy
Alexander Steenhorst - Strategy Design Consultant - Ink Strategy
We’ve compiled a list of our findings and discussions here for a bit of insight into what we talked about.
We are getting more done!
Working from home is efficient; meetings start at the proposed time, everybody is prepared and focused, and having nobody physically around means less distraction. The silver lining? Some of us are actually done in a lot less hours than before! We have even seen research claiming that working from home means we could potentially do our work in 6 hours instead of 8. Now that’s an idea worth pursuing! Check it out here: https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-case-for-the-6-hour-workday
We are ‘skin hungry’!
Having to work from home may have a positive effect on our productivity, but at the end of the day we are still humans and we need connection. Having a laugh at the coffee corner, going for a drink after work, chatting after a meeting, the occasional ‘how’s it going?’ when passing someone in the hallway... we miss these things and some of us are really struggling with the lack of physical interaction. It was suggested that we should be conscious of this and consider calling our colleagues for that quick chat just to find out how they are doing. Chances are, if you’re craving it, someone else is too.
Video conferencing, video conferencing, all we do these days is video conferencing. This, on a good day, can be a bit tricky. And with the added stress of the current environment, makes it a real challenge! All of a sudden we have to upgrade our IT skills and presentation skills. Should I look in the camera when I speak or not? What programme should we use for this meeting: Zoom, Google Meet, Teams or Web? Do I need to say ‘over and out??’ Different companies & individuals are using different tools, making it complicated when the assumption is that everyone is on a level playing field regarding digital literacy.
Keeping the momentum up
The first two weeks of the crisis were taken up by comprehending what was going on, but businesses seem to be picking up again. Projects are finding new ways to continue, companies are finding new tools to innovate with, and people are finding their feet in their new home offices. There is a possibility that this might go on for a while, so we might as well just do what we can to the best of our abilities.
Scenario planning is the key
Nobody can predict the future (what a shame, right?). To be prepared we need to be realistic about what can happen. A bit of research and scenario planning is important to help prepare for new eventualities. Maybe your company already has a few scenarios written down with assessments of the possible adverse risks. It might be worth taking a bit of time to review them. One of our participants mentioned a great article about the Dutch economy - definitely worth a read: https://www.ing.nl/zakelijk/kennis-over-de-economie/onze-economie/de-nederlandse-economie/index.html
Stay in touch more than ever
It seems obvious for a company, but we need to keep a cash flow. The best way to do this? Stay in touch with your clients. Just like your colleagues or employees, we need to be aware of how people around us are coping with current and future challenges. Start with making contact, the rest will follow.
Redesign your vision
It might seem like it’s not clear where to start in all of this. Focusing on the core business and re-evaluating your vision of the future might be a place to start. This means re-prioritising current and ongoing projects while working to design a new, more fitting, vision for the different potential futures. As none of us know what it’s going to look like in 2 months, 4 months or 2 years, we need to create a vision that can fit into any of these.
When fishermen can’t go to sea they mend their nets
Never waste a good crisis. Although times are rough, everything that comes, goes. There will come a time when this crisis is over. How will you and your business come out of this crisis stronger than how you went into the crisis? Take some time to brainstorm and be open to new ideas and insights. Organise creative design sessions.
Right now all we hear about is COVID-19. It’s important to also share other, more positive news. Did you like reading about what happens in other companies? Share what’s going on in yours! How are you coping with this situation? Here is our good news blog.