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CXO View To Managing Businesses Effectively Through A Pandemic And Post Pandemic

Creating simulations and sharing them through comprehensive digital dashboards help highlight important issues and anticipate better to make the right decisions.

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The Coronavirus pandemic’s impact on humanity has been unprecedented; the world in many ways was caught unawares. Countries initiated lockdowns, with every government trying to gauge the enormity of the impact and tracking the spread of the infection closely to judge if following strict guidelines of safety and sanitation would deliver us from the crisis. Four lockdown phases later in India, we are compelled to come to terms with one fact: we must co-exist with this contagion for now, armed with masks, gloves and sanitizers. We need to allow businesses to reopen and encourage our economy to get back to normalcy. Also, we must treat this as an opportunity to innovate, look at new growth strategies and prepare new blueprints for success. The need of the hour is to act intelligently, ensure business continuity and to treat this as the ‘new normal’

The major responsibility of bringing the economy back on track will fall on corporates. And before corporates reopen their doors, they will have to give the workplace a makeover to ensure health and safety of employees to earn their trust. From deep cleaning of the workplace to rearranging the entire infrastructure, from monitoring temperatures to replacing buffet food spreads with packaged meals – every employee experience touchpoint will have to transition to meet social distancing norms and hygiene guidelines. For employees who work remotely, technology will be the mainstay to ensure smooth operations. Organizing and optimizing resources to support this transformation will be critical, especially against the backdrop of reduced revenue in these past few months of lockdown.

Apart from implementing innovative technology, organizations will have to relook at several aspects to protect both their workforce and business.

1. Optimizing Resources: well-being of the workforce is paramount; emotional and moral support are as important as financial support in these testing times. We must factor in a scenario where some employees may get infected by Covid-19 and will have to go through the harrowing experience of quarantine and recovery. Consequently, because of critical staff being unavailable, productivity might get affected. A similar problem will crop up for employees who are forced to stay at home yet cannot work remotely. While the organization will have to take care of such employees on priority, shifting of tasks to other team members, to ensure timely completion will also be indispensable. Virtualizing the systems will enable both re-tasking and transparency.

2. Stakeholder Communication: clear and transparent communication is key to organizational success. It has become increasingly important to keep stakeholders regularly updated regarding business performance as well as other developments in the organization. Stakeholders also need to know about steps being taken by the organization towards dealing with the pandemic as well as ensuring optimal productivity and revenue. Creating simulations and sharing them through comprehensive digital dashboards help highlight important issues and anticipate better to make the right decisions.

3. New Products and Services: keeping product/ R&D teams functioning in full gear can help in developing new products and services which are in line with current consumer needs. Although this can mean investment of critical resources at a sensitive time, the move can prove to be a good one in the long run. After all, organizations that can adapt and evolve are the ones that can truly step up the growth trajectory.

4. Digital Employee Benefits and Safety: The spotlight is already on digital and in the payments space it plays an even bigger role in promoting safe and easy transactions. Employee benefits like meal cards to pay for meals, groceries and other essentials can be a great help in the times of social distancing. Virtual cards can further aid contactless delivery and protect both employees and employers. Also, they help motivate employees and extend essential benefits at a difficult time.

Dealing with the pandemic and emerging a winner is clearly a big challenge but not an impossible one. Looking for the right solutions and keeping a positive attitude can work wonders!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Pramul Saxena

Chief Financial Officer at Sodexo Benefits & Rewards India

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