The coronavirus pandemic has affected every person’s (employers and employees) life in one way or the other. Whether it’s how we shop, conduct ourselves, work, or conduct businesses throughout the world. It is obvious that things and ways of working have not only changed but have also become more difficult given the safety precautions and strict regulations. Yet, every organization needs to take the opportunity to provide solutions and add value to their jobs as the pandemic continues.
Adding value to the job amid the coronavirus pandemic can be possible by looking beyond the negative impact of the pandemic to see the abundant advantages present; as the pandemic has served as a wakeup call and an eye-opener to the things we take for granted, but now are a more sustainable and productive way of working. This is simply because, for every crisis, there is also an opportunity, although, these opportunities arising from a crisis are not immediately obvious and sometimes obscured by difficulties. And just like any other crisis, the coronavirus crisis is a crossroad at which important decisions have to be made, bringing both the necessity and the opportunity for change. The pandemic and the resulting confinement have had some immediate positive consequences − such as reduced CO2 emissions and the boost to e-commerce (online business). Turning the immediate positive effects into lasting change is possible but, seizing the less obvious opportunities requires both keen reflection and action to be able to add value amid the pandemic.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic is an eye-opener to a more sustainable way of doing things. For example, during a course called “Group Company Project” while I was at the Maastricht School of Management in the Netherlands, where we were asked to propose a way the Maastricht School of Management can be more sustainable. I and my group after looking at the financial costs involve time wastage and the carbon footprint of organizing the Doctorate of Business Administrative (DBA) defense which normally would require the physical presence of some professors to conduct the defense. We found that this is very costly and unsustainable, as many of these professors are scattered across the globe; it is also time-consuming as these professors have tight schedules hence the problem of finding the time convenient for them and this leads to an extended time for the candidate to defend his/her thesis. Another problem is the increased carbon footprint by the means of traveling. Hence, we proposed an online defense (a TELEPRESENCE). This Idea was not appreciated as it was before the coronavirus outbreak in November 2019. But immediately the lockdown was imposed the school came to appreciate this idea and have since then been organizing DBA defenses online. The point remains that there are some things we take for granted which can be a more sustainable and productive way of working and the coronavirus pandemic is a revelation.
Adding value to the Job
Adding value to the job can make the organization remain competitive, agile, and innovative especially amid this coronavirus pandemic where public health crisis has led governments to shut down all workplaces, apart from those providing essential goods and services, in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
This has automatically created the opportunity for people to start working from home. A significant amount of the world working population has started working from home (teleworking) since April 2020. According to Boston Consulting Group (2020), “virtually overnight, millions of employees around the world left their offices and workplaces and have been working remotely from home”. The challenges posed by the pandemic have revealed considerable untapped potential that can be captured by any organization to achieve major improvements in productivity and performance.
The coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity for adding value to jobs as the normal way of doing things has changed and the new normal has opened the eyes of employers and workers to see that the old ways (old normal) of doing things has a lot of complications. It shows that the old normal is a serious obstacle to real (genuinely value-adding) work, which is a major cause of stagnant productivity in many economies of the world. For example, these complications can be observed in the way managers waste a significant amount of time, to document information on more KPIs, scorecards, writing reports, coordinating functions, and especially the amount of time they spend in face-to-face meetings. And because they are spending so much time managing complications, this, in turn, leaves them with little time to manage their teams, who as a result may lose their sense of direction, purpose, and meaning. Causing them to waste a significant portion of their time on unproductive, non-value-adding activities. But values can be added if the managers seize the opportunities created by the coronavirus pandemic to reduce these complications by spending little time to document KPIs, scorecards, writing reports, and especially take the opportunity to reduce the six-hour face-to-face meeting (including travel) to one-hour online Zoom meeting (teleworking!).
Value can also be added to the job if peoples’ digital skills are improved. Teleworking has ensured continuity for many businesses and has saved many people’s jobs. Although, many people find it difficult to take this as an advantage due to their lack of basic and advanced digital skills required to telework. Moreover, they often had to share family computers and use various devices without any specific training. But, imagine the productivity that could be unleashed by better leveraging the full array of digital technologies. Thus, one other way of adding value to the job is to upgrade their digital skills.
Lastly, adding value to the job especially amid the coronavirus pandemic requires going above what is expected, “looking beyond the bottom-line”. It is the leaders’ job to frame and reframe what matters at the moment since there is more to the job role than what is in the job description. The workers also need to be proactive! To focus on tasks that will have the biggest impact on their organization’s success.
Ayeolowo Benjamin Ayemidara.
Volunteer at Teatro Metaphora – Associação de Amigos das Artes.
Erasmus for Youth Entrepreneurs.
To know more: www.erasmus-entrepreneurs.eu.