A staff room seating that promotes social distancing. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)
A staff room seating that promotes social distancing. Picture Courtney Africa/African News Agency (ANA)

Valuable lessons learnt during Covid-19 pandemic

By Opinion Time of article published Mar 26, 2021

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Cameron Beveridge

Over the the past 12 months, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown have demanded of every organisation and every worker that they continuously adapt. Having led my own teams in southern Africa through the crisis, I have learned some valuable lessons that I share with the hope that it will help others through the difficult period we are all collectively experiencing.

Lesson #1 – Immediate innovation was essential. When the first lockdowns were announced, some sectors could adapt by enabling office workers to perform their duties remotely. Those organisations that had invested in digital transformation could more easily enable remote work. Everyone else had to undergo a process of rapid innovation to keep their going.

Lesson #2 – But long-term innovation cannot be left for later. It’s vital that organisations develop plans for how new technologies such as 5G, IoT and artificial intelligence will support their business, and build capabilities.

Lesson #3 – Organisations need purpose-based leadership now more than ever. Any effort to rebuild and recover from the economic and social impact of the past year will require a concerted effort to close the equality gap.

Lesson #4 – All industries are interconnected.

Lesson #5 – The supply chain is the lifeblood of our economy, and our vaccine response. Continuous innovation is required to strengthen global supply chains.

Cameron Beveridge.

Lesson #6 – Connectivity is critical. If the past year revealed one truth, it is that internet connectivity is absolutely essential.

Lesson #7 – SMEs are key to our recovery, but they need access to tech. According to the World Bank, SMEs in emerging markets are responsible for creating as much as 70% of formal employment, and are critical to driving inclusive economic growth.

Lesson #8 – Work-from-home works, and it’s going nowhere.

Lesson #9 – New ways are needed to manage and motivate remote workers.

Lesson #10 – Digital skills are vital. Many digital skills development initiatives have actually seen an increase in uptake and impact since the start of the pandemic.

Cameron Beveridge is the regional director for Southern Africa at SAP.

The Star

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