The pandemic we recently experienced taught us many things. From being prepared for the unexpected to changing how we work, this article will present three lessons managers should learn and put into practice.
Undoubtedly, we were all affected by the pandemic. Many think it is time to turn the page and forget what happened, but we must look back and learn the necessary life lessons from that experience. Let’s look at some of them below.
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We are human
I thought long and hard before writing the first lesson because managers usually think first about what can affect the company’s productivity, sales, or relationships with customers. But a manager is, above all things, a person, so the first lesson is not losing the human solidarity that the pandemic left us with.
I knew people who died during the pandemic because of the virus but also others who fought for their lives, resisted, and managed to survive. One of them is a neighbor. One day, I received a call from his wife at about four o’clock. She told me, crying, that her husband was dying. I did not hesitate and went to his house to help him. We were by his side, offering our support until our neighbor felt better. We returned home feeling good for having helped someone else. For some time, we brought them food until he recovered completely.
As managers, we must not forget that we are humans as fragile as those under our command and that solidarity must not be lost. It is one thing to work hard to achieve the company’s objectives and another to forget that those who help us achieve those objectives are people with families to care for, with problems and struggles. Let us never forget that we are all equally fragile and need support from each other.
We must adapt
When we were told to stay home, no one knew how long this order would last. As the pandemic unfolded, companies had to find ways to continue working without putting their workers at risk, which led to the well-known work-from-home surge.
But few were prepared to work from home. We were used to going to the office every day, having our staff at arms’ reach, and even being able to see their computers directly. We were all looking for a solution to this. In the case of the company I worked for, the decision was to evaluate people by objectives achieved rather than by hours worked. Many felt more comfortable working from home, and some even came up with new ideas for working remotely without compromising productivity.
This taught us that many jobs could be done from home and that people are more productive when working in a familiar environment.
We must leverage new technologies
The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adopt new technologies at an accelerated pace. Remote work, virtual meetings, and online transactions became the norm, which forced companies to invest in new technologies and systems. This also led technology companies to develop products adapted to this new reality. At that time, I was working as a management systems auditor, and one of the new products that made my job easier was holographic lenses. My job was to verify the physical conditions of the audited company’s buildings and review data and documents. To do this, a person inside the company building used holographic glasses to allow me to see through my computer everything as if I were in the building. Like this one, other technologies appeared to help us overcome the obstacles that the mobility restriction brought.
This brings me to the third lesson that the pandemic taught managers: using technologies that we had not tried before or that appeared because of the restrictions we experienced. Sometimes, we get used to working in a certain way and find it difficult to accept change. But the reality posed by the pandemic led us to get used to virtual meetings, to rely on digital reports, and to be open to the use of new technologies, trusting their developers and the ability of our staff to adapt to them.
In conclusion, we can say that the challenges we faced due to the pandemic could be overcome thanks to our resilience and the collaboration and support of our team. Now that we are back in the office, we must learn to be more empathetic with our staff and be open to the possibility of working from home for specific periods, using the appropriate tools.