Pre-pandemic it was common to think that business continuity was linked in some way to employing people. But, the coronavirus pandemic has brought us swathes of people furloughed or made unemployed. Large established businesses shed thousands of jobs or just closed their doors, never to open again.
While economies around the world have been shredded by increased government spending. Social morale has plummetted in the face of successive lockdowns, curfews and social restrictions.
Meanwhile, the financial markets have created a brand new army of disruptive investors. Artificial intelligence has engulfed the strategies of mega-corporations and birthed so-called digital transformation.
But this year has started on a high note, as we are teased with the prospect that a vaccine will soon return life to “normal”.
Business continuity beyond the old “normal”
Was autumn 2019 our benchmark for the normal that we all miss so much? Can we honestly expect to return to a life without coronavirus? Personally, I think that the old normal is not the ideal that we should strive for. After all, how many people and indeed employers have found that home working is the future?
What I have observed is that the world has continued to function without mass-commuting. While huge drops in active employment did not cause global production to grind to a halt.
Don’t get me wrong, life has far from improved, food-banks and homelessness have become accepted side-effects of progress. Also, I cannot forget the massive loss of life the pandemic has brought to the world.
Despite these solemn and sobering thoughts, as a species, we have an opportunity to live better lives. But, for this to become a reality, we have another far more deadly and socially destructive pandemic to cure.
I want to avoid turning this comment turning into a politically motivated rant. Instead, I wish that we would all consider our personal abundance and/or deficiency.
I believe social disparity comes from the attitudes of each individual. Have you ever looked at someone and thought they should do more?
My guess is that we are all guilty of such thoughts.
Society has evolved to a level of toxicity that perpetuates thinking only of oneself. I recently ran a crowdfunding campaign to help local charities raise awareness. All people had to do was to give a shout out to a local action group or charity. Despite there being no obligation to donate, take-up was almost non-existent.
Now, it would be easy to say that I should have done more to promote my campaign. But again, we return to thinking someone else should have done more, exonerating ourselves from acting for the common good.
So, what has all this to do with business continuity and employee numbers?
The pandemic has emphasised the fact that employees are expendable. The need for human-powered productivity is reducing being replaced by automation and artificial intelligence.
Our human egos continue to drive us to strive to have more than our neighbours. Yet, technological advancement and simple mathematics show that there will be fewer jobs for a growing population.
Our old normal is a recipe for increasing social disparity. Going forward, we need to look at rewarding those innovators who move us away from our ego-driven lust for more.
We have everything we need to make the transition to better living for all. The covid pandemic, devastating as it is, offers us a chance to rethink our future and do things better for all.
I realise that I am talking of a utopia that few can ever see existing. If you believe that business continuity is dependent on its ability to employ more people, I would like to hear your why?