Biz Tips: C-Suites Share Their Perspective on Living Through and Moving Past COVID-19

Biz Tips: C-Suites Share Their Perspective on Living Through and Moving Past COVID-19

Biz Tip:

C-Suites Share Their Perspective on Living Through and Moving Past COVID-19


If this were any other year, we would be planning our summer holidays, but overnight, much of what we take for granted has changed.

In the face of uncertainty, economic damage, and a continued set of still-uncertain risks, business leaders have had to have the foresight to adapt, remain resilient, and keep pushing forward through these historic times.

Companies spread across various geographies are at different phases of the outbreak and have their own unique challenges. However, there are some universal themes that apply to all business models and walks of life.

So what do C-Suites have to say about living through and moving past the pandemic? Let’s take a look.

Make Working from Home Easy

For digitally transformed companies, the transition to remote working has been a seamless experience. As several industries came grinding to a halt, companies built on a solid technological foundation were able to continue operating as usual.

According to Weiting Liu, CEO at Arc, “as our own team has been working from home, we’ve also invested in making our internal processes more efficient. We’ve increased automation across departments, from streamlining [the] sales process to HR “happiness” check-ins via chatbot. We are trying to adapt and stay nimble, ensuring [that] everyone can remain productive no matter where they are working. We even had one colleague recently relocate to Vancouver without people noticing, which shows that people don’t care where you are, as long as you contribute consistently to the team.”

“Managing a tech team so that everyone can work safely from home is not that bad. In our case, this situation forced us to finally respect all proper agile rituals, such as the stand-up meeting. We were also in the process of hiring new talent, in order to do that remotely, we had to implement a proper onboarding process,” said Simone Giacco, CoFounder, and CTO at Messagenius.

Make Security a Priority, Always

Threat actors don’t care if we’re in the middle of a crisis. So whether you’re working from home or heading back to the office once the pandemic is over, it’s critical to take a security-first approach.

“No matter what’s going on in the world, it’s vital for businesses to ensure security. So make it part of your corporate culture to engage in regular security training, encrypt sensitive information, and communicate and collaborate through secure tools. One minor oversight could lead to negative headlines, so don’t make security an afterthought,” advised Mateo Meier, CoFounder and CEO of Artmotion.

Focus on What You Can Control

The complexities surrounding the Coronavirus or COVID-19 can feel overwhelming quite quickly. So it’s essential to take a step back and reassess how you can make a positive contribution.

According to Dennis Vu, Co-founder, and CEO of Ringblaze, “…focus on those things that you can influence and ignore the rest. We can’t make the virus go away any sooner, and we can’t make more customers buy, but we can prepare better marketing campaigns, create better content, improve our product’s features, remove any bugs that the app may have, find ways to improve the user experience and much more. By focusing on the things that are in your control, you will keep yourself busy and do what is in your power to get the most out of this situation.”

Have Faith in Your Team

In uncertain times like this, believing in each other can help you overcome much of what life throws at you.

“Once we knew the pandemic was imminent, we sat down and thought about the possible outcomes. We wrote down the worst possible scenario, as well as the best possible scenario. We told both to our employees and let them know that we should all work together and work hard to achieve the best possible outcome. We’ve been working remotely for [several] weeks now and focusing all of our strengths to motivate each other and work just as hard as usual, if not even hard, to push through this thing together. We reassured the whole team that no one is getting fired and that we are getting out of this whole thing stronger than ever before,” shared Dmytro Okunyev, Founder and Owner at Chanty.

Adapt to the New Normal Quickly

However, this new working model also has its own challenges and rewards. It’s an opportunity to learn while finding the right balance between both.

“I have two kids, five and seven. To say that I dream Paw Patrol, & Frozen would be an understatement. My partner and I devised a very civilised schedule upfront a few weeks back how we would homeschool the kids. I worked early mornings, she worked 9-12, I would work in the afternoon. That lasted for all of a few days,” said Michael Rossman, CoFounder and Director at EnergyBillKill.

Rossman added, “my kids are teaching me brevity and parallel tasking on steroids. Cartoons must work, food must be prepared, and internal ‘corporate’ disputes over building blocks resolved. On the other hand, it is so much fun when they get bored with the TV and start reading, engaging in cool conversations, and wanting to learn about ‘why is papa constantly typing or on the phone?’ I have actually enlisted my oldest to offer opinions on our website update designs. If she doesn’t like it, it gives me food for thought. We have also been gobsmacked by the philosophical discussions. My younger boy said to my older daughter, ‘you know, without family, you have nothing….’ She thought about it for a little bit and replied, ‘you are completely wrong; without money, you have nothing.’ How is that for a board-level discussion?”

Take Mental Health Seriously

When living through uncertainty, those who take care of themselves, and those around them will be better placed to thrive during the pandemic. Furthermore, what business leaders and companies do now will have an impact on how companies move forward.

Daryl Woodhouse, Founder and CEO at Advantage Business Partnerships and renowned speaker on mental health at work and mental fitness says, “Be calm and measured. Most people and most businesses are affected by the current crises to some degree, and panic or over-worrying can be an unhelpful hindrance. Put your own oxygen mask on first. To be the best help for your family and your teammates at work, you need to bring the best version of you to the office. A healthy balance of sleep, diet, work-life balance, physical fitness, and mind kindness is essential.”

Stephen Jenkins, Founder and Managing Director at Too Many Dreams Limited, “whether this is with colleagues who are struggling, families on top of each other 24/7, or clients who are having to make difficult budget decisions, attempting to stop and appreciate what they are going through before responding can pay dividends, both for your mental health and [that of] the people close to you.”

If you’re living alone, it can be easy to get lost in projects, but continuing to work nonstop isn’t good for your mental or physical health.

According to Michael Alexis, CEO at Team Building, “when working from home, it’s vital that you give yourself permission to sign off at the end of the day. A symbolic and effective way to do this is by sticking your phone in the microwave. Putting your phone in the microwave will prevent any signals from getting in or out. Nothing reminds you that you are ‘clocked out’ like having your phone in a makeshift Faraday cage. If your family starts complaining that you’re thwarting their popcorn making efforts, you can also buy a Faraday Bag for your phone online for about $20.”

“I’ve never done enough exercise, but my wife finally convinced me to start the ‘Couch-to-5k’ app program in January, and I’m so grateful she did. Being able to get out into the fresh air, particularly now the weather in the UK has improved, has done wonders for my mental health. Definitely something I intend to continue when we move beyond our current situation,” Jenkins added.

Get Back to the Office Slowly

In most parts of the world, we are heading closer to the end of the crisis. However, it’s important not to rush back. After all, it’s going to take some time for life to truly go back to normal.

“Apply positive patience. We all want a return to our ‘normality’ as quickly as possible. It will come in time with calm and the right balance… Don’t panic or try to rush things,” Woodhouse advised.

“Once this is over, we will not rush back to [the] office altogether. We are planning to use the office in such a way that only half of the workforce is in-office on the same day. We will encourage workers to reach the office avoiding peak times. Furthermore, going to the office will not be mandatory for the next few months. ‘Special troops’ will clean and sanitize the office daily, and some facilities will be closed like the kitchen. We will install hands-free soap dispensers and hand sanitizers, and provide all necessary devices such as face masks,” Giacco stated.

Getting back to normal is all about following best practices. “In Switzerland, we are about to transition back to the office, but we are doing this slowly, following the advice of healthcare experts and technology and security teams to ensure that we’re all safe both physically and virtually. It’ll be vital for all companies to do the same,” Meier advised.

While COVID-19 may be the most significant event of our generation, it doesn’t have to define businesses negatively. With proper guidance and resilience, companies can emerge stronger and thrive after the pandemic.

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