It is not yet Post-Covid please. The year is drawing to a close with the Covid uncertainty. We have had it all and the world has been to its lowest ebb ever in history. As the lifting has been done for certain aspects of public life, serious management issues must be given attention. These include but not limited to revitalizing functions; the old adage of to start from where we ended cannot work. Handling market issues, production, cost cutting measures possibly restructuring; I think the biggest hurdle managers are faced with is staffing matters.
During lock down, organizations encouraged employees to work from home. Gradually, it seemed not to work for several of them. Many organizations had to take painful decisions of suspending contracts, closing off jobs and stopping salary payments.
These and other employee related matters are at the center of managerial work as we enter a new phase of managing within Covid-19. It is not yet post-Covid as we seem to be saying all over the place. The spread is continuing, the loss of life and the preventive mechanisms are needed more than ever before. Standard Operating procedures for those sectors that were allowed to operate are harder than thought. With the institution of these measures, organizations have to get into lean management. Managers should develop a mindset for continuous streamlining of processes and improvements for operational efficiency.
Organizations must work to eliminate waste such as overproduction, waiting time, poor logistics, over-processing, sub-optimal inventory controls and unnecessary movements, unproductive meetings among others. While some organizations had focused on these mechanisms long before, it is now imperative to do so massively as the world continues to strive through Covid-19.
Uncertainty still looms. Even government guidance on 30% staffing at given point in time is difficult for some organizations. We recognize that the new normal is yet to come. Managers will still endure ambiguity in the environment for some time. I have suggested that managers should not rush into fast mode as if to compensate lost time, production and revenues. At reopening, it cannot be starting from where we left off. No. It is somehow a new or strange start. Not new but not the old ways.
Some institutions are indeed faced with insurmountable realities ranging from lost revenues, looming legal suits, spoilt inventory, untenable supply demands, lack of input materials and liquidity problems. The religious institutions have just been allowed to reopen. Good enough but the cost of doing so is quite high. It is important that leaders revisit the plans that were in place before the abrupt closure. Not much can be continued from there.
Many things have or must be changed.
There is need to generate new options in short and medium terms. We are engulfed in an era of information overload. Church leaders should not rush into decisions; neither should decision making be delayed. This is the paradoxical nature of the Covid-19 era that we are in.
We are all not sure when it will be post-Covid-19. It may take some time. Bets of today is to continue running organizations under the covid era; taking precautions at individual level, following government guidelines and embedding into systems those practices that draw lines from the lockdown that we have been in into a new vibrancy. It is not yet even the new normal; as I have written previously, the new normal is blinking. It is not stable!
By Professor Vincent Bagire
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