A New Me

 Life as we know it is about to change.

We have over the centuries been faced with many pandemics, the 11th century saw the rise of leprosy causing sores and deformities, the black death killed one third of the world’s population in 13 47,  the great plague of London in 1665, Spanish flu in 1918, and now COVID-19.

As hard as it is, as a human race we have managed to survive. As hard as it is going to be we are going to survive or at least that is what I tell myself. I was in a fortunate position to have been retrenched just before the pandemic hit and immediately positions froze and the future looked dim.

Now you can look at life and say you were dealt a major blow and that is most likely the truth but what good is that going to do besides ensure you become depressed.

A NEW ME.

As we sit here worrying if we have a job, we have a significant number of business owners worrying that as lockdown extends or is adjusted if they have a business. So how is that a recipe for success?

 Well remember as the impact of COVID-19 hits it is important to understand that catching this disease is a matter of when not so much a matter of if. So let`s prepare for it.

Is this not the time where the business owner is forced to work more closely with staff? Is there not where we will establish now levels of trust between employer and employee? Is this not an opportunity to get back to the basics and grow the business?

So let’s work through this, it is not a matter of worrying about the fact am I going to catch the virus, let’s face reality I am. Do I cocoon myself in my house and constantly worry about my own wellbeing and refuse to go out in the world, refuse to live my life.

The lockdown has already caused significant losses in business profit. So what is it that I need to do what is the new me.

Unless you are in a fortunate position to have significant financial resources, we all are going to have to weather the storm. Stop worrying about the COVID-19 virus, as hard as that is and worry about making it through the storm and then rebuilding after the storm. Down scale, we have already had to down scale our social life, we have already been forced to downscale how often we eat out, just take the next step. Work out how much you need to survive, what it is going to take to make it through the storm. Focus on how you are going to rebuild after the impact.

Let`s look at it a different way 3 552 985 cases of COVID-19 across the globe with 249 079 deaths and this is just the start. Whilst the following statement is statistically incorrect, bit to portray a point, that is over 3 million people that will not be focused on their job, that is 249 thousand people that will never return to their job. So as the infection rate rises and it will and as the deaths rise and it will, more and more opportunities will be made available. Business owners will have to rely on their staff more and more.

If you are to make it through you have to ride the storm out, whatever that takes but understand you cannot do it alone. I watched the social media cycle when COVID-19 hit, first there was disbelief and explanation. This was followed by hope and praying, not we have descended into a total lack of tolerance. I have seen the most passive person turn into a lion and make decisions that ensure his survival to the detriment of others. Do we honestly think we will survive this alone?

I sat with a salesman yesterday who has been forced to do telesales and whist he is very clear about the fact that he hates it. Down scale and do what needs to be done to keep the business afloat. Do what needs to be done to keep your company alive. Do the jobs you hate because that is what will keep the business going. As your colleagues become infected, be adaptable and be prepared to take on the extra burden and embrace the fact that you will have to do two people jobs. At least you are fortunate, you still have a job and you still have your life. You can still get paid. This will be the new me.

So how do I make it through the storm, ensure that you form a strong employer/employee relationship.

  • Be tolerant – Support your boss he is human and give him leeway as the stress builds, he will be unreasonable, he will shout at you for no reason,  after all he is human we hope, he also feels the stress. He does it because he cares.  Understand his harsh tone saying and expecting that you must do more whilst he does less; do those jobs that you hate. After all you are privileged, you still have a job. Establish the new me.
  • Build trust – As many people have had to work from home, adjust to the new me. Work harder at home than if you were in the office. You are still at work and the business is still afloat. Don’t see the time at home as a paid vacation. Trust me the business will close. Ensure that your manager knows you have his back and you are in his corner.
  • Look for new ways of working – I have run many teams across different geographical locations and have had to also at the same time integrate different cultures. This was done through the enablement of video calls. My son has been totally enabled and does his schooling through video calls. I was even surprised they wrote a test the other day.  At Sabenza IT we have reverted to all interviews being done utilising video calls. Use technology, to your advantage. Think what needs to change for you to ride the storm. You cannot do the same things you did before, this is the new me.
  • Communicate – We face an exceptionally high level of uncertainty and this uncertainty will enable shoot from the hip decisions and negative reaction. This will also invoke an unreasonable feeling of fear. Work out solutions together and explain actions. Work as a team as opposed to against each other. We tend to find that people are more tolerant if they understand or see that there is some logic to what seems to be an irrational decision.
  • Look for new things – As the business world adapts to COVID-19 look for new ways of doing business, look for new ideas to ensure you ride out the storm. The number of people that all of the sudden have taken to selling face masks and sanitisers are huge. Predict the change and ensure you remain ahead of the curve.
  • Have fun – Despite the harshness and impact of COVID-19, take time to have fun as a team. Drive competitive behaviour and have meetings were just for those 30 minutes we all forget just how bad it is out there. Support each other and be on the lookout for any team member that may need a pick me up.
  • Be flexible – Business is not the same and it is not going to be the same for a long time. Understand the needs of the business and its customers. Work together with your customers catering for uncertainty and changes in their business and adapt your business to compliment theirs. As the supply chain collapses, use the time to find new ways of work, new ways that ensure sustainability.
  • Understand the need – We have seen many business`s place hiring on hold. I caution against this, this will negatively affect your business long term. Please understand that as more and more people are infected. You may require more and more replacements. Isolate your critical staff and ensure they are protected against the virus but have a plan B should they become infected. Delay the hiring process, don’t stop it.

DECIDE WHAT IS A NEW ME…

Working From Home

Working from home, is remote work really the future?

A lot of Industry experts have theorised that with the 4th revolution, we would have persons working off-site more than on-site and many companies moving towards remote work. Forbes published an article in which it indicated that when lockdown occurred, nearly 50% of the entire USA had been working remotely, this includes 55 years and older. Which begs the question, would we be able to increase our pension age thanks to remote work mitigating injuries in the workplace?

South Africa might not yet be on par with the USA when it comes to infrastructure, however many companies already had their VPN’s in place prior to Covid-19 hitting us for a 6 like Shahid Afridi against SA back in 2013. The Servers maintained as not everyone had been using it at the same time. We have seen servers crashing, reduced internet speed and service providers having to upgrade lines due to the added strain. This was infact reactive and not proactive. Why should our infrastructure not be full capacity ready?

At Sabenza we are fortunate enough to have great leadership that also believes in being Pro-active. We went into full remote working a week before lockdown and all the homes were made fully operational. Staff were paid half their salaries in advance to ensure they have sufficient food in their homes and to purchase sanitising products and masks and we let our clients know we are still 100% here for them, ready to assist with sourcing only the best delegates as we have prior to Covid-19.

I was asked what Sabenza IT’s differentiating factor is (Thanks to the mentorship of a Great man and Two Dr’s who specialise in business development, I knew what this meant) and I didn’t have to think very hard to know. If you ask any of my delegates that I have successfully placed, is I do not remove the human factor from the process. I warn them that like the Memory of South Africa beating the English in the last world cup (hopefully not ever), I will always be there for them. We take an interest in our clients and get to know our candidates. This is what makes me so successful.

We do not know what the future holds, but we are certain that we will most probably will not be back to “business as usual”. We do know this for sure: whatever the future holds, be it remote work, infrastructure upgrades or expansion of your companies IT capabilities… Sabenza IT will be right there with you, assisting with the same amount of enthusiasm and energy we have for the last 20 years.

Stay Safe and Stay Home!