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The COVID-19 Digital Shake-up

The fight against Covid-19 provided the biggest shake-up and reshaping of the workspace New Zealand has seen. The same can be said of organisations the globe wide. In his recent Forbes article, Bernard Marr reflects upon the way COVID-19 made it imperative to digitally transform our places of work to be able to operate effectively. He suggests those companies using technology well to rethink their business models will continue to stay ahead of their competition.

The new set of rules

  • FAST FORWARD TO THE CLOUD – Leaders build a digital core and scale it across their business quickly. And this is only possible with a strong foundation in the cloud, which provides the innovation, efficiency, and talent advantages to do things differently and fast. 95% of digital leaders have significant cloud capabilities, compared with only 30% of laggards.
  • BUILD A DIGITAL ‘A-TEAM’ – All companies must now be as good as digital natives to deliver the first-class experiences customers and employees have come to expect. But creating your digital foundation quickly cannot be done alone, and it requires new kinds of relationships with digital, technology, and cloud companies. Recruit the handful who can help you build and become part of your digital core, who will invest in your success and who will give your business the attention and resources it demands.
  • BE A LEARNER – Organisations must think beyond traditional ways of doing business to solve complex problems. Learn from your customers, your employees, and the leaders in your own and other industries. In response to COVID-19, first responders in health and public sector organisations quickly adapted successful interactive virtual agent models from telecommunications and financial services organisations with great success.
  • MOVE AT ‘LEAN-SPEED’ – Almost overnight, organisations moved fast to become more digital and work remotely, and CEOs are saying they “don’t want to go back.” To retain this level of agility, consider what internal barriers fell during the crisis. Then create lean decision-making and governance processes, streamline procurement, and evolve your culture to support a new way of working.
  • ACT WITH PURPOSE -Speed means you need your people with you. Clearly articulating purpose upfront is essential to cutting-edge change management techniques that harness the power of employees to drive change and act with agility.  Companies that understand the unique nature of this crisis and apply these new rules of transformation have the opportunity to emerge even stronger and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Further Considerations


  • Even companies that were previously resistant to the concept of a distributed workforce have taken steps to allow working from home, adhering to the necessary precautions required to halt the spread of the virus.  While the ability to work from home is a benefit many employees value, there are cost reduction opportunities for the business.  Has your need for square footage or parking spaces reduced due to employees now working from home?
  • Organisations have also experienced improved collaboration and employee satisfaction rates related to the work/life balance afforded by offering work-from-home opportunities.
  • For some organisation, the ability to work from home highlighted the lack of technology infrastructure to offer that capability without some sacrifices to ‘business as usual.’ Subsequently, an unexpected outcome of COVID-19 has been that companies now more tangibly realise the benefits of fast-tracking digital transformation. Setting up with the appropriate technology to allow working from home in most cases was done swiftly with immediate beneficial gain.
  • More difficult to manoeuvre has been the company culture. For both employee and manager, the need to build trust and a mindful move away from micromanagement have been areas of importance.  While some companies may eventually go back to rigid work-in-office policies, others will realise the benefits of working from home for employees and that in fact, it is an effective location option. If nothing else, they will have valuable experience about what is needed and how to accommodate work-from-home needs in the future when it is required again due to another outbreak or other reasons.


  • Implement smarter systems and processes to increase agility, capacity and efficiency.
  • Remote working is easier for all with cloud meeting and team collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft, since March 2020 have rolled out a plethora of enhancements to support companies and organisations in their digital journeys. View details of recently released  Teams Enhancements supporting internal and external collaboration.


  • Increased usage of collaborative tools both in and out of the office has brought about a more personal approach to online interactions. By humanising interactions via screen share, video conferencing and meeting recordings, all accessible from Teams Channels, team members have increased autonomy and remain ‘in-the-loop’ regardless of location. Being in the same place does not guarantee collaboration of this level.



By Steve Hurst | 15 July 2020

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