Betting on where the economy lands
The critical dimension impacting decision making for everyone, is trying to take a position on what is really playing out in the economic environment, how deep and how protracted it will be. Current estimates suggest a four to six per cent dip annualised this year, and if the lockdown extends, or is reintroduced to deal with a second wave of the virus, the impact could eventuate in a 14 per cent contraction. Modelling looking at how many business may not survive and also the number of jobs that will no longer exist all impact the amount of space we will need.
“Every organisation that we’re talking to is struggling with how to take a position on the likely economic impact,” EY Partner Adam Canwell says. He is seeing the locus of attention at executive levels shifting from the now, to what the next really looks like.
“There are too many people across organisations just assuming we are going to return to normal. The challenge for executives is how to change those assumptions, so their people realise what they return to will be different and require different ways of working,” Canwell says.
“We know virtual work is going to be normal going forward and we know we’re not doing it brilliantly yet, we’re all knackered, we’re doing too many meetings, we haven’t optimised remote working. The question is what does that look like, and how do we get a tired and stressed workforce ready for the next shift?”
How do we use technology to understand what is working and what is not? How do we understand which of our employees are struggling and which are thriving and support our teams to learn from each other?
The impact of the coronavirus at a global scale means that while our cognitive bias pushes us towards a comfortable assumption that things will return to normal, the shock it has caused to our economic system means we have to consciously override that bias. By accepting a very different future, acknowledging that we can't know exactly what it will look like, and planning for adaptability we can ensure organisations as well as their people are given the best shot at developing resilience for the future.