Building Resilience During a Global Crisis

During this unprecedented time, when new ways of working are becoming the norm, social isolation is also making it difficult for employees to stay focused and maintain productivity.


If The Beatles - who some call the most influential band of all time - were still around, they’d agree that the last few weeks have felt like a hard day’s night, many times over! Their biggest hits in the age of COVID-19 would probably be ‘All you need is soap,’ or I want to wash my ha-a-ands, sung to the tune of ‘I want to hold your hand.’

Wherever you may physically be, you have now been living with, and adapting to, a drastically altered world for almost two months. It isn’t news for any of us that the Coronavirus crisis has led to hundreds of countries closing national borders and announcing lockdowns. It has disrupted global supply chains and tourism flows. According to research on the ‘Psychological Aspects of Covid-19 Pandemic in the general population’, the impact on individuals ranges from a fear of the virus itself, collective grief, prolonged physical distancing, and social isolation, along with financial insecurity and uncertainty.

But as it impacts countries, communities, and individuals, it is also teaching us lessons in humanity, prediction, action, and collaboration. When we feel like all our ‘troubles seemed so far away, yesterday’, it would be wise to also remember to ‘let it be.’ Disruption and ambiguity are part of life. What matters is - do we have enough resilience? And if we don’t, how can we build it?

Here are my key takeaways, inspired by the Fab Four, to drive resilience in this time of uncertainty:

We can work it out

Remote working does not allow for a work-life balance. In the post-COVID world, it’s all about work-life integration. Today, as we adapt to working from home while sharing space with children and pets, we have also taken on additional roles of teachers, daycare coordinators, and chefs. It’s now routine to have a colleague’s child needing attention in the middle of a conference call, or someone’s pet deciding to jump onto their lap during a team video call.

As we all begin to acclimatize to this new virtual reality, it is essential to remember that events like these are simply going to happen, since a routine workday now includes our families. We’ve learned that embracing spontaneous moments can be a critical opportunity to discover new dimensions of our coworkers and clients. Even in the times of social distancing, these can ultimately help us build deeper relationships with each other.

With a little help from my friends

During this unprecedented time, when new ways of working are becoming the norm, social isolation is also making it difficult for employees to stay focused and maintain productivity. It is, thus, essential for organizations to find new ways to keep their teams engaged. What we all need now is compassion, stability, hope, and a renewed sense of purpose. The industry is taking several steps to make sure each of us gets by with a little help from our friends. Some of these include regular employee communications from leadership, fun team building activities to help employees unwind, and virtual wellness sessions. We’re also seeing companies highlight positive sentiment across the organization by spotlighting impactful employee stories.

In fact, we’ve seen so many stories of hope, resilience, and pride within our organization. One such example is of an employee who arranged for special permission to drive a colleague’s family back to their hometown. Or another who has been making sure that stray animals don’t go hungry, and also distributing food supplies to local communities who need it the most. Our people are making masks, raising funds, and encouraging each other to carry on carrying on.

Say you want a revolution

During the lockdown in India, one of our employees had to take her dad to the hospital for dialysis. But even through this time of personal challenge, she took the time to clear a certification exam offered by APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals), which made her more productive in her current role.

Even as the Coronavirus changes our lives, maybe forever, the need to adapt and reskill still remains a constant. The half-life of skills will be between 3 to 5 years, and continuous reskilling will be imperative to survive in the new world.

Even as it becomes critical for individuals to be curious, humble, and able to learn new tricks, organizations will also need to re-look at their model of reskilling. Online learning will be even more relevant than ever before. And customized learning paths will need to be chosen over the one-size-fits-all policy.

Let me end by revealing a way in which I’ve personally upskilled – I learned how to give myself a haircut while in lockdown!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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resilience global crisis Piyush Mehta CHRO genpact


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