This article was authored by Alain Dehaze, CEO of The Adecco Group.
About a month ago, at the height of the current pandemic, a staggering 2.7 billion workers were either under full or partial lockdown. That is around 80% of the world’s workforce. As a result, many of us have been forced to work remotely while others have redeployed their skills to industries that have seen a major boom in demand such as e-commerce and logistics. And while on many fronts the world has been swift to react, the coronavirus pandemic has slowed our economies to a crawl, with the global GDP predicted to drop by 3% next year.
COVID-19 and its aftermath mark the new era of work. We are experiencing a profound change to how we work and how businesses operate. From health and safety, remote working, accelerated digitization to de-globalization of supply chains; the new world of work will present an immense challenge for workers, businesses and governments.
Leading through a crisis requires more than just managing a response to it
At the Adecco Group, we have witnessed these changes first hand. With the pandemic being both a public health and economic crisis, right at the start, we set our primary focus on securing the wellbeing and safety of our colleagues and associates and ensuring business continuity to support our clients. More than 30,000 of our own employees have worked from home throughout the past weeks and we have pulled out all the stops to continue facilitating work for more than 400,000 associates every day.
Through our brands such as LHH and General Assembly, we’ve made online learning resources and webinars available for free and we’ve closely worked with local and national authorities to help redeploy people where their skills have been needed most.
Recognising that unprecedented crises call for unprecedented measures, we have joined forces with other leading HR solutions companies and formed an alliance dedicated to helping people get back to their physical workplaces safely when the time is right. Two weeks ago, we published a practical guide that had reviewed more than 400 examples across 13 countries and five sectors.
COVID-19 has been a monumental reality check for the world of work. But just as the quick response to the crisis played a key role at its beginning, it is important now to equally focus on what comes next and build on the lessons learnt.