The coronavirus outbreak is currently dominating global headlines and causing widespread panic. Surgical masks and hand sanitisers are selling like hotcakes and people are stockpiling essential items. The pandemic has dealt a blow to global business and disrupted supply chains and industries such as manufacturing and travel. Flybe was the first but perhaps not last airline to go into administration as a result. Our healthcare system is being put under severe pressure, workplaces and schools are closing down and high-profile sporting events are being cancelled.

For organisations that were already battling with the aftermath of Brexit or the administrative burden of the extension of the IR35 tax legislation, the outbreak presents yet another challenge.

It is, of course, understandable that COVID-19 is causing considerable anxiety. People don’t have immunity to this new, very contagious virus, and a vaccine may be many months away. 

However, our advice is: 

  • Don’t panic or spread fear. You or someone near to you will get it and you will most likely be back to work within a few days.
  • Wash your hands and follow NHS guidelines. In particular if you or a family member has an underlying health condition. 
  • Work remotely. Work is about outcomes anyway, not time or place. We have always done so. After 10 years and over 100 people working directly for or with Rainmaker, we still have no offices.
  • Transform your team’s ways of working. Work out loud, experiment, be brave.
  • Use tools like Slack and G Suite. Not only to accomplish remote working but to transform your working practices and in doing so truly enable your people.

Market challenges are here to stay, be they Brexit, IR35, the coronavirus or something entirely different. It is up to each organisation to ensure that they adopt agile systems and processes that enable iteration and change at pace in order to mitigate risks and deal with any future threats head-on.

So no matter the outcome of COVID-19, and we are sure it will not be as bad as the fear mongers would have you believe, turn the situation to your advantage and experiment with truly enabling your people.

We have practised this since we formed the company and helped many other organisations accomplish just that. If you want help, just ask. 

Jan Joubert, CEO, Rainmaker Solutions, jan.joubert@rainmaker.solutions

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