crowded train station

The New Norm – Post Pandemic

What do you feel when you see the image above? I feel suffocated and nauseated.

The world is six months into a Global Pandemic and all ways of life (and business) are holding on until when this will “be over”. But, even if it all does end, can the way of life be ever the same?

Here are some changes that are bound to happen, in my opinon, to keep the world running:


The People – Cornerstone of any Business

When countries were plunged into lock-down so their healthcare system won’t crash, few unlikely heroes rose above the rest. Apart from the medical staff, these are the housekeepers, drivers, delivery guys, mail carriers, you name them. It didn’t matter what status they held or where they worked at, the thing that united them was that they were at the forefront of this pandemic.

Rethinking Health Plans

In a capitalist economy, all workers become an ongoing expense in a ledger and all customers are potential sources of profit. During the pandemic it became clear that business are run BY the people, and their health and well-being matter.

Social Distancing as a Part of Daily Life

I personally can’t imagine a crowded subway stations or packed diners, like it used to be, nor will I be comfortable sitting in them any longer. Even if they become that congested, can we really ignore the fact that the infection still lingers around us and hygiene standards needs to be increased, including wearing masks in public places.

Work-Life Balance

As flexible working hours and work-from-home become the reasonable method for businesses to continue operations, does it really help the work-life balance? Speaking from my experience, we tend to devote more time towards work when working from home. The strict 9-to-5 time barrier and in-office attendance has diminished. This indirectly leads to employees working at odd hours to meet the deadlines, in addition to the chores and other house tasks each is occupied with, including homeschooling since education has gone digital as well.


The Technology – Core of any Business

We are in the digital age and this pandemic only helped boost it up. How would we have ordered food or restaurants efficiently and timely delivered it – had it not been for all the food delivery apps. Or even catching up with friends and family during quarantine – had it not been for fast and free video conferencing apps.

E-Commerce and the Last-Mile Shipping

The whole world quarantined, with no other option to ‘have it online’, businesses were rushing to meet the demand on their website/app only to realize that they had not enough drivers to deliver. For those businesses who weren’t even operations on the net – well they came to the dire realization themselves – evolve and adapt, or be washed offshore. Companies should be diverting their attention on digitization of their products/services and investing into efficient last-mile delivery options.

Innovation and Automation

Both innovation and automation need a driving force to take place, which this pandemic provided. Past methods of working no longer hold true. Large companies and small business alike are getting their gears into action and developing new policies, metrics and of course processes to withstand the curve-ball that COVID19 has brought along, though the latter are hit worse due to budgetary restrictions.

Education and Healthcare

Telemedicine and virtual learning soared during the lock-down. Schools, universities, clinics and hospitals around the world adopted e-platforms and brought along their community, the old and the young, to acquire the knowledge and to provide the services while staying at home. Can the reach be expanded beyond borders, reducing the need of brick-and-mortar intuitions to provide the essentials to any society?


This is hardly a conclusive list of changes. No one knows how the world post-pandemic will look like. We still don’t know how long this will last, but we know we are in this together. Let me know what you think and Stay Safe!

FTK 🙂

Sources: Forbes | Fortune

Photo via Unsplash

Big Fish, Small Fish

In the decade of social networking and on-demand living, some businesses may still be suffering, while others find new goals to achieve.

The proverb ‘big fish eats small fish‘ is becoming more relevant than ever. When large organizations go global, they unknowingly wipe out some local businesses in both, their home country and abroad.

 

Who is affected?

Everyone.

From your local farmer’s market, to that indie bookstore around the corner, or perhaps even your neighbor who is a freelancer, or your friend who is a full-time Youtuber.

 

Why are they affected?

When big businesses get bigger, they can easily meet economies of scale  – which means they can produce more for less, which in return translates to better profit margins with reduced prices.

What’s in the mind of an average consumer? Obviously, getting the better deal. Big companies have a quality standard they commit to and if the average consumer can get same (or higher) quality than the local produce at a lower (or same) price, they will take it.

Then what happens if that single average consumer was one of the twenty people who visits (for example) a local flower shop (a small startup)? The shop would see a drop in sales, but it would be slightly recoverable. But if more and more consumers shift, the shop would see a drastic decline in sales, while their expenses remain same (or increase), they are likely to close the shop sooner or later.

 

From experience, I saw two drastic changes around me, that made me write this post.

YouTube: I follow several Youtubers who make content full-time and all what they get is earnings from YouTube Monetization. Last month, they were pledging against the “New Monetization Rules“. I looked those up, and watched their videos where they explained how it would effect them. Basically, YouTube made Monetization only available to the ‘almost popular to very popular’ content creators, while everyone else is left to lick their dust.

Goodreads: This site is great for authors and readers alike, where they can converge and discuss books they like. Recently, as a newly turned author, I posted a giveaway for my book in January. While NetGalley is another great site for having your book available tp readers; but as their packages start from +$200, I decided to stick with Goodreads. Soon enough, Goodreads announced a change in their Giveaway policies. With the newly added price tag of giveaway packages starting from +$120, self-published authors like me and other small publishers, would think twice now to host giveaways.

 

In short.

Big Fish (companies) have money to make huge investments and also to recover lost sales or expenses. Small Fish (local startups, freelancers, etc.) have limited cash and a regular expense, and so they depend highly on those possibly limited sales.

 

How can you, a consumer, help?

All I can say is support local businesses whenever you can. Most times you might not like the quality or the price, but local businesses (artists, freelancers, authors, etc.) are willing to take one extra step for their local clients in the form of unique products, special customer service, or even discounts. Their earnings are often reinvested to provide better product/service, or used as their living expenses. In both cases, it provides an overall benefit to the local society.

 

🙂 FTK

 

Photo Credit: Visual Hunt.com

Corporate Culture: The Sleeping Beast

Culture an any form, is the shared value and beliefs a group of people follow. When it comes to organizational culture, the ‘shared’ value and beliefs in an organization, governs how people behave and their decisions.

Or in more simple terms, “Culture is how organizations ‘do things’.” — Robbie Katanga*

How important is it? Well, Tony Hsieh (CEO, Zappos.com) said,

If you get the culture right, most of the other stuff will just take care of itself.”

 

We all know how Google is known for their ‘awesome’ corporate culture*. The facilities provided at their head-office, is in itself a jaw-dropper, but their continuous importance given to office atmosphere, employee recognition, and community welfare has made Google’s corporate culture into a benchmark most companies strive to achieve.

But what if a company doesn’t pay attention to all that. They don’t have well-incorporated values, neither they find any importance in recognizing employee accomplishments. This behavior then leads to top-management pursuing personal agendas, middle-management slacks off and lower-management gets the grit of the work. Organizational politics may ensue and overall employee productivity may drop. Okay, all that maybe a bit exaggerated. But I’m saying based on experience (albeit a couple of years).

For example; manager disagrees with their boss for a medium-impact-but-high-budget item, boss wouldn’t budge from their decision or would stall the approval, manager starts to micromanage the team, atmosphere become intolerable during meetings, everyone has a bad day at work.

Now the above might happen anywhere, but how often does it happen? Is the Boss (probably a Baby-Boomer) at fault for being stingy against change? Is the Manager (probably a Gen-X) being stubborn because they want recognition? Is the Team (probably Millennials) being exploited because well, they are millennials?

When I was job-hunting; among all other company/position characteristics, I paid attention to corporate culture most of the time. I will effect how I’ll work, what I’ll do, and most importantly, if I’ll like to work there and how I’ll grow as an employee – as a person.

So depending on who manages the unit, department, or the organization; they will have considerable amount of power over how the organizational culture is developed within their ‘territory’. Specially when an organization is in a silo-structure, it becomes important to make sure that each silo has a strong culture in itself.

 

Corporate Culture is the intangible, internal beast of the organization that is sleeping. you can let it sleep, or awaken it and win over your competition.

 

🙂 FTK

 

Credits:

1* What is Organizational Culture?” Via HBR

2* Google’s Organizational Culture Via OfficeVibe

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Workforce Equality: A Fleeting Dream?

According to World Bank Data (1), female participation rate in Labor Force has dropped from 52% to 49.5% in the last 20 years. Furthermore, based on Deloitte Board Diversity Census (2), Women in C-Suite Roles of Fortune 500 Companies are a mere 20% in 2016, of which only 3.8% are minorities.

It’s the twenty-first century and female representation in workforce is this weak.

Several reasons contribute to this problem on larger scale:

Cultural Norms
The ideology that women are the ‘house maker’ in conservative cultures and developing nations, often leave women less accomplished then their male counterparts. In some cases, women aren’t even educated enough to do even the least skilled job, and that is “if” they are allowed to even work in the first place.

Industry Stereotypes
Some industries have become highly male-dominant, such as Accounting and Finance, or Technology. In these industries, a career path for a female worker is often riddled with roadblocks and managers’ bias. Even if women do enter such field, they are likely to be harassed into quitting their job sooner or later.

Laws and Regulations
Issues like Wage Gap and Paid Maternity Leave are still an existing issue in many countries. Businesses aren’t doing enough to address this.

 

World Economic Forum (3) stated in their Global Gender Gap Report 2016, that it could take 170 years to close the gender gap.

 

So here’s hoping to a future of workforce equality.
Here’s to the girls of tomorrow that will break that glass ceiling.
Here’s to the girls of today that challenge stereotypes.
The world is waiting…

 

🙂 FTK

 

Credits:
(1) The World Bank, “Labor Force Participation Rate, Female (% of Female Population Ages 15+) (Modeled ILO Estimate),The World Bank Databank (2016).
(2) Deloitte and Alliance for Board Diversity, Missing Pieces Report: The 2016 Board Diversity Census of Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards (2017).
(3) The World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report 2016 (2016).

Photo via Visual Hunt