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Many organisations managed to adapt surprisingly quickly to the measures that were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Working from home became the new standard for many. Companies that could not afford to halt their production, such as a chemical plant that produces raw materials for tissues and face masks, had to come up with innovative ways to comply with the rules of social distancing.
The measures appear to be effective at the moment, but they do not offer a long-term solution. We will have to go back to the way things were. In all likelihood, we will no longer be able to rely on the old methods. As Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, we are heading towards a “new normal” and all sectors will have to find ways to cope with that. Fortunately, many organisations have already started thinking about possible solutions. Just look at restaurant owners who are remodelling their business to guarantee a minimum safe distance of 1.5 metres between guests.
One thing we notice is that working remotely can often easily be incorporated into an organisation's current activities. Conducting meetings online and working together remotely have become enormously popular - albeit by necessity - and they offer unique benefits. It therefore makes sense to adopt this work method permanently. However, that does call for additional measures in organisations that rely heavily on production.
We are entering a new phase: Businesses have managed to tailor their production processes to the current crisis, but they will eventually have to start moving forward again. Instead of going back to the old ways, they will adopt a new normal. What improvements to current work methods have to be implemented and what changes have to be made to adjust to the new status quo?
To make the new production method - utilising people differently, remote assistance - a success, organisations must do everything they can to support their staff. Knowledge is a critical factor, especially if it is no longer always available on location. Organisations must therefore make sure that the knowledge of their experts is carefully documented and accessible anywhere and anytime.
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