Together, we stand strong: overcoming business challenges in the age of COVID-19
These times are daunting. The global battle against COVID-19 has forced us to put in place measures the world has never seen before, such as social distancing and self-isolation. This has impacted millions globally, including JustCo’s 25,000 members across Asia Pacific. But as our community continues to adapt to a complex and unpredictable time, my team and I are witnessing something inspiring.
JustCo’s members comprise a mix of large corporates, SMEs and small business owners. Even as some voiced their concerns about how they were going to keep their businesses afloat, they continue to reach out in support of one another’s physical and mental health. Our members have also created ways to provide relief to their own employees. JustCo’s community team has been working tirelessly to offer the best support possible in these circumstances, such as organising virtual wellness events and e-learning sessions so that members can continue to keep connected with the JustCo community, remain engaged with the latest industry happenings, and make the most out of remote working.
These moments of human excellence are clear indicators that business continuity and community wellness work best when they work together.
We are as strong as our communities
Our community – our members and staff – are foundational to JustCo and the reason for our existence. Navigating a global pandemic will continue to engage both our physical and emotional health as we face the unpredictable weeks or even months to come, but our communities at work and at home remain the vital resources we have.
Long-term relationships with our community are built on trust – trust that they can commit a part of their wellbeing to an organisation that offers them proactive, timely and honest communication. Our JustCo Relief Package is one of the ways, where we are giving millions of dollars back to our community through a 30% reduction in membership fees for the month of May 2020, benefiting more than 3,000 companies.
No one can do this alone. This is a time to build solidarity between tenants like us and landlords, a time to share the burden and overcome pandemic-related challenges, together.
In some countries where businesses are resuming, we are offering special Business Continuity Plan (BCP) packages to accommodate companies that need flexible workspace solutions such as ours to transition back into operation.
There is no established best practice on how to deal with a pandemic of this massive scale, but these circumstances urge us now to practice being our best. We continue to keep the lines of communication with our community open, with regular calls and check-ins with our members to ensure that their needs are being met.
If we build ourselves houses with good foundations, they will protect us in the storm. The same good mindset that governed our strategic decisions must continue to guide the way we act, now that the way we work has changed in the face of this pandemic.
A key learning from COVID-19 is that we can’t take good times for granted. Adaptability should certainly factor into our thinking, but overall, good and sound corporate governance is fundamental in ensuring that business operations run as smoothly and steadily as possible, while keeping the company on the right track to meet business objectives.
As businesses navigate these turbulent times, an understandable instinct is to change their approach to company finances, but we should not sacrifice strategy for speed. Approaching business with a standing attitude of financial prudence and disciplined growth has kept us free from debt and helped us to provide relief to our members, even as the pandemic affects all businesses, including ours. These are good values to look to for guidance as we progress in the coming weeks.
Changing the way we work
Undeniably, the current situation has changed the way we work – in small, split groups, and with telecommunication taking the place of human face-to-face interaction. Networking, open collaboration and exchange of ideas are qualities that have always stood central in JustCo’s quest to make work better. Because of these values, we had the opportunity to play a part in many organisations’ business continuity plans during the onset of COVID-19, as teams split to minimize the risk of infection.
Though many of us are struggling to navigate work in isolation, we have gotten to know the benefits of flexible work options and their role in future-proofing work in the long-term, as we eventually welcome back the social interaction we crave from our workplaces. Work is fundamentally social, and human connection plays an imperative part of the work experience, as regular connections keep us energised and help expand our network.
Until then, it’s important to remember that we’re stronger together than we are alone. To move forward, we must invest in each other – in our ability to inspire, to ideate, to care – to continue to invest in our businesses wisely, and make it through this difficult period.