In one of our previous blogs, we said, “Remote work is going to be the next trend in work-life. The only missing piece was the right environment. The pandemic created this environment.” And this environment came at great costs. COVID-19 which looked like another flu in a little province of China, little did we know, changed the world we live in at such magnitude. This change has irrevocably transformed how we work. As the pandemic gripped society, forcing organizations to sustain with come-what-may practices, the workplace culture took a toll and employees started quitting, which led to what we now know as the great resignation. But in the face of this adversity, mankind has yet again proved that resignation is only just the beginning because what follows is – a great revival.
The pandemic in that sense illustrates a key feature of what it means to be alive in 2023, in an uncertain world with a growth mindset and proactive approach to life.
The tragedy of COVID-19 wasn’t magnanimous and devastating, to begin with. In such a desolate world, finding hope wasn’t easy. Working in a world where everything was shutting down took much more strength than we give ourselves credit for. But in the midst of this despair, we innovated and thrived and we found new ways of life. We transformed the great resignation into a great revival.
In this blog, we are going to discuss the journey of traversing the space in between this transformation.
Let’s begin with the chronology of events. This is divided into two parts.
The first deals with the beginning of the tragedy and the impact it had. And the second part reveals the underlying hope in the middle of this tragedy.
So, here it goes:
The Great Resignation
- The First Crack:
Winter was just approaching that year when the first news of a pandemic in China came out. We dismissed it as just another pandemic that we’ll never hear about again. But it didn’t stop quite there. The news continued talking about it and sooner than we knew COVID-19 had made its way into our neighborhoods. Worse even, a cure hadn’t been found and the only way to curb it was distance. In a blink of an eye, the world shut down.
- Suffering Everywhere:
COVID-19 didn’t just herald disease and death along with it, but also economic collapse, unemployment, depression, and even more deaths. The world had shut down, which meant that every company had to close its doors. The unemployment rate was at an all-time high while the income rates were at an all-time low. Lay-offs were becoming a regular activity. Rents were increasing. We were losing everything we’d ever worked towards. But how were we supposed to stop thriving when it was the most essential? So we began to find little shards of hope in everyday life and the ways that we work.
To sum up, COVID-19 posed businesses, large or small, with a great challenge. The only way we knew how to work was to show up every day after long, hasty commutes and spend hours at our desks with our colleagues. But the reality, as we knew it, collapsed within a few months as an unprecedented event hit our lives. The traditional ways of working didn’t work in this world. Something had to give in. Something had to change.
Amidst this crisis, a ray of hope was simmering beneath the surface. Tenacity and creativity were making their way into everyday life. We were now swimming in the direction of change. The world was never going to be the same.
COVID-19 also established how little control we really have over the world we live in and for that very reason, how much more we can do to be proactive.
The Great Revival
As conditions became more severe, more ideas came to the surface. We figured out how to work together from a distance. It wasn’t an easy road to tread, but we persevered, and voilà! In this process, we have uncovered a completely new and efficient way of working.
To further elucidate this with more clarity, here’s an example of a tech startup that maneuvered these changes with hope, integrity, and better execution:
In the wake of the pandemic came the great resignation of the CEO of a sprouting tech startup. Things had looked bright until then but now the leadership seemed to be giving up. This led to confusion and uncertainty among people across the organization, particularly the lower ranks. You could even smell reproach in the air.
While the wind was swirling downwards, there was a gust of hope rising from the bottom. The team decided to use this challenge as an opportunity for growth. Time signaled change and they jumped on this bandwagon and invited yet more changes.
It took them a few months and a lot of readjustments but it seemed to work.
One crucial step was to maintain morale within the organization. They did this with new incentives and reward programs designed around time and efficiency. For example: hitting certain milestones led to certain rewards; so did complete tasks within specific time frames. These changes might seem minuscule but they worked like a breath of fresh air amidst the trite corporate environment.
Now that they had the momentum going, streamlining work became easier. Unnecessary steps within the process became more glaring and could be weeded out with ease. The focus was now on investing better on tools and systems that helped them automate and optimize. So they got cloud computing systems among other things that helped them coordinate better and stay organized.
When challenges are met with perseverance, more often than not, they turn into springboards for growth. And this is exactly what happened. The new and better processes led to a more efficient product and people began to notice these changes and in a span of a few months, the number of downloads was significantly higher. New processes and newfangled efficiency created a new surge of simmering energy within the organization heralding The Great Revival.
The story of The Great Resignation transmuting into The Great Revival is a powerful reminder of human tenacity and adaptability in the face of challenges. Even when times seem tough, with strong leadership at the helm, a business can come back stronger than ever before. It takes shaking things up a little and moving things around like investing in people, new technology, and systems but it’s very much possible. And when you have strong systems at the core, you create businesses that are capable of surviving even in the direst times.
Businesses had to find ways to circumvent the bollards of COVID-19, but the fittest ones found a new possibility of survival. Businesses as a whole, as a result, became more agile. While the internet had become a new civilization already, we saw it become a huge aid during these times. Businesses were taken online, in some cases completely. Fluidity became not just a facilitator but the core of everything. From working hours to business decisions as a whole to approaching the market and solving problems, fluidity underlies most processes at a successful business today.
The great revival has also with it, brought a new possibility of life. And it’s just not about productivity, it’s also about all the savings we get to do, as both businesses and individuals. We save money because the overhead costs of offices are reduced in this mobile work setting. In addition to this, we save so much time. All those hours spent behind the wheel every single day feel like a distant reality now and show us the value of time spent intentionally doing things that we actually like.
The benefits don’t end there. With a flexible work environment, businesses and individuals are now transcending geographical boundaries and are not benefitting from the boundlessness of the cloud. Talent and opportunities are now accessible from any part of the world to any part of the world. This enhances the possibilities of quality of work because one is not restricted by their location anymore. The only dominant factor now becomes work.
Now that we have seen the opportunities brought upon by the great revival, it’s safe to say that a new way of working has officially arrived. And it’s here to stay.
What does the future hold?
If there’s one thing that the pandemic has corroborated, it’s that we live in an uncertain world. Our versions of reality can change before we even realize it.
We also have now seen how interlinked everything is. What started out as a health hazard has completely tipped over our work lives. We now know that we can have a deeply satisfying career along with a happy and healthy life.
But we also know that the effects of the pandemic don’t end just here. COVID-19 continues to loom at a distance. And we still don’t know how many offshoots we’ll be left collecting and dealing with in the future.
While other yet larger forces connive to change our lives, we only know for certain that our lives are uncertain. But with the ways we transcended the greatest resignation of our times into the greatest revival that we have ever seen, we also know for sure that we can treat every crisis as an opportunity.
Every crisis presents us with a chance to reevaluate our thought systems at the foundational levels and make adjustments accordingly. It’d be a shame if we failed to use this opportunity to grow and evolve. This opportunity is a stopgap to competitive advantage if we allow it to show us the limitations we impose on ourselves and use this insight to become better.
It’s too soon to decide what COVID-19 has still more in store for us but the only thing we can rely on is our own resilience, creativity, and ability to find solutions in the face of difficulties.