There’s no denying the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has cast an ugly shadow over the world economy and the future of millions of businesses. And just as some countries are starting to emerge from strict virus suppression measures to begin the long road back, others are staring down the bleak reality of crippling second and third wave lockdowns.

As media reports help fan the flames of fear, uncertainty and doubt, how can we look past the doom and gloom and see the opportunity beyond?

Portas Global Managing Director, Carlos Ruiz, says it is important to look for reasons to be hopeful, because many great business ideas are born during times of crisis.

“We will conquer this adversity and, as we have learned from other global challenges, there will be thriving businesses that rise up. Airbnb was born during the last financial crisis; Amazon was started just before the dotcom crash on a makeshift desk. Look at the success of business disruptors such as Uber, WhatsApp and Slack, which launched at the end of the 2008 Recession or go back to the beginnings of Disney at the start of the Great Depression in the late 1920s. There will be good news stories happening right now that are just beginning to emerge or others that we don’t yet know about.”

New thinking in unprecedented times

They say necessity is the mother of all invention, and perhaps a worldwide pandemic might be the ultimate definition of necessity.

Portas Global’s Director of Operations, Chris Lincoln, says that business leaders should be inspired by others who have reinvented or transformed themselves during COVID-19.

“Opportunity begins with new ways of thinking, and businesses that transform themselves will be the good news stories to come out of this. For example, the manufacturing company making parts for cars was suddenly making parts for ventilators, and that will keep them going until their normal production resumes. I believe that by December up to 70% of ventilators produced for the UK will be manufactured in the UK, and before then it was probably a small fraction of that.”

Take advantage of the new normal

Twelve months ago, we would never have believed that companies of all shapes and sizes could successfully transition their employees – and all the supporting infrastructure and communications – to a remote work model, but like it or not, it has happened.

And Carlos Ruiz says he’s observing a changing mindset amongst employers as they move past the initial challenges of remote working, find the new normal and then open themselves up to the opportunities that arise once their people are no longer constrained to working at Head Office.

“Businesses are starting to see the enormous upside of building a remote workforce as well as learning how to manage the intrinsic challenges this new way of working entails. However, for our own sanity it’s also important to focus on the positives to get through this crisis and come out stronger.”

“My advice to HR leaders is to recognise that the timing is right to capitalise on access to a global workforce that was not readily available 9 months ago. You no longer have to employ people from a nearby city or even in your own country. You can choose to employ them in another country, where you have no office location, and often they can be better skilled with a competitive salary base and may even be a better cultural fit for the role,” Mr Ruiz said.

To explore the world of remote global employment, contact the Global Solutions team for a discussion about how they can help.

Ph: +44 (0) 115 888 2268

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