Our hearts go out to all who have been affected by the deathly impact of the COVID-19 virus. Too many have paid the ultimate price. It has however ,been energising to see how many people have ‘stepped up to the plate’ to help their fellow citizens during these trying times. I would also like to record a shout out to all those people within companies who have overnight established full operational businesses from home. It is remarkable! I do think that the branding of‘essential or key workers’ could have been better. All workers are essential or key to ensure than a society and economy can function well in times of normality and times of strife.
So why a ‘catalyst for good’? As you know, a catalyst means acceleration of the change of state. I draw your attention to core factors that will, in my view, drive change forever. The seeds of change were upon us, but the deadly bite of COVID-19 has caused a huge acceleration.
The ravages of COVID-19 have hit hardest at those who are less well off. We have seen the power of a competent, equal access, health service. No $1m bill after COVID-19 treatment! The homeless substantially removed from the streets of London to hotels,and many are resetting their lives having been given a new chance. The role of schools in society has become clearer. Education is core but importantly schools provide a backstop to the less well-off for food as well as a safety net for vulnerable children. Plus, a ‘home base’ for children when the house holders are working.We must continue to invest in these core society platforms in the new society we live in. We are leaving the world of survival of the fittest to enter one with an inclusive culture facilitated by these social platforms. They can be the foundations of the new society.
We saw the huge outpouring of voluntary help across the world from all walks of life. The natural DNA of most people is to want to help. Within the UK and other parts of the world, communities came together to support those who were at risk and today thank you to the social platform workers.
We also shone a light on some blind spots in the world we are living in. COVID-19 struck deep and hard at the elderly, with many left vulnerable and isolated from those to whom they were close to. The very people who are the reason why we are all here.
We have, in many cases, been reunited with our families and, if we are not living with them,seeing how much we miss the contact. Family is of course blood related at the core, but today’s family includes those who we hold important and close to us whether blood or through friendship.
We have seen, through the extended period home working, that the work does not need to be done at an office. A more acceptable balance can be achieved that is better economically and socially. The rat run of the daily commute is over for many. Family as a core fabric of society and culture is back.
Technology has been changing the world for decades but at times has been perceived as a negative as jobs are lost. The benefits of collaborative systems that allowed family and friends to stay connected became the norm. One branded offering, Zoom, became a verb, even replacing the previously ubiquitous “Skype me”! Home working was proved to be successful as technology delivered anytime, anywhere, any place, effective work environment. More jobs will continue to change or be eliminated with the further introduction of technology, but that will free people to have more time with their families and to follow new careers with renewed energy perhaps in the social platform business.
One of the most unexpected consequences has been on the appearance of blue sky and clear water in many parts of the world and the dramatic drop in carbon emissions. The impact of carbon-based travel become apparent almost overnight. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity. Let’s all build on this unexpected impetus to accelerate our embrace of a carbon neutral world
We have seen in our histories how families and nations, when faced with adversity can pull together and make great sacrifices, because we see the greater good. We must, as individuals, be very wary of those who seek to divide us. We need to be tolerant of all opinions, as they are just opinions. Strongly stated opinions are not facts. We must not stray across the line into that dark world of arrogance, where we think our opinions are facts! Facts require independent proof points. Check the dictionary!
We are still working through the full impact of COVID-19 and will be for some time but let's be energised by the positives that we have already seen. Let us all help our leaders move us forward and accelerate the positive changes in the post COVID-19 world.
Keith Todd CBE
Chairman & CEO KRM22 plc