” COVID-19 India – What After April 14 for Businesses and Healthcare ? ” – April 7, 2020.

          Thousands of people world over have now succumbed to the Coronavirus Tragedy (CT), and hundreds of thousands of people remain infected. The tragedy strides ahead without any signs of abating in the near future.

          A revealing fact truly reflective of the reality today is made on Monday, yesterday, by Dr Anthony Fauci, 79,  the Infectious Disease Expert,  U.S.A.,  –  “US might never get entirely back to where it was before the novel Coronavirus outbreak especially without a vaccine”.  It may well sound true to every nation afflicted with the deadly disease, including India.

          Concern regarding the nature of actions to take after the lockdown hold sway over the minds of leaders around the world.   Nations are now seeking ideas and suggestions from experts and individuals to get their strategies after lockdown into shape. India has also sought the same. India’s lockdown period ends on April 14.

          Two aspects need consideration in this respect :  (a).  Businesses devising their path forward ;  and  (b).  Healthcare efforts and their progress.

          Cited here are 10 actions encompassing both considerations :

          1.  Coronavirus lockdown made businesses learn to organise their activities and work with less people, and people working remotely. It means that their personal supervision and management of employees have been relegated, if not to the bottom but at lower levels than before. They have to take stock of any increase in efficiency/productivity during the period combined with ‘trust’  between employers and employees to really assess the advantage or otherwise. This is the first task for the Businesses now.

          2.  It is not uncommon to note the host of benefits, privileges, and financial support that businesses extended to organise their work during the lockdown period, to keep their morale strong, and to maintain efficiency fairly stable. With the lockdown lifted and companies getting back to their routine as before we need to ask :  whether the employers will continue to dole out the benefits ;  whether the employers will be ready to share their profits more ;  whether the employers will expect a greater sense of belonging from the employees – questions that the companies’/organisations’  top management will be posing themselves to move ahead. This is their second task.

          3.  Coronavirus lockdown and the accompanying relaxations/restrictions in regulations due to the sudden, unforeseen nature of remote work altered the nature of teamwork ;  altered the practices of guidance with meetings ;  altered the nature of support from higher level management  –  forward looking companies may be willing to consider modern methods and ideas taking their plans further forward than earlier with highly confident behaviour overall. This is their third task.

          4.  Coronavirus has strengthened the human characters of Sympathy for the suffering groups ;  Understanding others’  pains/feelings sufferings/experiences in tackling the challenges ;  Sporting an attitude of generosity and goodwill ;  and responsibility for one’s actions and beliefs. Adversity brings people together. Post Coronavirus, organisations and companies have an opportunity to build on these behaviors of employees in developing a culture of workplace behaviour rooted in sincerity and honesty with confidence. This is their fourth task.

          5.  Coronavirus containment efforts have witnessed leaders at different levels of every nation  transmitting updates and messages in an attempt to embolden Peoples’ confidence and to assure them that all facilities and necessary equipment are available for healthcare in this troubled times. Post-Coronavirus Era shall strengthen  leaders of organisations and companies attempting to stay in constant touch with employees through meetings,  messages/information,  video calls and other technical tools not just to benefit them but also to afford needed counseling for their progress. While top management may well be looking forward to design a forward  planning document for the Organisation detailing the course that it will take in short term, medium term, and long term. This is their fifth task.

          6.  Establish COVID-19  only nursing homes and microclinics as a joint effort with another party. A two company joint effort can provide more value while doing things better. The areas and regions where these are to be established should be based on susceptibility of people to the disease.

          7.  Establish partnerships with similarly affected neighbouring State Governments and share experiences to make things in post Coronavirus control efforts happen before getting overwhelmed. Karnataka partnering with Telengana ;  Tamil nadu partnering with Kerala ; Andhra partnering with Orissa ;  West Bengal partnering with Bihar ;  Uttarakhand partnering with Uttar Pradesh ;  Gujarat partnering with Maharashtra ;  Punjab partnering with Haryana ; Delhi partnering with Chandigarh ; Rajasthan partnering with Madhya Pradesh ; –  purely on National Safety and Welfare considerations.

          8.  Prepare for a  ‘shake-up’  in Healthcare system as a whole. Retailers like  ‘Big Bazaar’  and  ‘Central’  can become popular health places to visit. Telecom players like JIO,  AirTel, and Vodafone can become special partners with Apollo and Fortis for Telemedicine specialities and programs. Auto majors like Bajaj, Mahindra & Mahindra,  or TVS can beome realtime solution providers to help in  chronic condition management during driving and counseling for drivers. This requires business and healthcare companies to work synergestically. Accessibility, convenience are increasingly business considerations ;  low cost and high quality treatment are healthcare essentials ; when these two mix  what emerges is extra power, extra energy, and extra advantage.

          9.  Anxiety like the optimum amount of stress needed for improved performance in general has to be tapped to make it a positive influence for growth in organisations and companies. Anxiety has the potential to turn one’s enthusiasm into productive output. Research suggests that a certain level of anxiety can prepare individuals to be motivated to make future driven solutions benefiting people. COVID-19 induced anxiety can be productively used after identification in organisations through surveys with individuals.

          10.  Use data regarding the numbers of people in areas like  ‘grocery stores/pharmacy’ ; ‘parks’ ;   ‘workplaces- residential/official’ ;  ‘religious places’  etc.  A report in the US mentions that  San Francisco witnessed between February 16 and March 29 :  72% drop in retail and recreation ;  55% drop in parks ;  and  21 %  increase in residential population. Such data can be collected in India for places like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Pune, Vadodara, Varanasi, Lucknow, Bhopal ..  ..  Data can be used by Public Health department to determine and alert the next COVID-19 hotspot. Add to this data on symptoms of patients and it will be useful in targeting specific regions. This is extremely important when people return to schools after lockdown ;  when people return to work after lockdown ;  congested areas can be gauged ;  recommendations can be shaped on optimum work hours and service delivery. Google’s anonymous location data covering 131 countries is a good source here.

          Conclusion :  All the above have the inherent potential  (a)  to do what a single entity cannot do effectively ;  (b)   provide better value to the services rendered ;  and  (c)  serve as a transition that can improve the overall performance and efficiency of independent services contributing to the National Economy.

 

  “Dieu avec nous “

  Tuesday, April 7, 2020 –  12.49 p.m. (IST)

   Tidbit :  ” Only 7-8 %  of retail industry’s modern trade sells now. It will take at least 2 years to bounce back to normal industry standards”. 

 

 

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