2020: the “new normal,” the “new now…”
What comes next? What about tomorrow?
International intelligence agencies are all spreading the word: there will and must be many changes in the ways our societies have been organizing themselves for the past several decades. It’s time for the “new normal” and the new normal is now. Everywhere, leaders are thinking about how to reorganize organizations and the workforce. The new “smart work” will need to accommodate virtual collaboration and remote work at scale on an efficient and sustainable path. The focus, we understand, will be on a new approach that balances remote and onsite work. As history often repeats itself, we are thrown back to the Renaissance and to the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, where “man is the measure of all things” (Protagoras).
The “new tomorrow” will face one significant challenge: reorganizing the work force will not be efficient and cost-effective in the long-term, if it does not take into account the fact that going forward, employers must put mental health and mindfulness at the heart of their business strategies. Coping with different stressors and managing cognitive overload during the crisis has taught us that we can only go forward when we take well-being and resilience to the next level. In other words, when we put the human back at the center of things.
“Techniques that proactively enable better work-life balance—making work and private time more predictable through feedback and the use of technology will be key to maintaining a productive workforce,” an intelligence report tells us.
The challenges are immense, with existing disparities in the skill profile of the work force between the developed and the developing world. Worldwide, two billion people work in the informal sector in emerging and developing economies and are particularly at risk of falling deeper into poverty due to the crisis.
Through this prism, in the “new tomorrow,” the economic recovery of our societies will be measured, we can predict, by leadership capacity and how fast organizations and their employees can absorb change and build capabilities. It will be a revolution of re- and up-skilling and a promising future for leaders who are wise and talented enough to work with empathy, adaptiveness and care.
Coming back to the basics of renaissance masterminds, and in the words of Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72), “a man can do all things if he wills.” Like the Italian renaissance Uomo Universale, what we must learn in this 2020 “new normal” and beyond is what philanthropy so wisely teaches us: to return man as the measure of all things.
*President, Associação Internacional
de Filantropia (Macau)
Macau Daily Times is the official media partner of the Associação Internacional de Filantropia (Macau).