What COVID-19 taught to working life


Kimmo Koivu

2020 brought many unexpected new things to us. A song from Beatles states: “Come together” – and in 2020, for sure, the world was facing new challenges – together. The pandemic is an experience of generations. In ten years, people will most likely ask: where were you in May of 2020 when the world was shut down?

Despite all new challenges, Finland and its economy has survived. Horrible news from all around the world have driven us to stick together, both in life and business. Juho Lipsanen, a board member of LATO, stated: “Digitalization in Finland did not just accelerate, it made a triple jump forward”.

In LATO we agree with all of this, and thus we gathered up 10 insights from strategy execution and everyday work life in this time of uncertainty. In other words, we found out how the major step in digitalization are realized in business?

During difficult times, Finnish people tend to focus on relevant subjects, and thus…

  1.  Business did not stop – it just transformed with the help of digitalization and innovation
    In almost all industries, COVID-19 created the atmosphere of uncertainty and misery. The government and stakeholders from economic life quickly adopted the new laws and new type of collaborating – with the help of massive support assets provided by public institutes, of course. E-commerce arrived and it is here to stay for many industries: even some gourmet-restaurants are using, either their own or outsourced, online shopping platforms. Quite agile, isn’t it?
  2.  Remote work is here to stay
    If management ever wondered whether remote work is efficient or not, now that doubt is gone for good. Here at LATO (like in almost all organizations), we had to take our marketing, sales processes, CSM-processes and basically all operations 100% online. Webinars and online work in different formats are now permanent ways of doing everyday business – both from operational and strategic perspectives.
  3.  Well-formatted strategy is effective also remotely
    If you have implemented clear plans in face-to-face life, they are working also in remote life. Our customers have stated that strategy, operations, and people can be managed well once companies have easy-to-use and commonly approved online tool(s) in efficient use.
  4.  Shared digital platforms – shared information – shared opinions
    This statement related to the previous phase: once LATO Strategy Tool is acting as a management platform for all people of an organization, knowledge (and status information) can be easily accessed (and accepted).
  5.  Allocate resources efficiently – digital platforms took away unnecessary business trips and commuting
    Actually, this is a two-sided coin. Employees don’t have to waste their time in traffic or personal transportation. On the other hand, Teams and Zoom meetings are getting to everyone’s nerves, that can’t be ignored. Year 2021 will hopefully teach us how to balance between online and face-to-face meetings: what are the meetings that require human presence and what can be executed quickly via Teams or Zoom?
  6.  Digital methods bring effectiveness to operations and clarity to data
    When organization’s management and employees share the same information and digital platforms, everyday routines and tasks can be executed effectively and efficiently. Updating your own responsible goals and actions takes only couple of minutes and status information is immediately available for everybody.
  7. Strategy without goals is like a prayer
    2020 forced us to goal-oriented thinking. Strategic objectives can only be accomplished with advanced goal setting.
  8. Efficient strategy is both continuous and interactive
    Our clients noticed that strategy is a communicative process and that was emphasized during 2020. Communications must be transparent in every step of strategic management process: planning, execution, and monitoring.
  9. Working communities kept together and will stay together
    Social media is filled with news related to digital communities from different organizations. It has been almost touching to notice how common coffee moments via Teams or Zoom increase sense of solidarity and togetherness. We have shared pictures of cats laying on top of our laptops, laughed at some common bloopers that occur in remote work and helped our children to do their homework in remote school. This communal approach will stay, and no pandemic can take that away from us!
  10. We managed and we will manage
    During spring and summer 2020, we could at least enjoy happy summer times and the “joy of light”. However, then the Autumn came with rain, darkness, and tougher restrictions. Face masks and hand sanitizer is here to stay, BUT…

The vaccinations have arrived, and the speed of vaccinating people is luckily increasing worldwide. Now we are facing the final push of these challenging times, and from behalf of whole LATO team, I would like to give a humble thank you to all our valued customers and other stakeholders that we are honored to work with!

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