Far be it from me to say ‘I told you so’ but – well, I did. Last month I said this lockdown would give companies the chance to step back, take stock, decide why it does things the way it does and, given no alternative, do things differently.
Since then I have had conversations with moving companies from London to Auckland who all tell me different things, but all with one theme: they are doing things better now than before. I understand that it was Plato in his Republic who said “Our need is the real creator”, which became translated as ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. I don’t know if that’s true because I don’t read ancient Greek, however, the sentiment certainly is.
I have spoken to one company who has saved a small fortune by not building a new office block that it thought it needed, but now realises it doesn’t because so many people are working from home. There was another who realised that now its offices are being cleaned twice a day, people have stopped getting ill – with anything. A company in London has taken the enforced leave to re-cost all its past jobs to work out how it can make more money in the future (you’ll read that story in our June issue). And there are countless companies that have suddenly realised that video surveys really do work (see page 28).
Many are looking forward to ‘getting back to normal’ but, as I heard one senior member of the NHS say the other day, “We don’t want to get back to normal, we want to get back to where we want to be.” This is a time of unprecedented (see page 16) uncertainty, but one thing is certain – we are not going back to the old days, no matter what happens.
When one mover said that his new methods were so much more efficient than before the lockdown, I asked why he hadn’t changed before. He just said “Because we’d always done it that way”. Movers are a bit like that: if it works, don’t fix it. So, improvement sometimes needs a gentle nudge – or maybe in this case a good hefty kick.
So, there we are: ‘through adversity we create strength’. I can’t find out who said that; so, I guess it must be me.