Each period of uncertainty brings its share of the challenges we can overcome, at least for those who survive until the next moment. Some people may have hinted that the current global health crisis may not be due to the use of certain technologies to promote the democratization of existing or developing tools.
For example, we no longer pay with cash or checks. It is questionable whether we are witnessing the end of these payment methods in favor of contactless technologies. Money is not completely visible, it is used very little. The habit of paying through contactless technologies has also caught on for a lot of off-putting.
This also happens with inspections, because back offices allow their staff to telecommute, generally encouraging wire transfers. Once you get used to paying your bills this way, you are less likely to start producing checks again, putting them in an envelope and stamping them and putting them in a box. While the mail and postal staff are waiting for it to be picked up, sorted, and delivered… I am writing this to you and suddenly I feel like I am describing a process from the past, yet it was yesterday.
What lessons can be learned from the paradigm shift brought about by the global health crisis? They are many. For example, many have had to acquire high-speed technology in order to continue working efficiently. When I wanted to prepare myself for the beginning of the epidemic I had a colleague who was frustrated that web cameras were almost out of stock worldwide.
Working with Zoom, Messenger, Skype or other video dating software is not easy to learn quickly, especially when we notice that the internet connection speed, which seems to be compatible with Netflix, is clearly limited and consumes bandwidth when the rest of the family.
This issue of network congestion has forced some video broadcasters to reduce image quality to protect IT infrastructure. For their part, Internet providers have suddenly provided speed boosts and unlimited data because they cannot keep up with the demand for new teleworkers who want a fast and endless connection. It’s easy to give everyone a temporary, time to hang on to it.
In videoconferencing, many of us had to learn how to manage lighting to provide an engaging experience, as well as background, so that our clients would not have to judge too much about their privacy. At the beginning of the epidemic many journalists did not pay much attention and were criticized for revealing much about their performances, a particular disorder or aspects of their lives that did not concern anyone, but what we saw. In the evening news.
For consultants working with a team, IP telephony has proven to be a must as it helps in providing the same customer experience even if each team member is actually at home. It is possible to use voice mailboxes along with the office telephone network even when no one is around. Software that connects to office servers (such as TeamViewer) quickly became a “necessary” requirement.
Overseeing the telework team also presents us with unprecedented challenges. When everyone is at home, comfortable hours, occasionally a lack of motivation or a spirit of cooperation, require special attention and a certain re-creation of the management pattern so that the work is done “normally”.
The main lessons to be learned from the uprising are always the same: do not wait and be prepared for any possibility. The pandemic crisis is the ultimate test of the resilience of organized consultants. Did your activities continue with minimal changes? Does your business continuity plan, which everyone has activated, include an IT legacy plan (i.e. an alternative structure that works in our diverse environment)? Did it work? Have you made the necessary adjustments? Does the next wave still amaze you?
If so, you have not grasped the technical lessons of the current crisis and you have a very big problem, the survival of your learning. Assess your response to the pandemic and have an attack plan as the next wave is coming. For my part, I want to take her damn fax machine with her …
Eric F. Gosselin, Admin.A, Financial Planner, Financial Security Advisor and Group Savings Representative, Peak Investment Services.