We’re All in This Together

GEORGIA BUSINESSES REDEFINE "COMMUNITY" IN THE WAKE OF COVID-19

Darren Miller | Georgia Oak Partners | April 23, 2020

As our state, nation and our world unite to mitigate the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the words “we’re all in this together” have taken on powerful new meaning.

Never before have we felt so isolated, yet so connected to our family, friends and neighbors; so compassionate toward strangers; or so eager to collaborate in humanitarian efforts perpetuated by touching stories sweeping the Internet and in daily news coverage. This unprecedented shared experience has paved the way for greater connectivity across borders and oceans reaffirming the importance of community during crisis.

With a newfound sense of community and solidarity, businesses, too, are now realizing there are important lessons to be learned. Despite struggling with a range of challenges in the wake of this crisis, many Georgia entrepreneurs and business owners are using this time to rethink and reshape their business practices while finding new and creative ways to engage with and support employees, uplift local businesses and industries, and come to the aid of citizens within the communities they serve.

In recent years, we began to see a fundamental shift in the way businesses functioned as new technologies emerged and a focus on workplace culture changed the way we work. The COVID-19 pandemic has put those changes into overdrive at an unparalleled pace bringing with it a new wave of altruism that is altering the way businesses function – possibly forever.

CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP

A NEW MEANING FOR GEORGIA BUSINESS

The pandemic has hit nearly every business in the state of Georgia in some way. Yet, despite their hardship, we’re finding many of those same businesses are at the forefront of relief efforts by donating time, money, resources and, in some cases, reinventing themselves to make products, including lifesaving equipment, to aid in coronavirus relief.

Other companies are donating food to those in need, providing recovery or rehabilitation services, working to combat fraud and misinformation and even offering free software and teaching materials to those working and studying from home. As a whole, business owners are taking inventory of their skills and retooling to survive or make a difference, while demonstrating good corporate citizenship.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

A POWERFUL INTANGIBLE ASSET

Not long ago, if your company cut a check to a charitable organization or if employees volunteered a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, it was enough to fulfill your social obligation to the community. However, now more than ever, companies are being challenged to give back to the community in defining ways. 

From buying locally manufactured products and forging new collaborative partnerships with local leaders and businesses to aligning with businesses in times of uncertainty, businesses are banding together to ride out these tough times with creative and innovative solutions and viewing community engagement as a significant intangible asset.

RETHINKING BUSINESS AS USUAL

CULTIVATING CORPORATE CULTURE

When the COVID-19 pandemic is behind us and employees return to work, they’ll be walking into a completely different world with different rules. Coronavirus, it turns out, could be the biggest catalyst for business transformation and business owners need to be ready with the understanding that it may not be “business as usual.” Simply put, the pandemic scare may have shown us a better way to work.

While we won’t know the full impact the pandemic is having on the workplace for months to come, experts have summarized a few soft predictions including the likelihood that employers will strive to expand employee support placing greater emphasis on employee wellbeing from a holistic perspective – physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Companies will cultivate a stronger corporate culture with enhanced employee engagement, inclusion and connection. Unity among employees will be strengthened and fostered, and managers will adopt new respect for life’s demands and be open to flexible work-from-home schedules.

We may worry about the future; however, it is an optimistic time for businesses. In the wake of hardship, we’re learning hard lessons and adapting to make our businesses and our workforce stronger and more resilient. We’re shifting our philosophy from “me” to “we” with a greater emphasis on community engagement, social responsibility and our ability to profoundly impact the lives of our employees, other businesses and citizens in our local communities. It’s a positive and uplifting wave moving across Georgia, the nation and our world.

ASKING THE HARD QUESTIONS

Now is the time for leadership to be asking:

What steps can we take to better position our company and workforce to withstand this storm while it lasts?

Are there any opportunities that have spawned from this time that we can take advantage of?

How will we prepare for the post-pandemic future?

How can Georgia Oak Partners help?

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