McKinsey: how to get the world back to work
As the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic continues to redefine our daily lives, McKinsey has compiled a report on its business impact.
Chief among the report’s findings is the resurgent nature of the virus outbreaks globally, which is disrupting the resumption of business continuity.
Although 85% of new cases are appearing in Europe or North America, countries in Asia which initially contained COVID-19 well (Singapore and Hong Kong, for instance) are now implementing new measures to quell new spikes of cases.
Compounding the problem is the lack of a coherent method of ‘tackling’ the issue among countries: most have employed preventative initiatives of some degree (social distancing, remote working, etc), yet others like Sweden have opted for ‘herd immunity’.
McKinsey notes that nations are carefully scrutinising others for what might prove most effective, as their “goals are to maintain many aspects of economic and social life today” and this includes business.
Strategies for returning to work
In order to help define potential strategies for returning the global economy to work, McKinsey includes the insights of four separate reports:
Measure and strengthen national healthcare: Andres Cadena, et al opine that a country’s workforce can only restart if its medical infrastructure is adequately prepared to cope with an influx of cases once society ‘re-opens’.
This doesn’t just extend to ventilators and PPE (personal protective equipment), but also thorough testing facilities in order to minimise the number of uninfected people self-isolating.
Gradual reintroduction of normality: David Chinn, et al state that each district of a country/urban area should be examined in order to determine how/when to try and resume normal business operations.
Three things will be required for this approach to work: effective and agile leadership, simple solutions and consistent guidance.
Focus on local leadership: Tom Latkovic, et al consider strong local leadership to be fundamental, particularly focused on six key areas: public health, societal compliance, healthcare capacity, industry safety, protection for the vulnerable and economic health.
Consider a new ‘normal’: Oliver Tonby and Jonathan Woetzel are less optimistic that the world will continue the way it was. Instead, they highlight how countries like China contained the virus relatively easily and speculate that other nations may take note.
In particular, the researchers consider how the social contract between individuals and the state may change, and aspects of e-commerce may come to define work as we know it.
Additionally, the move from globalised supply chains to regionalised ones could shift economics in unexpected directions, with companies seeking to mitigate the interconnectedness which facilitated COVID-19’s spread throughout the world.
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