THE GLOBAL MANUFACTURING & INDUSTRIALISATION SUMMIT
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Workforce: Working Through the Pandemic

Our era will be defined by the clear rift between the period of pre-corona and the ‘new normal’ that will emerge in our post-corona world. In this unprecedented new reality, we will witness a dramatic restructuring of the economic and social order in which business and society have traditionally operated.

And in the near future, we will see the beginning of discussion and debate about what the next normal could entail and how sharply it differs from what previously shaped our lives. Some countries like Brazil, Sweden, Singapore and the UK (at some point) opted for a ‘herd immunity’ approach to tackling the coronavirus in order to preserve their economies from faltering.

Proponents of the ‘herd immunity’ method claimed that the cost of shutting down the economy for an indefinite period would have more damaging consequences on its citizens than the virus itself. They called for physical distancing and insisted that preventive efforts should be placed on vulnerable communities rather than the whole population. On the other hand, advocates for ‘cocooning’ believed that the necessary steps required in a pandemic environment was to have a total lockdown of cities (as was the case in Italy, Spain and France) for a period of time to tackle the outbreak.

Amid the grim picture and shock to our livelihoods from the virus-suppression, lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis can generate a steep learning curve and sustainably improve corporate resilience as a result.

  • Was there a third choice? What other options would have been needed to reignite our economies while ensuring the restoration of social activities?
  • In what ways can ‘cocooning’ help keep the economy afloat considering the constant drive for productivity, upskilling or re-skilling, and innovating for growth?
  • With COVID-19 unintentionally accelerating remote-work through digital platforms, are companies shifting traditional setups to future digital workplaces? Will this shift be possible in the current context of developing countries?
  • Which industries have been dramatically affected and transformed as a consequence of
    ‘cocooning’? Have we seen any impact of this in economically vulnerable groups, like youth and women?
  • How will companies leverage cross-sector solutions by working with other companies? For example, the food industry had restaurants collaborating with supermarkets and online delivery platforms to protect jobs at the height of the pandemic.

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