We need to keep a social distance
– strange terminology, as being 'social' is getting close to each other. We are
working via Zoom, Skype and other platforms, meaning we don't get to talk and
gossip around the coffee machine anymore. All the essentials we experience as
human beings at work are taken away by something we can't see, smell or feel.
That is really creepy.
I find it strange that people are not communicating
with their peers, but are complimenting them on the great job they are doing on
LinkedIn and other social platforms. Perhaps people are worried they will lose
their job so are complimenting the boss. Kudos and praise given in this way
won't help your motivation nor your career.
Of course, we are all worried about our future, it
will not look or feel the same way as we have been living for the last 100
years, but some good will come out of all this. Think about how to make things
better. Open your mind to new opportunities and initiatives. Don't stay in your
home office waiting for that call but proactively reach out to your fellow
workers and customers.
Don't fall into the trap of those great publicity
initiatives; some are just plain sad. I'm a strong believer that making PPE and
protection gear for key workers is a noble thing, but it's not a sustainable
solution. Beer and ink companies making disinfectants is amazing, but they had
most of the ingredients, the packaging machines and the technology for
distribution already in house to make this happen.
manufacturers cutting and sewing face masks for PPE is also a great, noble way
of helping – but again it's not sustainable. Showroom machines are production
machines, but our infrastructure is not geared to work that way. Instead, we
need to build solutions for our customers, new machines that can produce this
personal protection equipment fast and efficiently now and for the long term.
We need to be the facilitators for the market.
Here is a small calculation. In the Netherlands we
have a population of 17 million people. All need masks that cover the nose and
mouth, as the government and the WHO have stipulated, and you need to replace
these masks at least three to four times a day. So, if 50% of the Dutch
population need a mask, we would need 44 million masks a day or 1.3 billion a
month – and that is only for the Netherlands. The same goes for gloves and
other protective coverings.
We don't have the resources to make enough acrylic
plastics, let alone all these masks worldwide. I'm also not even talking about
the environmental catastrophe for all that waste.
I'm not a virologist or doctor – and don't want to be
either – but we have to keep our heads clear of panic.
So what then? I would
advise you to call your customers, ask them if they need your help, provide
helpful suggestions for new products that are needed today. Making signage for
floors and printing social distancing signs is one way to offset your
commercial production. Companies who are making products today should invest in
training their staff for the future, reorganising their logistics and maybe
even their administration. Look at your stock: is it still all good and useful?
There are many ways to keep your company afloat. Get help from consultants to
come out stronger after the pandemic.
Soon things will return to normality and we will look
back at this with a smile – because we made it happen. Please keep supporting
the health workers, protect older people and try to reduce your own stress.
Soon it will be summer so enjoy the sun and spend time with your family and
friends – even if it's a FaceTime call away.
Stay strong, stay safe.