Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Andrew Palmer
Business Editor
7:18 AM 23rd June 2020

Back To Tomorrow

Covid-19 has been a catalyst for change.
I was reminded of this when, of all things, I happened to catch an episode of Downton Abbey the other day. Lord Grantham was discussing with his butler, Carson, how to reduce the size of the household staff.
Carson was resistant to the change his Lordship was suggesting. That was entirely understandable because unlike his boss he could not predict in the late 1920s, what was happening in domestic and world affairs, because he was not party to the fact-finding or  importantly, notice what was happening to other landowners in the area;  therefore change was inevitable.
For many, change is heading our way as businesses begin to reboot in a nearly post-pandemic period.
Those of us, who like Lord Grantham, can assess the past and look towards tomorrow, have an opportunity to blend the best of what we knew before 23 March with the future.
And, as the light at the end of the tunnel begins to brighten with the easing of lockdown, opportunities for change are appearing.
For me Frances Hesselbine captures the zeitgeist: ‘Our challenges open new doors to opportunity.’

We were all too quickly jolted out of our comfort zones into adapting to something alien.

For the past three months we have had our heads down furiously focusing on maintaining the day-to-day functioning of our businesses with colleagues stepping up to embrace the technological change, that so many, for so long, have resisted.

But now we have the opportunity to tweak the known and rebuild; it will take strength and time but the catalyst has given us courage.

The question arises:  how do we step up, lead this change and build on all the things we have done well since lockdown began?

As leaders we need to recognise the different factors that have played a part in our physical and mental states, remembering that it will not have been the same for everyone.

For example nearly 60% of employees in a recent survey found that there was anxiety about returning to work.

As to leadership, a staggering 59% of those surveyed reported confidence in leaders falling and 50% saying communications are worsening.

If that wasn’t enough only 50% of employers expect to utilise remote working whilst the expectations of their employees is that 45% are expecting to work more flexibly.

So, to bring about the transformational change needed to restart it is important to recognise how we have led our teams and organisations through the crisis and move to the next stage and embrace new ideas.

Andrew Palmer, Group Business Editor, and Phil Marsland, a regular contributor to the Yorkshire & Lancashire Times business pages, have designed a three step service that works with companies to provide an independent perspective to help you see the wood for the trees. You can find more about this service here: