Amid COVID-19 Recovery, Companies Must Focus on Other Risks

14 July 2020 Spiros Fatouros, CEO at Marsh Africa
Spiros Fatouros, CEO at Marsh Africa

Spiros Fatouros, CEO at Marsh Africa

As cases of COVID-19 continue to increase both around the world and in South Africa, businesses need to cast their glance beyond the immediate threats posed by the coronavirus pandemic, and consider the potential and actual repercussions from new and emerging risks, including a possible second wave of coronavirus, natural disasters, and the ongoing protests whether around against systemic racism or gender-based violence.

The process of economic re-opening has given many senior leaders a sense of comfort and control as they focus on the near-term process of recovery and restoration. Such sentiments are premature, noting that the economic re-opening is not equal to full pandemic recovery, especially given the lack of a vaccine or widely effective therapeutics. In order to combat the illusion of control, senior leaders need to find a balance between the optimism of recovery and the realism necessary to prepare for the next pandemic wave, the next challenge.

Key to that balance is building strategic agility into every organisation’s decision-making cycle. Even while senior leaders prepare to scale their operations back to a “new normal,” they must have the agility to pivot their attention towards an array of new risks that could come their way.

This is what it will take to be future-proof.

In a new Practical Guide to Returning People to the Workplace Safely, Marsh risk and safety professionals have drawn upon their extensive knowledge to look at the short-term future-proof aspects for readiness in bringing people back to work. As the economy begins to reopen, organisations need to identify immediate actions to consider as they prepare, implement, and manage a return to on-site work.

Ultimately, while not all risks can be anticipated, mitigated, or removed, corporate leaders can hedge against the unknown by instituting a culture of agility and flexibility, one that dedicates resources to strategic risk forecasting to support organisational health and viability in even the worst of times.

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