Every disadvantage has an advantage

Author: Manu Steens

In this post I write my own opinion, not that of any organization.

With this statement we associate a very well-known Dutch footballer: Johan Cruyff. Another version of this statement says “Never waste a good crisis”.

Every crisis has its advantages?

This statement is rigorously universal: every crisis presents opportunities. Behind every risk there can be an opportunity. Is that so? We are now in the midst of a terrible crisis. In Belgium alone, there are around 9000 corona-related deaths. How on earth can you say that there are advantages to this crisis, you will say. This is so: people who have experienced a corona death in their family, have lost someone dear to them, victims of domestic violence, Gas fines as a result of lock-down fatigued behavior, etc. are confronted with the dark side of the disease.

Advantages of lock-down

But there are two sides to every coin. So what about the positives? Are they really there?

A first advantage of this crisis is that many people are teleworking en masse. The “bosses” of their organization are actually forced to have confidence in their employees, something that many may only have when the work result is presented. Others have had the confidence from the start, and have already adapted their HR policies to allow more teleworking even in non-pandemic times. This has the advantage that in the long run people will go “to work” differently, especially less than. With some organizational talent, less desk space will be needed. That saves. There will be less driving by car. This saves in several areas: less fuel, fewer kilometers, less maintenance, and other car-related expenses. But also less exhaust fumes: the air in the cities is purer. There is less noise pollution from the cars,…

Due to the introduction of the lock-down, the closure of the exit venues, the number of weekend casualties dropped considerably. People get to know each other better.

Needs come to the surface

These interventions have been going on for several months now, and people feel needs coming to the surface for which they need each other more. For which they have to apply a new way of solving. In other words, new solutions are emerging. The shops opened, and for a while there were fears that the garden centres would be overwhelmed. Nothing could be further from the truth. The people were very disciplined. There was no question of being caught off guard. After that, the regular shops reopened. Again, there was no question of being caught off guard. This seems to indicate that a new culture is setting in for many people, one that has occurred spontaneously because of the habit of staying ‘in your room’ for two months now.

A new culture

Such a culture change can therefore be seen as an opportunity, in which companies can save a lot on aspects of employment. Hopefully, the number of traffic jams can also be reduced permanently. As a result, the general emission of particulate matter from cars is also limited. The number of accidents is decreasing. People can be less rushed at work that they can handle more at home, which means they gain private time. After all, they have to travel significantly less to and from work. “With a little help of their friends”. And for a distrustful manager, it can be a good experience if he sees that the work has been able to continue, that his employees have continued to dedicate themselves. Thanks also to on-line meetings of an ever-improving technology called the internet. And that they will do even better at home in the future if the children can also go to school. A culture change in the organization in which employees have more flexible hours can be a blessing for some professions.

In this way, every disadvantage also has its advantage. Although it remains human nature to only want the benefits.

Manu Steens

Manu works at the Flemish Government in risk management and Business Continuity Management. On this website, he shares his own opinions regarding these and related fields.

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