TRENDS – 24th August 2020

Lest these articles start to get boring, let me stray into a political area.

 

Border closures.

I accept that I am in a minority view on this issue and so this week’s article is my own and does not represent the views of our firm.

  1. In my view, border closures are a serious error.
  2. This policy error flows from another policy error in how we are dealing with COVID-19 more broadly, namely that we are quarantining the healthy population to protect the vulnerable, instead of properly quarantining the sick and zeroing in on outbreaks. Never before has a pandemic been approached in this way.
  3.  The Victorian mistakes on quarantine have had the perverse effect that we are increasing the shuttering up of healthy people and healthy businesses.
  4. Most people accept that the initial shut-downs were sensible, but these ongoing snap closures are having a drastic impact upon our social, cultural, educational, health, tourism, and business environments.
  5. In my view, we need to open up now but we need to deal with this disease with a laser-like focus on outbreaks. We need to create commando style teams which go into hot zones and test, trace, and treat. We need test results back the same day, not three days later. Meanwhile, the rest of Australia must be permitted to continue to operate while these outbreaks are dealt with. Sure, this will be expensive, but much cheaper than keeping formerly healthy businesses and people on economic life support until a vaccine is found.

 

Back to less controversial topics.

Working from home (WFH).  

Like most businesses, we were well prepared for our people to work from home when the need arose. And for a time, WFH works well. Who doesn’t want a change of scenery now and then? And for us in the Brisbane office, we did not miss the daily commute.

But our clients have reported that over time a certain ennui sets in with WFH and people become less productive. Productivity isn’t everything, but it is if we want to run successful businesses so that we can help our clients prosper in their own businesses. And then those businesses can employ more people.

In my view, nothing beats a team approach to solving problems, and video conferencing won’t cut it in the end. But from time to time, the flexibility offered by new technology certainly has potential benefits for all of our workplaces.

 

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