The new normal will endure – and why that’s a good thing

The highs lows, twists and turns of the coronacoaster have affected everyone. Everywhere. But not necessarily all in a bad way. For Talbot, it’s meant a massive shift in the way we do things and it’s unlikely that we’ll go back to normal.

Because – basically – why would we want to?

Winston Churchill is credited with coining the cliché, ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste’. Many businesses, including Talbot, have used the crisis as an enormous experiment in working from home, an opportunity to accelerate the digital transformation and make a corporate shift to a new way of working that we believe will deliver long-term value on a number of fronts.

Most of us had become used to spending up to two hours a day commuting, often fighting traffic or public transport systems. Some would spend a full day on domestic or regional travel for an hour-long meeting, while others would spend endless days on long-haul trips to visit international clients or suppliers. All this without blinking an eye to the personal disruption, fatigue, health impacts and costs involved – never mind the carbon footprint.

In South Africa, the rapid adoption of ‘the new normal’ has been particularly striking. For years, Europeans have used their daily commute on busses, trams and trains as time well spent, answering emails and catching up with colleagues and customers. Locally, corporate employers have been slow to realise the flexibility and agility that mobile technology has to offer across the full workforce and, until now, these have been reserved largely for the working environment.

Over and above this for Talbot, the drive to work remotely had one fundamental principle at its core. Instead of clamping down and tracking every individual’s every move and every minute worked in everyone’s day, we encouraged people to communicate and, above all, TRUST each other… and the results have been phenomenal.

Our people have stood tall, shouldered accountability and grown rapidly in the process. The outcome is that our business’s growth trajectory is starting to accelerate at an even faster pace than before.