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Why Freedom?


The pandemic has imposed restrictions on our freedom. Businesses across many industries have been forced to shut down, and people have been essentially compelled to stay at home. Many organisations were forced to move a large part of their workforce away from the office. They had to move previously office-bound jobs into their employees’ homes. This rapid migration to remote work has made organisations realise they can indeed operate with a decentralised workforce.

For the individuals, they have gained the freedom to work from home, to be spared lengthy commutes and gained valuable time with their family. This work-from-home arrangement is turning out to be transformational as employees may not want to return to the office or work the way it was before COVID-19.

Here are 3 considerations to help you retain freedom in a post-COVID-19 world.



Choice


Empowering individuals to have greater autonomy in their decisions. Workers should not be restricted from telecommuting and having more flexible working hours. Internally, organisations should look away from a one-size-fits-all approach in managing ways of working and should provide various options such as videoconferencing tools to meet employees’ needs. In the broader economy, individuals should be provided with more freedom of choice in consumption methods. This can be in the form of providing consumers with multiple channels for obtaining goods and services.



Information


Access to data and information by people and organisations are critical in order to aid informed decision making. Organisations, traditionally used to safeguarding their data, now should leverage on the benefits of sharing their data with the wider ecosystem, allowing for analysis and understanding a broader picture.



Constraints


The necessity for physical distancing has created constraints on social freedom that we should not ignore. These restrictions are likely to continue, whether as a result of new laws or simply new habits stemming from fears of a repeat scenario. As we exchange our physical freedom for expanded virtual freedoms, there will be a paradigm shift in the way that we interact with each other. For example, virtual meetings have largely replaced in-person meetings, and this trend is likely to continue. Consequently, organisations must consider how to not just adapt; but to capitalise on this new normal.

How to Retain Freedom?


Leaders should seize the opportunity and evaluate which of the newfound freedom they should retain in the new post-COVID-19 norm that will benefit the organisation and its people. The freedom and choices leaders will soon be considering will range from where talents can be sourced and located, what role the office premises will now play and how it can be redesigned and what kind of infrastructure to future-proof against new disruptions and much more.

Some of the changes are tactical while others are strategic and represent uncompleted digital transformation which require leaders to double down their investments. Governments and the public sector should look at digitalising the core of public services to bring lasting changes to how public services are designed, delivered and consumed by the community.

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