COVID-19, a disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, is responsible for global disruption that has been chaos for the past two years in all aspects of life, living and just being in the world. All the while, a number of different variants of COVID have been identified and now, the world has merged into sub-variants of the variants. At the time of this writing, four Omicron sub-variants are being tracked worldwide … one of which bears our name: Stealth, or BA.2.
As the virus continues to evolve, there’s no telling how far this will go. In the meantime, business leaders are left scrambling to resolve how to safely manage their workplaces within an overburdened workforce.
Many have slowly started to return to normal operations – or as normal as possible – offering flexible schedules, remote work and gradually transitioning remote employees back to the office, warehouse or facility, or offering a hybrid schedule. This has helped with social distancing and empowered employees to stay safe.
Others, however, have also been slammed with issues. Employees are calling out at the last minute because their children’s school had an outbreak of COVID, closed and they are unable to find childcare. Some employees become sick themselves with COVID or miss work to care for sick loved ones. Still becoming even more common is employees who are caregivers to the Baby Boomer parents. In fact, from late December to mid-January, according to Washington Post analysis of Census Household Pulse Survey data for that timeframe, approximately 8.8 million workers reported missing work either because they were sick with the coronavirus or caring for someone else who was ill.
This is causing economic woes. No longer is Omicron fear centered around “contagion or aversion to in-person activity, but it’s actually causing acute labor shortages from the sheer number of people who are out sick,” Diane Swonk, economist at accounting firm Grant Thornton, identifies. Therefore, business leaders must figure out how the current four Omicron variants (including Stealth Omicron) are, and how potential future variants could impact their business as well as determine which health and safety measures to deploy.
Chief executive officers across multiple business verticals, including healthcare, restaurants, packaged food, manufacturing, logistics and more, all agree: This year will see more volatility and no end to COVID. Volatility obviously exists in the U.S. supply chain but also in terms of labor shortages, market capacity to establish and sustain a positive upwards track, and uncertainty of the future.
As far as COVID itself, Dr. Marlow Hernandez, CEO of Cano Health, a healthcare service for seniors, has a downbeat speculation. COVID is not going to end in 2022. “No, sorry,” Hernandez says. “Because it’s so transmissible, because it continues to vary.”
Entering this new phase pandemic volatility looks (and feels) at bit like this:
Six former Biden advisers, all recognizable names in American medicine, recently published three opinion articles in The Journal of the American Medical Association encouraging the Biden Administration to adopt a new domestic pandemic strategy. It should focus on the “new normal” of living with COVID and its variants indefinitely, not wiping out the virus.
Thinking should shift from fighting past battles to strategizing and developing steps on what needs to be done to prepare for today and what comes next. The advisers suggested recognizing that COVID is one of several respiratory viruses circulating among the world’s population and governmental polices should be developed to address all such viruses together.
While the “experts” are left to figure out the virus, and all its twists and turns, in our economy, business must somehow continue. It may not be “as usual,” but today’s C-Suite must find a way. It starts with engaging empathetically to employees’ lives and well-being in ways never done nor experienced. In a recent episode of McKinsey Talks Talent, a business and management podcast that features conversations with leading experts, Bryan Hancock and Bill Schaninger, talent experts, identify mental health and support systems as top priorities.
Living in years of uncertainty takes a toll on people. Stress and anxiety can ensue, making life difficult. Hancock identifies burnout as a current issue. When you ask people what their number one concern is about coming back to the office or working from home, the answer is the same: “It’s work-life balance,” says Hancock. Commute is also a major concern for people coming into the office and for those working from home, there’s no boundary between “home” and “the office.”
Business leaders who responded to or are learning to respond by having open conversations with employees about grief, longing and anxiety caused to them by the pandemic as well as listening to their employees are offering needed support. Employees don’t need more programs, meetings or “to-dos” added to their lists. They need to know that C-Suite professionals recognize:
Adaptation, adjustment and re-adjustment must follow and be quick, easy and fluid to deal with the ever changing, volatile world. By working with employees, C-Suite professionals can get employee input on how they see their “new business normal” amid Stealth Omicron and other current and future variants. Adopting employee ideas, adapting their ideas to meet the needs of the business, and adjusting and re-adjusting as necessary gives employees’ ownership of the business’ decisions-making process and ultimately, the overall success of the business. Employees will be more apt to follow through and execute when they are directly involved in the process and creation of any changes, adaptations and adjustments.
Deploying and using our proactive, remote video monitoring solutions, that are customizable to your business’ environment and needs, enhance the security of your business during this time of COVID, Stealth Omicron, other variants and beyond.
Should the government impose another shutdown, should you determine that working from home is best for your employees, or during off-hours when no one is there, Stealth can help protect you and your business. Our remote video monitoring solution is made up of technology and human intelligence working together. High-definition cameras, pre-programmed with advanced video analytics, allows technology to filter live, real time video streams. The technology can detect certain activities and when it identifies an activity that could be suspicious, it alerts a highly trained Stealth security operator who takes over and acts to deter unwanted activity.
The pandemic has and continues to affect our economy. Because of this, new, pressing issues are upon us, such as the backlogged supply chain and increased thefts. Here are some examples:
Construction companies are experiencing labor shortages. With Stealth Omicron and other variants, more people are getting infected, which means as workers get sick, even fewer workers are available for work on active construction sites. Also, materials, such as lumber, has increased dramatically in price, leaving construction sites vulnerable to theft.
In the multifamily residential world, most staff are working from home these days, but that doesn’t mean that visitors are slowing from visiting the community.
Other commercial properties, such as shopping centers, retail stores, etc. have succumbed to smash-and-grabs, especially as reported in the news in California. In tough economic times, crime increases as people get desperate.
In all three of these industries, our security solution can help deter unwanted situations. Because our remote video monitoring is always watching, our trained operators can see construction site thieves when they sneak onto the property and watch their attempts to steal or vandalize. The same holds true for our live video monitoring on multifamily and commercial properties. Our operators can help keep residents and shoppers safe by watching parking garages and other common areas on the properties and help deter criminals and thieves when necessary. Our operators can activate on-site speaker warnings, contact on-call management or other on-call employees and call police dispatch to request officers on site for an in-progress event.
Contact our security specialists with your ideas, thoughts, issues and concerns, and our specialists will suggest options to make your business safe during these days of Stealth Omnicron, future variants, supply chain woes, increased theft and whatever else the future holds.