Marianna Politopoulou: Focus on people
The common phrase that we keep reading in recent years can be summarised in two words: Crisis and opportunity. When John F. Kennedy referred to how the Chinese writing depicts danger and opportunity, in reality he was highlighting what has become a classic binary way of thinking.
The COVID-19 pandemic confirms its timeless value; regarding everything that shapes economic reality and impacts the social environment. And once again it is inviting us “to be aware of the danger but recognise the opportunity.”
In the past three months we have faced unprecedented challenges. Businesses and employees, we tested our systemic and individual resilience We adapted to new needs and extraordinary conditions. We shaped new models of daily work, in order to preserve business continuity. We used new or utilised, to a greater or lesser extent, familiar tools, to communicate with each other, to promote our products, to provide our services.
We achieved a lot because we agreed that human life had to be prioritized. We placed safety and health before productivity. We listened to society, to our organisation, to our employees; as leader companies should. And, in the end, our sensitivity boosted the result. For all of us. We simultaneously highlighted the value of our brand with our behaviour.
The wondrous “digital” world, at offices and at home, was upgraded rapidly, aiming at serving first and foremost working remotely. Teleconference platforms created a new “virtual” business standard, with horizontal impact on all markets. The business world but also the consumer society adapted with impressive speed to the processes available to cover their needs. E-shops replaced physical stores, providing access to a plethora of products. At the same time, they covered the absence of interpersonal contact in service provision.
The state’s supportive interventions in the economic sector were crucial in keeping the social net from tearing. Jobs were kept and liquidity was provided. The procedure for the timely relaunching of the economy was put into motion. On the other hand, the modern state’s mentality helped us become early adopters in many sectors. And it familiarised everyone’s daily life with the immediate absorption of useful information. British sociologist Anthony Giddens recently spoke of the first “digital pandemic in history”. And truth is that the digital dimension of COVID-19 hides apart from the obvious health crisis, both opportunity and danger. Cutting edge technology can and must walk hand in hand with individual rights. A difficult exercise, but not impossible.
Returning to an adapted normality is, to a great extent, a new challenge. The post-COVID-19 era is still being shaped. How many changes to our lives are we prepared to actually maintain? How faithful will we be to reform practices? It is important to remain resilient regarding health and business, simultaneously; to steadily invest in cutting edge connectivity infrastructure; to promote data economy and green business opportunities; to remain flexible, effective, but above all else, human. When a company has utilised the technology in time, it will shape its own flexible and modern operating model with confidence. Then it will be more capable of caring for its employees; of multiplying its production output; of having the necessary reflexes during the next crisis.
If a company shows trust and reliability, it will certainly reap solidarity and good throughout society. And let us not forget that every decision we make today, is another day in the life of the next generation.
THE COMPANY AT A GLANCE
Sector: Life insurance
Ηead Offices: Greece
2019 Turnover: €466.6 Million
Share Performance: N/A