„COVID-19“, „The invisible enemy“, „pandemic“, „quarantine“
These headlines and terms are familiar to society in relation to the coronavirus (or “SARS-CoV-2”). Since the spread of the virus in Germany has progressed rapidly, the government has responded with restrictions for the population. These are to protect the country’s inhabitants from an explosive spread of the virus.
The restrictions include the closure of schools, nurseries, child daycare centres and catering businesses as well as the introduction of restrictions to going out and having contact with others. But how can this crisis be overcome? What strategies are there out of the lockdown?
One strategy is the achievement of a herd immunity. For this, approximately 70% of the global population must have been infected with the virus in order to become immune to it and to prevent further spread of the virus. Sweden is a country that is deploying this method. However, this method is receiving criticism due to a higher fatality rate.
Tracking apps are to help trace infection chains and, by creating movement profiles, warn other people who are in danger. All the relevant data is exchanged via Bluetooth or GPS. Tracking apps are already being used successfully in Asian countries such as China and Korea. However, due to country-specific data protection regulations, use of such apps is not possible within a narrow time frame in all countries.
Another method is social distancing. Here, all social contact is to be reduced to a minimum. This means no visiting family and friends and the closure of national borders. Additionally, school pupils and university students can receive home schooling and employees can work from home or in suitable shift models. One is to leave one’s own home only to buy food, go to the doctor and to go to work. The restriction of contact is to stem the spread of the virus enormously.
The coronavirus is to be combatted using a suitable vaccine. So far, there is no approved preparation. A few vaccines are already being tested. However, it is unclear how long the development of a vaccine will take.
The aforementioned strategies are currently being used to get out of the lockdown.
The Bavarian government has since relaxed some of the restrictions. This includes teaching pupils at school, the opening of catering establishments and visiting family members. The requirements are following hygiene and distancing rules. This means wearing mouth and nose protection masks as well as adherence to a certain minimum distance.
The public are now gradually returning to their usual everyday routine, though with restrictions. The existing rules on hygiene and distancing are now largely established and accepted in society. Which strategy is the correct one, however, is hard to judge. Due to daily changes and constantly developing research findings, the exit strategy must be adapted individually to the current situation.
Whatever route out of the lockdown is pursued, a lengthy process back to normality must be anticipated. A quick end is currently not foreseeable. However, one thing is sure: in addition to the many negative aspects, the coronavirus situation also has a few positive aspects.
These include new food for thought regarding the digitalisation of companies and the structuring of shopping, sales and logistics chains.
Logistics and Packaging Planning
„Nothing is as constant as change“
– Heraclitus –
For nearly half a year, a single term has dominated the world’s media and people’s personal everyday life: coronavirus! Many people associate the term “corona” only with the brewing trade (…I can’t take hearing the joke about this beer anymore). A beer that, in my opinion, does not even have bog-standard level. It can perhaps be best described with the word “constant”; it changes nothing. Not its taste while drinking it and not my mood after I have drunk it either (at least not for the better). Recently, however, the term “corona” has meant anything but constancy. It implies and demands a high degree of change.
The current coronavirus pandemic impacts on all conceivable areas of life. However, coronavirus particularly changes everyday working life and impacts, among other aspects, on internal communication with colleagues and superiors as well as the communication with external partners and customers. Work from home, furlough and ban on contact are just a few of the keywords that are having a massive impact on the current daily working routine. From a global perspective, however, this pandemic is not only revealing shortcomings and failings in politics and in the healthcare system of many countries, but is also highlighting rapidly and mercilessly to many companies their own antiquated working structures. The speed and impact of this crisis is turning the economy on its head, on a cross-sector and cross-border basis. As quickly as this virus began to spread across the entire globe, so quickly all companies and their employees had to adjust and change their habits. An alternativeless, lived-out experiment without long preparation and implementation phases or tedious workshops. A circumstance that entails a great many risks but that, ideally, generates added value for companies. One of the central key concepts here is “digitalisation”. Often heard, frequently used, rarely (correctly) implemented.
However, the present conditions are forcing many companies to rethink their digitalisation strategy and policy and to act. This forced digitalisation is making them think again about their business areas and will, in the medium and long term, possibly lead to new digital business models, digital products and improved digital work and task structures. The very country where the first proven case of coronavirus occurred shows in its language a possible positive perspective on this precarious situation. The Chinese character for crisis consists of two symbols which, read individually, have the meaning danger and opportunity. An opportunity we can and should all take advantage of. Thus, in these times especially, softening and adapting antiquated and analogous structures is equally without alternative, and yet there has rarely been a better time to take the necessary steps that help to prepare one’s own company for future tasks and to shape the future working life of each employee and the success of the company. A showcase example for active digitalisation is the practice of working from home. The coronavirus pandemic has led at an unforeseeably rapid speed to a change in people’s daily working routine. In areas where it was possible, home offices were introduced at a moment’s notice. Working from home – for many this initially sounds not all too problematic, and yet many are not used to it. Especially the companies and employers themselves. For many companies it is new territory and means huge expenditure, especially with a view to trust and IT security.
In my view, after the crisis, working from home or mobile work will not become the normal and day-to-day work form. The human desire for social contact is too great. The spontaneous chat with colleagues at the coffee machine, the rapid, creative brainstorming sessions before, after and during meetings and the joint lunch breaks that further strengthen the team fabric; all examples that, in addition to the actual work, form equally important aspects for a happy and productive working environment and that impact on the future success of the company. Nevertheless, I believe that the adjusted working methods can awaken new potential in the employees and equip them for new creative tasks and solutions. At this point, I would like to highly recommend the blog article of my colleague on the “dos and don´ts of working from home”.
Logistics and Packaging Planning
“My husband is now working from home and I must say…
- he is always very motivated at work
- he is always very friendly to his customers and colleagues and he is always in a good mood
…good to know! important information that can also come in useful in a private context…” 🙂
My name is Alexander Schätz (29), and this could be my wife saying this.
I am currently working as a logistics planner at the company, particularly in the area of container planning.
The current situation is challenging for us all.
A very particular challenge is working from home.
To avoid disasters when working from home, I now present my personal DOS and DON`TS:
- Professional working environment: Whether you are using a desk or a kitchen table, create a comfortable, productive working environment for yourself. A permanent workstation is essential.
- Ergonomics: The home workstation should be set up with ergonomic aspects taken into account. Back pain should not be the daily signal that it is time to finish working.
- Clothes make people – even when you are working from home: When working from home, it would be only too appealing to position yourself in front of the computer in jogging bottoms and shower sandals. Here it is important to maintain the morning routine and to appear at the workstation with a tidy and well kempt appearance, even if the workstation is just a few metres away from your bed. The feeling is simply different and if you feel good, you work better.
- Constant dialogue with supervisors and colleagues: A very important factor/advantage of an office is the exchanging and conveying of knowledge. Here, short channels are the major plus point when it comes to questions, ideas and suggestions in projects. So that this factor is not lost when working from home, constant dialogue with colleagues and supervisors is extremely important.
- Clear day and week plan for the whole family: One or two will also find that there is daily family madness when working from home. Here, it is extremely important to set up a day and week plan that clearly regulates the times when you will be working.
- Quickly do something else: The absolute killer when working from home. We all know it. Here, it is recommended to leave everything that does not have directly to do with work until the breaks or after work.
- Fail to stop for the day: The proximity of the workstation to your private living space represents a tempting danger that can have a sheer alluring effect. Here, it is important not to miss the finish-point of work and to stop once you have achieved your objective for the day.
- Irregular working times: Flexibility has become one of the highest demands in the working world. However, flexibility should not become irregularity. A certain rhythm facilitates communication with customers and colleagues above all.
- Lapse into untidiness: Anyone who allows the home workstation to become a snack platter in the evening will lose a lot of time the next morning fishing the crumbs out of the keyboard.
- Forget to take breaks: Once you have become deeply absorbed in something, you do not let go again so quickly. When you are working from home, breaks can be taken flexibly. The important thing is that they are taken. Breaks can often work wonders.
Logistics and Packaging Planning