Culture guarding day

With its volatile infection rates, the corona virus has also caused an economic pandemic. While some countries are easing, in others more restrictions are emerging. The impact on long-term production is major, but although many countries are experiencing (second) waves of contagion that increase fear and unemployment in the economy, the stock markets continue to perform better than expected. Apparently, the analysts are positive that it is "just a dip".

There are sectors that will be hit hard, but also some that will grow even more because of it. One possible cause of this is that everything went well economically before the corona pandemic started. The optimism of that time still seems (partly) present. In the economic pond, the pandemic seems to be causing a ripple that will disappear, although the impact in the short term will have a significant impact for several sectors and for people personally.

However, the growing debt burden, especially with governments, will be a challenge. Debt ratios are increasing sharply. While this is not a huge problem with the current low interest rates, it will be when these rates go up again. In the financial sector, the coming period will also be challenging when the number of bankruptcies increases due to persistent turnover lag or decreasing government support.

On the positive side, many companies are now accelerating their strategic choices. Business cases are presented to organize, digitize and centralize. In the financial sector, many local offices are now closed. That strategy was already emerging but is now accelerating. Banks are discovering that digital services can be provided at a fairly high level - and that customers are happy with this efficient interpretation.

In the meantime, it turned out that working from home has a positive effect on health. In many sectors, absenteeism figures were lower than ever. Working online is also becoming increasingly common at Zanders, including all its advantages and disadvantages. The possibility that we will return to working full-time in the office again seem small. However, the chit chat and the fun at the physical office is sorely missed and it is therefore important that we guard corporate cultures. The culture of companies is shaped by employees and personal interaction, with a review of the football results at the coffee machine, a holiday story during lunch or a drink to celebrate the upcoming weekend. Who would have thought that we would miss office life so much?

Fortunately, the corporate culture at Zanders is well established. In part, this is thanks to Friday, the day on which consultants (under normal circumstances) "return home" from their external client projects to catch up with each other. So, Friday actually is our culture guarding day. The chat is still largely done digitally, but in the meantime we are building our new head office home in the city of Utrecht (the Netherlands), in which we will hopefully spend many (virus-free) culture guarding days in the future!

Gerbert van Grootheest

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