COVID one year on: What is on the minds of our business leaders?

By Ken Weldin, Ken Weldin
7 May 2021

March brought around the 12-month anniversary since the first wave of COVID lockdowns. That means a year since the exodus from CBDs, the working from home revolution and a level of disruption that had not been seen for a number of generations. The word ‘unprecedented’ was used an unprecedented number of times.

Teams across all sectors were forced to ‘pivot’ or ‘flex.’ There was a heavy focus on engagement and interconnectedness. Zoom and Teams, online coffees and quizzes and “sorry you’re on mute” became the norm.

For those in the retail and hospitality sectors, life became very tough. The pressures on our health, aged care and mental health providers became acute.

Now as we sit 12-months on, what is on the minds of our business leaders as they contemplate 2021 and the next 12-months?

  • People, people, people – The hidden costs of the pandemic in terms of mental health remain a focus for many. Burnout and stress were and remain a real issue. The ‘democratisation of the workplace’ in terms of flexible working arrangements, and what looks set to be a slow return to the office (especially in Victoria), will play out for some time to come.
  • Cyber –­ Everyday it seems another organisation is ‘hit.’ Simply put, cyber is the risk that will just not go away. From sophisticated business email compromise scams, to basic cyber housekeeping shortfalls, are you doing enough to avoid making it too easy for bad actors to compromise your systems?
  • Cash, cash, cash – How to get it, how to keep it, how to use it wisely?
  • Delegations of authority – Always a cornerstone of any control environment, delegations have come under stress in the remote working environment and continued uncertainty. Has your delegation process kept pace with the challenges of the last 12-months and those that lie ahead? 
  • Fraud awareness and prevention – Somewhat linked to delegations and alongside cyber, are you doing enough to be alert to red flags around control issues or even something that just looks too good to be true? Complacency here can be costly.
  • Third party contractor/consultant risk – Is your reputation dependent upon someone else being consistently excellent at something they are doing in your name? Do you rely on being told everything is ok or do you look for real evidence?
  • Sustainability – With both the literal and contemporary definitions of the word, is there a better way of working for 2021 given the year that was?

These are some of the issues we are working on with our clients as we mark the COVID anniversary. If you would like to learn more about how we can support you, get in touch with the team at PKF.