The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent efforts to control the spread through school and business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders, has meant that many aspects of daily life have moved online. Before the pandemic hit, the world had made huge leaps in improving online access over the last 25 years. Recent estimates claim that there are approximately 4.6 billion internet users worldwide and 3.8 billion active social media users; the global online penetration rate is estimated at 59%. Compare this to 1995, when less than 1% of the world’s population was connected to the internet.
Some months ago, Plan International USA, my organization, applied for a grant from a family foundation. By all accounts, the foundation loved the grant application. Everyone agreed it was a good program design that would build community resilience among a vulnerable and marginalized population group.
I packed up my office at Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation on a beautiful spring afternoon in April 2019. I was approved to work remote full-time, and I was thrilled to begin my working from home (WFH) journey full of stretchy pants and no commutes. My visits to the office as an official teleworker were met with a mix of envy, and exactly the opposite: some colleagues dreamed of working remote full-time, while others felt they could never thrive in a remote environment.
COVID-19 is bringing disruption to practically every organization’s business and financial model. At the same time, for many of us in the NGO sector, it is requiring an all-hands approach to meeting the current needs of the moment—responding in real time to the crisis and working longer and harder each day to do it. And, of course, doing it as a distributed team with everyone working from home.
In the wake of COVID-19 global pandemic, we have honored frontline health care workers and essential workers for their dedication during this significant health care crisis.
When coaching leaders, I identify the critical application of proactive leadership during volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous times, which equips leaders to make a huge impact. From that concept, we must bring attention to what will be the next wave of frontline individuals whom I consider the job seekers, recruitment, and human resources departments.