There are so many aspects in one’s life that shape opinion, thought and create memories. In years to come though how would one even find the right narrative to describe what many of us had to face over the past 12 months and beyond. So, no surprises for me then the clear stand out regarding something that has materially changed my ‘normal’, whether at work or personally at home, would have to be COVID.
Being based in Victoria and having to find a way to navigate through two lockdowns in 2020 and another two (so far) in 2021, my current mantra is “lucky country, unlucky state”. Personal and professional lives, disciplines, habits, and routines have now blended into one as COVID continues to morphe the ‘home’ where we work and the ‘home’ where we live together. As a result of the sustained and enforced change it has forced us to rethink how we operate effectively in the context of our professional environment and likewise how we create the best environment at home that supports and enhances peoples’ wellbeing, rather than dilutes it. Who would’ve thought that in April 2020, Australia was ranked 144 according to Oxford’s ‘Stringency Index’ in relation to workplace closures and stay-at-home orders? As at 8th of June, we’ve climbed to 17th in the World. I feel Victoria would have had a material contribution to our meteoric rise.
Who could have imagined that ‘hot-desking’ beyond the work environment, could be effective. That we could mobilise an entire working family, away from the office, within 48 hours. That clients would so positively embrace the use of technology to hold the same meaningful conversations they used to enjoy face-to-face. The change has already irreversibly shifted, but not yet settled. The human spirit is incredibly resilient but also innovative and I am optimistic about what the future workplace might look like and how we might be able to lead some of that thinking.
Equally, it’s about driving sustainable practices and doing the right thing and as B Corp states it best: “being a force for good”. I’m excited that we have lodged our assessment with B Corp in late December 2020 and I look forward to driving the current certification process to its logical conclusion during this year. More importantly though, I’m inspired about the positive and long-lasting impact this should have on our staff, customers, suppliers, community and our group overall.
Michael Ehrentraut is Co-Founder, Chief Sustainability Officer and Chairman of the Viridian Foundation at Viridian Advisory.