Lessons from COVID

Lessons from COVID

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This is a guest post from Medavie Inc.
(Member since 1993)

Contributors:

Anita Swamy
Vice-President Operations, Medavie Blue Cross

In the past few months, so much has changed. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, socialize, shop and work.

During this time, organizations have grappled with varying challenges. Between temporarily closing, transforming product delivery methods and products themselves, or struggling to keep up with demand, few businesses have moved through this period unaffected.

The uncertainty of COVID-19 has posed a series of societal and economic impacts across all industries, many that we will continue to face for the unforeseeable future. While the long-term consequences are still largely unknown, we’ve been presented with a challenge and opportunity – to drive the path forward.

We all know that progress doesn’t travel in a straight line. There are ups, downs and turns along the way.

In many cases, businesses struggling today may need to adjust their strategic approach and model. Looking back to our beginnings 75 years ago to the Medavie Blue Cross of today, there have been many changes especially as we’ve adapted to a virtual environment. Through our earlier investments in technology, we were able to quickly move 97 per cent of our employees to work remotely. We are proud of the way the team has adapted to this change with increased collaboration evident across the company.

Whether you’re a large business or a business owner serving rural Nova Scotia, one certainty exists for all of us –adaptability and flexibility have never been more important.

From keeping grocery shelves stocked, transporting essential goods to providing health care and digital health services, we’re all safely doing our part. Often, we’re innovating in ways we didn’t imagine possible. By adapting and shifting priorities, these collective efforts will help see us through to health and economic recovery.

As an employer with a local presence in Halifax and across other Canadian cities, protecting the health and safety of our employees and ensuring they feel supported and informed are top priorities. Equally important is maintaining our service standards and being able to meet the needs of our clients, members, partners and the communities we serve. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve drawn on our mission of improving the wellbeing of Canadians to guide our actions and inform our decisions. We have kept our core values of being caring, accountable, responsive, innovative and community-minded front and centre.

The pandemic has urged businesses and governments to modernize and provide consumers with new digital offerings – and in some cases providing faster solutions. Decisions that have historically taken years of deliberation have been realized in weeks and even sometimes days. Consumer behaviour has shifted: in many cases, new online services and product offerings will be here to stay.

Like many of you, we’ve been focused on providing greater flexibility, offering more options to our clients and members, while supporting our communities. We hope our contributions – lowering premiums for small- and medium-sized businesses, offering more virtual health care options and our $5 million Medavie Health Foundation contribution to improving access to food and mental and health support – have helped ease the burden.

Moving forward, the way we’re all doing business is going to change. Businesses will need to continue to be flexible, adaptable and accepting of uncertainties. As we are seeing restrictions loosen and provinces opening their economies, we also need to be prepared for the event of a second wave. While we cannot predict every circumstance, we can prioritize, plan and respond to the changing environment.

As restrictions are cautiously lifted, we won’t be rushing back to our offices, but we will be thoughtful about our return to ensure the wellbeing our staff and all Canadians. That includes supporting those on the front line by helping further reduce community spread. We will continue to adapt and be flexible, reflecting our employees’ preferences in the way we work.

And beyond this, we will continue to reimagine ourselves –– through things like increased automation and digitization –– to ensure we are best meeting the needs of our employees, plan members, clients, partners and communities. We will also continue to find ways to maintain our award-winning corporate culture, which is built on the premise of collaboration and having an engaged and talented workforce. It’s finding new ways for our teams to work together and stay connected whether they are in the office or their living room.

Recovery is not about going back to the past, but rather, gives us opportunity to look at how we continue to move forward. For businesses, it’s an opportunity to assess corporate priorities – what to accelerate, what to eliminate and what new opportunities exist. For healthcare stakeholders and decision-makers, it’s an opportunity to advance health care in our country and bring care to patients in our communities, offering more access points to care.

This is a difficult time with difficult choices, but with this comes learnings and the opportunity to make a lasting impact that will change lives for the better.

There are many things we all want to see go back to how they were pre-COVID. However; at Medavie, we are hopeful the accelerated collaboration and innovation that became necessary through this crisis is a new normal and an even more exciting way of operating in the future.

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