Report: Leading from a distance

The rapid development and rollout of Covid-19 vaccines point toward the eventual end of the pandemic, yet the impact of the novel coronavirus will nonetheless be enduring. The virus shined light on societal strengths and weaknesses. No facet of life has been untouched.

The commercial sector was significantly impacted. Some industries, for example ICT, boomed in the wake of the viral wave. Others, such as live entertainment and hospitality, were severely impacted. Businesses closed, and millions lost employment and livelihoods. Regardless of sector, the world of work has shifted in ways unlikely or, even if so, as quickly, had it not been for the pandemic. An acceptance of operating remotely will undoubtedly be a lasting feature of the current age. Working from home and screen-to-screen engagement with clients, service providers, staff and other stakeholders have become commonplace.

C-suite leaders will have to adjust: spending less time traveling internationally but more time and effort leading teams and developing strategies at arm’s length.

Leading from a distance is an EICN report based on a global survey of 402 senior commercial leaders from across industries. The findings from this survey put into stark relief the extent to which the way we work is changing and how senior commercial leaders and their organisations are interpreting and responding to pandemic-grooved shifts. Their responses make clear that for most organisations work will remain hybrid at best and employees will spend significantly less time in the office. An exception is China. Respondents based in the Middle Kingdom expected staff to maintain pre-pandemic levels of facetime. Independently of the region or country, respondents indicated that material gaps exist between the leadership skills and attributes required to thrive in a post-Covid world and their organisations’ current capacity and competence.