Anca Fotache, EMEA Service Delivery Director, Stefanini
- What was the most challenging thing your company, people, and you, personally, had to face in 2020?
Many things will be said about 2020…
Historians, economists, sociologists, psychologists, all will analyse the social, psychological, economic, and political impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; they will show us trends, causes, effects, numbers, deviations, evolutions; they will talk about lessons learned and about the new world, about pain and resilience, about losers and winners.
Who would have anticipated that a tiny particle will turn our lives upside down in just a few months? Somehow, it caught us all unprepared and self-sufficient. We couldn’t imagine this happening to us…
The main challenge in 2020 was first and foremost the humanitarian one triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I am writing these lines, the world surpassed 100 million known cases and more than 2 million deaths. The social and psychological impact cannot be easily translated into numbers, but their long-term effect is a painful reality. We all miss our life without masks, simple things like meeting with our friends, going to the cinema, coffee with our colleagues. We all experienced resistance, anxiety, fatigue, frustration. The longer the crisis lasts, the deeper their impact is…
The health crisis was soon followed by an economic crisis: companies had to face significant challenges and huge disruptions in the workplace, consumer behaviour, business models, distribution, and basically in all major areas.
There is a say “A friend in need, is a friend indeed”. In this time of crisis, I am very proud that Stefanini Group proved to be the trusted partner of major businesses across the world: we work together with our customers with the aim of co-creating contingency plans that minimize the impact on their operations.
Our response plan was focused on two main pillars:
- People first – Stefanini main priority was and remains the health and safety of our employees and customers
- Business continuity: Stefanini team worked intensively to be prepared for different contingencies to minimize business disruption
A crisis like no other, COVID-19 outbreak will remain as a milestone in our personal and collective history; we will talk about before and after, about the old reality and the new norm, about the shift from one paradigm to another.
- What pleasantly surprised you last year? / What are you grateful for?
When I look back from the future, there are several things I will never forget:
Necessity is the mother of Innovation
It was true thousands of years ago when Plato wrote in “Republic”: “our need will be the real creator”, it is still true today. The extraordinary constraints brought on by the COVID-19 crisis have rapidly thrust people, governments, businesses into challenges they could have never predicted. Innovating from necessity, changing from necessity, transforming from necessity became the imperatives of our time.
COVID -19 – the inflection point for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Digital Transformation
History will regard the Great Pandemic of 2020 as a critical inflection point for the global economy and digital business. The economic shock set off by the pandemic has accelerated and intensified trends that were already underway. There’s no going back. The major shift in the use of technology, digitization, digitalization and new ways of working is going to be sustained.
Humanity is complex by nature
It is said that crises bring out the best and the worst in people, and this pandemic has certainly confirmed this statement. I will not remember the ups and downs, but the complexity of the human being, the incredible range of emotions that lie in each of us. We all experienced resistance, anxiety, fatigue, but also forged the power to move further, to dig deep inside us, and find courage, hope, trust.
During this chaos, while many of us in a panic, it showed us the weight of humanity. It reminded us who we are, what is important for us, what is meaningful for us.
There are many great lessons, there are many takeaways, but the strongest memories I will take with me from 2020 will be the pride I felt throughout the year of being part of a company that faced such adversity with maturity and resilience and the support I received from my friends and colleagues when my entire family got sick.
- What are your plans and expectations for 2021? What do you foresee will be different this year and what impact it will have on our industry/Romania/your company/your people?
In 2020 we embraced technology in our professional and personal life to such extent, that the way we work and live had changed forever.
2021 is a year of transition from the old reality to the new one. Last year, companies were focused to absorb the shock of the crisis, now the main priority is to come out of it better and to strengthen the competitive advantage. The near-term challenge is to move from reacting to the crisis to unlock big strategic moves like portfolio restructuring, operations reconfiguration, location strategy, the future of the workforce and the workplace.
2021 is not going to bring an end to remote working; on contrary, it is here to stay, most likely in the flexible version called “hybrid working”, where employees are offered flexibility within a framework. One of the questions that need to be answered soon is: “What is the role of the office itself, which is the traditional center for creating the culture and a sense of belonging?”
We, at Stefanini, have even bigger dreams for 2021. And we are ready to play the new game, we are ready for the new norm. We continue to invest in our innovation ecosystem, we continue to co-create solutions with our customers and assist them in their digital transformation.
- What is your message for the ABSL community? What could we do to grow stronger as a community? A message for ABSL or a suggestion.
In 2020 we became more aware of the complex social interactions and how vital they are for our life and evolution. We may be fragile as individuals, but our strength lies in our ability to act together for a common purpose.
The business Services Industry in Romania is as strong as the collaboration of the members is.
The future of the Business Services Industry in Romania is as bright as the desire to work together towards a common goal is.
The main message to ABSL is to continue the efforts to enhance the dialog inside and outside the industry, with authorities, educational institutions, and other relevant stakeholders.
It is a snowy day today. Everything is white and has the immaculate beauty of a new beginning.
I have the same feeling related to 2021 –the most challenging part of the pandemic is behind us; the fear is weaker and weaker; the old reality is fading away, making room for a new one. Awakened from the nightmare, the world reopens its eyes cautiously and begins to find its colors and beauty. It is a new beginning, it’s a new dawn.
A bit too optimistic? Indeed, but we need to believe. It’s still a long way in front of us, but there is an increasing sense of hope and confidence.
Despite its adversity, 2020 gave us a precious gift. It reminded us of who we are. It reminded us who we can become. And between being and becoming, there is only our will… and not even a pandemic can take this power from us.