Reflections and appreciation of human adaptability amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

As we are coming to grips with the devastation and as impact on society is becoming increasingly apparent, the entire world is trying to do two things at the same time: implement extreme measures and continue with our everyday lives. Is that possible? 

By Hege Skryseth, President Kongsberg Digital 

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to influence the global public health and everyday lives of people all over the world. The main priority for Kongsberg Digital is and continues to be the health and wellbeing of our employees and their families. We would like to thank you all for your efforts in navigating this new and challenging situation. Together with the rest of KONGSBERG, we work to ensure the implementation of actions based on the continuous advice and updates from the national authorities in the countries in which we operate. In this unprecedented global situation, we also want to offer our thoughts, sympathies and thanks to partners and customers, as well as our own people, who are trying to stay healthy, helping and in touch.

The development of the situation around the COVID-19 virus has been unpredictable and will most likely continue to be so in the foreseeable future. The whole world is affected by this pandemic and various measures are taken on the national levels to limit further spread. The nature of these are mainly concerned with physical isolation and separation of people to prevent further contagion. The global economy, however, is suffering. Some of the early consequences are already visible through currency and stock market fluctuations. Although there is a glimmer of hope for improvement, we have yet to see how far-reaching the consequences of this economic situation will be.

As we are coming to grips with the devastation and as impact on society is becoming increasingly apparent, the entire world is trying to do two things at the same time: implement extreme measures and keep life as normal as possible. This juxtaposition creates an absurd situation that society has never encountered in peace time, and the efforts to keep the wheels turning and keep the economy healthy are crucial. Limiting further impact on society by ensuring some levels of industrial and business activity, preventing job loss and economic ruin for individuals and groups, is of major importance. As much of the world are finding themselves confined to their homes, many of us are still to some degree able to perform our jobs. Consider the consequences to society had this happened 30 years ago, before we had the internet, digital filesharing, video conference options, not to mention more advanced, industrial solutions for automation and remotely operating heavy assets. Would we, to the same extent, have been able to keep the wheels turning? Probably not. Thanks to technology, however, the people of Kongsberg Digital are still in touch with customers and partners all over the world, and we are still able to deliver critical solutions in times when our customers need it the most. Amidst the crisis, we should appreciate the advancements we have made, and note that it is only in the last two decades that our ability to perform a large number of services and activities through digital media has become possible.

Working daily with digitalization and being familiar with the typical, understandable, hurdles preventing adoption of new and unfamiliar solutions, I am impressed and encouraged by the speed in which organizations of all sizes and people of all ages have been able to adjust to a new digital working environment. From necessity, we are all adapting, navigating together and cooperating to get everyone up to speed with new tools. We believe this is indicative of a future where emergency planning involves digital planning, but also, where digital tools have permanently changed knowledge sharing and human interaction in the workplace. In an otherwise challenging current global situation, this should be seen as a positive, because it is proof of human adaptability, cooperation and endurance in times of crises.