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All the best to everybody, from Helix Legal.

Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman March 23, 2020

I have tried, on at least half a dozen occasions, to write an article on the current dire circumstances we all find ourselves in now, be it from a health, business or job perspective.  On each previous occasion, I have deleted the article because I could not really find the words for the current circumstances.

I have now decided to keep it simple and just reach out on behalf all of us at Helix Legal and wish every person or business the very best. This is not a time for anything else other than for all of us to support each other.

From a business perspective, the calamity Australia is enduring this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic (‘event’) will result in a rapidly changing economy that few of us will recognise. There will never again be anything that could be described as ‘business as usual’. I believe that for the foreseeable future, businesses will have to operate on the fly. Wave after wave of disruption will take place at breathtaking speed. Constant change will be the new norm.

To my knowledge, aside from one notable exception, nobody was even talking about the possibility of an event like this occurring on such a scale.

In an online article entitled All the times Bill Gates has warned us about a deadly pandemic like coronavirus, it is stated:

“For many, the coronavirus pandemic seemed to come out of nowhere, an unexpected crisis that we couldn’t have been prepared for. But some people have actually been warning of a global pandemic—and the fact that we are largely unprepared to handle one—for years. Along with epidemiologists and even the director for medical and biodefense preparedness at the National Security Council, Bill Gates has been saying for a decade that the world was woefully underprepared for an inevitable pandemic.”

We have had a taste of the disruption to come.

Prior to this event, the fourth industrial revolution was in the process of disrupting all industries to some extent.

In an online article, Murat Sönmez, Director of the World Economic Forum stated:

“We’ve seen industrial revolutions in history–from the steam engine to electricity to computerization–but they have always been driven by a single innovation. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we’re seeing a simultaneous development across artificial intelligence, drones, autonomous vehicles, gene editing, new materials, and 3D printing. These are all game changing technologies happening at the same time. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is simultaneous developments in multiple areas.

The second differentiation is, it’s happening much faster. Before we can figure out what it is–how we can use it for beneficial purposes–people are already using it, and we’re seeing that in social media and other areas. It’s a lot of things happening simultaneously and much faster.”

In an article published prior to this event entitled Bend, don’t break: how to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is stated:

  • “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is rewriting the business rulebook.
  • This process has been painful for some, and a boon to others.
  • The difference between these two camps? Agility.”

Elsewhere in this article, it is stated:

“Across countless examples, the one universal truth we continually see proven as we march through the early days of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that start-ups and incumbents who have the agility to seize new technologies and scale rapidly to adopt new ways of doing things are the ones who thrive – no matter what comes around the next corner.

Ultimately, the secret to thriving in an environment in which everyone appears to be moving fast and breaking things is not to break at all, but to stay flexible enough to bend when the rules of the game keep changing.”

How flexible is Helix Legal?

Amidst the rapidly changing circumstances surrounding this event, the Helix humans are now working remotely. The health, safety and wellbeing of our team, clients and support networks is our highest priority, and we are working to stay updated with government advice on this global health emergency.

Fortunately, the Helix team are well equipped to work remotely and keep our clients’ projects and matters moving forward because:

  • We have successfully implemented the systems, procedures, culture and experience to run Helix from any location. As of today, Helix have staff who operate from the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Cairns, Brisbane City, London and Scotland.
  • We have social media channels tried and tested for communicating messages with our clients.
  • We have live stream and online capabilities for our training and events so they can continue to operate in a digital environment without interruption.
  • Helix humans work from cloud-based technology, we are paper light and able to undertake all client work from our laptops, wherever we may be located.

Final thoughts.

In an article entitled How the Coronavirus Is Already Rewriting the Future of Business, a number of Harvard Business School professors outlined how this event is likely to change business. The comment that resonated with me the most was by John B Fuller, who stated:

“Many of the changes companies will make in the short term are obvious: dramatically reduced travel, more work-from-home opportunities for white-collar workers, and changes in business operations to reduce human contact and to improve workplace hygiene. 

I believe the more interesting changes will play out after this public health emergency is behind us. In the past, companies have used the lessons learned during periods of disruption to improve their standard operating practices. For example, the great recession forced employers to revisit their staffing models. The result was a permanent shift in the ratio of part-time workers to full-time workers across the economy. COVID-19 may yield similar changes.

In terms of the businesses most impacted by COVID-19], certain sectors—air travel, hospitality, tourism, and high-end consumer brands that rely on traditional retailing for the bulk of their sales—have already been demonstrably affected. So will industries that revolve around large gatherings, such as many forms of popular entertainment—sports, cinema, concerts—to business conferences and trade fairs.

In the intermediate term, we will see companies that rely on global supply chains be hurt. Once companies run through their existing safety stocks of raw materials or parts provided by a far-flung supplier base, they may face challenges filling demand as their supply chains begin to ramp up.”

This event has forever changed the world we live in.

In closing, I again want to reiterate again our sincere best wishes for all persons or businesses trying to cope with the consequences of this event.


Not intended as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.
Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman March 23, 2020

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