As the original texts are written in Turkish, English translation is provided for non-Turkish readers. The author apologizes in advance for any and all possible changes and losses in meaning due to translation.
We, as the public sector, the society and the business arena responded swiftly following the emergence of the first diagnosed case of COVID-19 in our country. By rapidly implementing comprehensive precautions and protective measures, we passed a critical test in terms of minimizing adverse outcomes to be caused by the pandemic. We can advocate we achieved successful results at the management level and in the eyes of the society; however, we should keep that the test still continues in mind.
I also had chance to convey these reviews of mine by means of an interview conducted by Habertürk: https://www.haberturk.com/sorumlu-buyumeye-odaklanmaliyiz-2724272-ekonomi
This means the risk is ongoing and we can easily see this when we take a look at daily statistics. For this reason, it is vital to maintain and even improve our achievements such as hygiene, physical distancing, intensive usage of digital means. In this period of new opportunities, different perspectives and approaches, I would like us all to reflect upon how to implement further innovations, rather than feeling nostalgia for the old habits. In brief, I believe it will be more efficient for us all to discuss the changes we have so far made in our daily lives due to COVID-19 and what more we can change.
In the last 4 months, we have learned that we can fulfill our responsibilities with the same efficiency even when we work remotely, away from our workplaces and offices. We have seen that some functions obtained even more productive results, let alone suffering any losses. When our comprehensive questionnaire and research works are finalized, we will be able to exhibit this development on a quantitative basis as well. Therefore, instead of considering our current time and location as a temporary “phenomenon”, we should regard it as a basis of reality that defines the “new”.
It is important to first renovate our current systems and perspectives in order to be able to define the “new” and re-design it to create beneficial results. We need to make certain changes so that everyone can work comfortably and flexibly and avoid spending time with inefficient practices. In accordance with the requirements of the modern economic system, we have so far invested huge resources, time and effort in physical infrastructures and buildings. Therefore, it may not be efficient and rational for us to renounce them in a trice. However, we can build a hybrid system by making existing infrastructures “smart” and “modular”; and we can upgrade buildings and spaces so that they can be quickly customized upon need and can be equipped with all kinds of digital and technological equipment.
I believe it would be beneficial to attach special importance to R&D at this point. Important incentives are implemented in our country to improve and expand the scope of R&D works. Currently, having R&D teams in an identified physical office environment is mandatory for getting these incentives. Today, we have approximately 700 R&D engineers at Siemens Turkey and they develop new technologies both for Turkey and Siemens AG. COVID-19 has revealed that the efficiency of our engineers increases significantly when they are allowed to work any where they want. For this reason, I believe that if we want to improve the added value we provide for our country, we need to review current regulations so that digital management capabilities and efficiencies can be improved.
We can redefine our Head Offices as “Corporate Identity / Ownership Centers”. Thus, employees can get trainings on corporate culture and values in these centers during their first term in the company, and then they can work anywhere, saying “everywhere is an office to me”. Needless to say, socialization is an important necessity and head offices will always be required for employees to absorb the corporate culture, ownership, and code of business. However, we can also benefit from digital means to the full extent to build and improve social relationships.
Naturally, implementing such transformation only in the business world will bring a limited progress. Why should our children be deprived of the opportunities of the digital world? Just as we did during the pandemic, children may continue to receive education from home 2 days per week. They will continue this practice when they enter the business world, after all. So, it is very important for them to become familiar with digitalization while there is still time. We live in a world where life is transformed in all areas and education will certainly have its share. At this point, we will have a greater chance to reach our goals if we take the upper hand, instead of waiting for the transformation to come to us.
Nostalgia is a relief to us all, because it reminds us of a familiar period. However, focusing on how comfortable we were in the past will not take us any further. We should avoid living in the past; we cannot achieve innovation and change without experiencing the rigor and stress of it. Shakespeare’s success lies in the fact that he saw how the world was changing, social values were being renewed, and feudality was transforming into a new world, a new economic model and ultimately to modernity. He delicately analyzed this chaotic transformation in terms of values and daily life, and he successfully reflected it in his tragedies and comedies. If we are taking aesthetic pleasure in reading Shakespeare today, it is because he saw this transformation and reflected it on his works. We should also do the same in this period of change, take a journey to better conditions through positive stress management, and show courage in abandoning our habits and current ways of doing business and renovating them.