News

Why we need a “Take Your Manager to Care-Work Day”

The daily onslaught of challenges faced by caregivers has been one of the biggest forces shaping work over the past year. Whether they are dealing with children engaged in remote online schooling or caring for loved ones ill from COVID-19 — or, in some cases, both — tens of millions of workers have been struggling to cover all of their responsibilities.

Business leaders have by and large expressed concern. And many have offered flexible schedules and extended benefits aimed at easing the burden. Still, many workers have long dealt with bosses who don’t get it. “Too many working parents and other employees with extensive caregiving responsibilities have stories of a manager who gives them an assignment at 4 pm and asks for it the next morning, or a boss who makes disparaging comments about another working parent who doesn’t seem loyal to the company,” journalist Rebecca Knight wrote in Harvard

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How Sage Group is supporting resilience in small and medium-sized businesses

In September 2020, Steve Hare, chief executive of Sage Group, became Glassdoor’s highest-rated CEO in the U.K. during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workplace review site cited the level of communication and employee engagement Hare and his management team maintained during the crisis. “It is the key for all of us, including me personally, to make sure that we’re all keeping connected,” Hare said recently.

This focus on connection also holds true for Sage Group’s relationships with its customers, the small and medium-sized businesses that buy or subscribe to its accounting and back-office management software, including systems for payroll, HR, and payments. At the start of the crisis, Sage began offering short-term payment holidays to help clients as they

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How India can live up to its full potential

In a remote tribal village in Dumarthar in the state of Jharkhand, Sapan Patralekh, the headmaster of a middle school, has come up with an innovative teaching method in a region plagued by poor connectivity. He has converted the walls of adjacent houses into blackboards, allowing 300 students to continue learning while maintaining social distance.

In crowded cities, traditional mom-and-pop convenience stores and pharmacies have begun to provide contactless home delivery. Startups such as Near.Store are rolling out plug-and-play solutions to digitize traditional neighborhood convenience stores, allowing them to accept orders and payments online for groceries, medicine, and healthcare essentials, as well as making offline inventory digitally searchable by customers who live within walking or biking distance. OkCredit is using digitization to send collection notifications to customers who have delayed or missed payments, decreasing the burden on shop owners of maintaining business accounts.

On the B2B front, Bulk MRO, a

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Pfizer’s vaccine machine

Talk about a pivot. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla was one year into his tenure. Bourla, born and educated in Greece, is a 27-year veteran of the company. A trained veterinarian, he rose through the ranks of its animal health unit, and subsequently held leadership positions responsible for numerous businesses, including vaccines, oncology, and consumer products, before taking the post of chief operating officer in 2018. As he formally took the reins of the company on January 1, 2019, Bourla was focused on continuing Pfizer’s transformation into a pure-play biopharmaceutical company: placing its consumer health business in a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline in 2019, preparing to spin off the Upjohn unit in a deal with Mylan, and rebranding the more than 170-year-old company to focus on its heritage of making scientific breakthroughs that could aid humanity. A year later, Bourla and Pfizer were intently focused on

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Setting your company up for success in 2021

COVID-19 forced businesses to rethink multiple facets of their operations, and in some cases to recast them repeatedly, in response to the disease’s shifting geography, Whac-a-mole switches in rules and regulations, and huge changes in customer behavior and the way we work. Last year, we wrote about several of these trends, and the need for leaders to use design thinking to create the customer and employee experiences that would sustain their company through the pandemic.

Today, as vaccines are rolled out around the world (granted, at various degrees of speed and scale), people can start to imagine finding some stability. For the leaders who have been in response mode, it’s time to stop winging it and make a flight plan. Here are four actions companies can take to help improve customer experience, operations, and profitability for 2021 and beyond.

Stop improvising and start experimenting — to learn what to keep

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Supporting employees working from home

In mid-December, a light appeared at the end of a long, dark tunnel when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorizations for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. A month later, that light wavered as the death toll in the U.S. reached 400,000 — having reached 300,000 just five weeks earlier — and the outgoing director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that the worst of the pandemic was yet to come. As Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Even as millions of people are getting vaccinated, many employees won’t be returning to the workplace for months to come. Instead, they will continue to work from home with all the distractions, stresses, and fears that they have experienced over the past year. This is not an insignificant problem: 25 percent of respondents to a PwC Workforce Pulse Survey conducted between January

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