COVID-19 and Safety: A Theoretical Study with Applications
Keywords:COVID-19, people, processes, safety, technology
COVID-19 put people, organizations and societies under immense stress. That stress was related to fear. Fear meant trust was lost. When trust was lost, business and people were badly damaged, resulting in a massive societal disruption. The Old Normal from before the pandemic was based on presence at work, and the Pandemic Normal during the pandemic has been based on remote work; we believe that after the pandemic a New Normal based on hybrid work will be the dominant one. The three stages, Old Normal, Pandemic Normal and New Normal are all analysed from the perspective of the PPT (People, Processes and Technology) model of knowledge management (Edwards 2011).
Underlying the analysis is the concept of safety as it refers to health, and especially perceptions of safety. Measures taken to prevent and/or mitigate the effects of COVID-19, such as lockdowns and compulsory wearing of masks, were completely beyond what most people, especially in Europe, Australasia and the Americas, had ever experienced. Assuming that government has a duty to ensure that its citizens feel safe, we look at both the pandemic period and the future in the light of this responsibility.
The PPT model is used to consider various aspects of the situation, concentrating on the UK and Portugal as examples. The analysis includes what planning took place beforehand (if any), what preventative measures were put in place and when, how testing and contact tracing was organised and its links to the preventative measures, and the non-clinical aspects of vaccination and treatment. We consider what proved to be effective and what did not – at times a moving target; what lessons were learned during the pandemic; and crucially what lessons have been or should be learned for the future. Using the PPT terminology, the most critical area to get right seems to be the linkages from People to Processes.
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