COVID-19 has meant pressing pause, but we shouldn’t forget to look forward
As a relative newcomer to the oil & gas industry one of the first things that struck me was the genuine buzz that things were on the up again.
Across Aberdeen and the whole sector, there were real signs of change. Everyone was busy and new projects were being commissioned. Most importantly for me, in a business development role, people were open and willing to have conversations, share information and build relationships.
This was true up until only a few weeks ago. but now, like every other industry, we’re measuring the impact of COVID-19.
Is this now business as usual?
With the message of Stay Safe, Stay Home, many of us are trying our best to carry on as close to ‘business as usual’ as possible, whether that’s working remotely, switching our chats in the office, to a catch-up on Teams or Zoom, or attending remote events rather than showing up in person.
It’s helping bring us together. The crisis is forcing us to change our working practices and many of these are having a positive effect. We’re seeing the inside of our co-workers’ homes via webcam, people are showing solidarity with others being made redundant by proactively sharing their recruitment posts on social media. Meanwhile, in their personal lives I see people looking out for their neighbours more and doing their best to find ways to make the current circumstances more bearable.
But we all, naturally, tread carefully on new ground. I’ve felt people have become more reluctant to talk about work and are changing their methods of communication and relationship building as they, like all of us, try and assess the world we are in currently and how best to operate within it.
Reasons not to just sit it out
It’s understandable. People’s mindsets will change as we work through this pandemic, but I feel it’s important to remember that we’re not working to a set timeline. We need to find a way to keep the ball bouncing so that it doesn’t stop. Our goal should be to keep delivering as best we can and do our own bit to keep the economy moving and ready to grow again when we finally come through the current crisis.
Sure, this seems easier said than done but there’s three things that help me stay positive:
1) Now is actually a good time to build relationships. It may feel everything is happening at once and there’s no time, but for many of us, with increasing challenges to our normal operations, we have the time and licence to explore different opportunities, build different relationship. Ultimately, building trusted relationships and maintaining our connections is one of the main ways we can build our companies in these trying times and thrive in the future.
2) The oil & gas industry has constantly been challenged to be more innovative. Coming from outside the industry, I feel there’s definitely more that can be done. I’ve heard the phrase ‘this is the way it’s always been done’ used many times. Now maybe this can be put to rest.
3) The pandemic is bringing out the best in people. In this industry, just like the wider
community, we need to work together rather than individually. It’s these collective actions that we will get out of this situation and make us all stronger, wiser, more inclusive and, hopefully, a little more humble.
Katherine Scrimgeour is the Business Development Manager at Archer Knight. For more information email Katherine on firstname.lastname@example.org