COVID-19 and a more digital coatings industry

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As you know, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on how businesses work around the world, not least the role digital solutions play in daily business life. With countries under lockdown and social distancing policies in place, organisations have been forced to find new ways of working. Remote offices, virtual meetings and online sales and training have replaced traditional face-to-face meetings. In industries of all types, this has required a rapid change in behaviour, significantly accelerating the adoption of digital solutions says Lars Joenstrup Dollerup, Executive Vice President & CFO at Hempel A/S

These changes in behaviour will have a profound effect on the coatings industry in the years to come – leading to faster adoption of digital technologies in the office and within the coatings industry itself.

The internal digital evolution
How has the digital working landscape changed over the last eight months? At Hempel, like many other companies in the coatings industry, we have changed in a number of ways.

  • Nearly all our meetings are now online. This enables us to keep in close contact with our customers and colleagues around the world despite lockdowns and disruptions.
  • We have switched from Skype to Microsoft Teams. Today, Teams is our most-used communication tool – at the start of the year it had an adoption rate of just 5 per cent.
  • We turn on video. Before COVID-19, video could be anxiety-triggering and demanded courage. Our top management have led the use of video in meetings across the organisation, helping us all feel more connected.
  • Through digital town halls, management has been able to stay in touch with employees in 80 countries. This is especially important in these unprecedented times.

All of these digital solutions were already in place. It has been a behavioural change, not a technology change. I am convinced that this new digital behaviour will continue. We can see the benefits for our employees; they are more flexible in their working locations and can enjoy an improved work-life balance. And we can see the benefits for our company; our meetings are shorter and more efficient, and we are more agile in our decision making.

Read more in the latest issue of PCE-International

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