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I'm the founder of FutureWork IQ where I spend my time assisting businesses to design digital workplaces or “offices in the cloud.” These environments enable companies to allow flexible and remote working for their teams. I also teach the digital literacy, fluency, communication and collaboration skills needed to work in these modern technology-rich workplaces.

On June 7th 2017 a devastating fire swept through the coastal town of Knysna South Africa destroying 973 homes and about 150 informal structures.

There was a detailed postmortem of this event complete with recommendations for the future. During the analysis it was observed, for example, that many residents had a “it will never happen to me” mentality and as a result paid not attention to creating “defendable space” around their homes, allowing vegetation to grow right up against the home.

“It was observed that during the wildfire that those homes, that had space around them, stood a much better chance of surviving.”

Those homes that were rebuilt after this incident, were rebuilt with a clear understanding of what caused the original home to burn down. So for example, homes that had thatch roofs now don’t, vegetation is kept away from the home etc.

This event is not dissimilar to the “pandemic fire” that has raged through the economy.

How “pandemic resistant” and “lockdown resistant” was your business? If it wasn’t that resilient, going back to the way things were would be a monumental mistake. There were many businesses that came through this unscathed. How did they do it?

We are facing similar mobility restrictions and disruptions in the near future as we tackle other major global challenges, especially around radically reducing carbon emissions.

It would be prudent to ask “how would we cope with a similar situation in future” and then do everything you can to evolve the way you work with that possibility firmly in mind.