Coping with Corona – Ian Funnell, CEO of ABB Power Grids UK

Will the coronavirus pandemic mean certain ‘work norms’ have vanished, never to return? Watch the interview to find out…

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The coronavirus pandemic means there will be certain “work norms” that will never come back in the future.

That’s the suggestion from Ian Funnell, CEO ABB Power Grids UK, who spoke to ELN Editor Sumit Bose in the second of a series of talks to discuss how the energy sector is coping with the coronavirus crisis – he said the way of doing things will fundamentally change in many cases as “business legacy issues that we’ve dragged around with us for goodness knows how many decades and maybe even centuries will simply disappear”.

As a critical supplier to critical sectors, such as water, power and gas, ABB began shifting to home working patterns several weeks ago, in order to test business resilience in anticipation of the inevitable lockdown.

Mr Funnell said the new system has worked “very well” and noted it has proved resilient, as everyone who can work from home is working from home and although some essential workers have had to stay in offices and factories, self-isolation practices are being observed to halt the spread of the virus.

He said: “It’s a struggle I think at the moment to try and conceptualise what business as usual is going to look like in the short term – it’s perhaps easier in the longer term but in the short term, how do we keep the business going and how do we keep the critical supplies going and how do we support the electricity infrastructure to make sure the lights stay on – it’s as simple as that.”

The CEO added that maintaining logistics, such as the delivery of products to customers and the provision of food for workers in remote facilities, was in many cases more of a challenge than keeping manufacturing processes running smoothly.

In the first of ELN’s ‘Coping with Corona’ talks, Sumit Bose chatted with Alex Goody, the CEO of Gemserv.

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