This crisis has been nothing if not revelatory. Like a flasher in a trench coat or a sculptor exhibiting some vast mass cloaked in silk; with one swift tug of the drape, the artiste’s spindly fingers expose a reality we have long disregarded: sweeping structural inequality.
I’m not talking so much about the extreme and widening gap between our richest and poorest – a devastating problem in its own right, and one that I can’t hope to broach in 400 words – but about that day-to-day unfairness that exists within functioning companies, systems, and communities.
Over the past few months, mundane, generic injustice has been laid bare. The crux of the issue, on a practical level, is that leaders, executives and office workers can function and earn from the relative safety of their home (I include myself in this camp), while factory workers, carers, builders, cleaners, manufacturers, skilled and unskilled labourers simply cannot.
Now that’s not to say that the chief executives of health boards and the like aren’t under extreme stress and playing a vital part in the recovery of our health service; of course, they are. But they are not routinely putting their lives on the line from their home office.
This crisis has just made it all the more visible; an intense moment of clarity and revelation; and an opportunity then for leaders to reflect on where the value lies in their business or organisation and consider implementing structures that reward those exposing themselves to the most risk.
Of course, each organisation is different, and solutions will need to be nuanced accordingly. But fail to recognise and act on something that is so plain to see now, and I fear that the chance will pass us by; unfairness will become an enduring fixture, and our opportunity to shift the global economy towards one that recognises the need to care for our people, wellbeing and planet will be nothing more than a flasher in the pan.