FBC board member Heidi Mäkinen blogs: Staying Connected

Thank you for taking the time to read this latest blog post by Finnish Business Council Singapore! Whilst we all must acknowledge the challenges in the current state of the world, we want to continue doing our best in stay connected and keep connecting our members and partners.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives on a scale that most have never witnessed before. We experience difficulties to a different degree. The social, economic and environmental impact is incomprehensible. I acknowledge the hardship that many of us are experiencing, yet on this blog, I would like to concentrate on the positives and the new possibilities. We are also calling for all members to join our efforts in keeping everyone connected.

So, the positives! Actions to mitigate the impacts of Coronavirus have very quickly generated structures that would have taken a lot of time (and resistance) to implement under “normal circumstance”. Think about the “work from home” policies for example. In many companies, the flexibility with office staff already existed, in many it didn’t. Perhaps we were still asking the questions like “Can we trust our employees?” or “How do we monitor and measure their workload?”. COVID-19 gave us no chance but trust and put those structures in place, almost immediately. “Working from home” requires discipline but for many Singaporeans and residents, it also means less time spent in commuting and being stuck in traffic. It also means more flexibility in terms of organising one’s day to meet the requirements of the work and personal life. I personally hope this flexibility came to stay, and companies can benefit from it in various ways, too.

Already more than ten years ago, the Singapore Health Promotion Board (HPB) launched a National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign to focus on the dangers of obesity considering the growing health challenges of obesity and its associated diseases in Singapore. For sure, Singapore has made significant achievements in improving the health status of its people. Still, for many, eating healthy and finding time to exercise has been a challenge. But how about if you are only allowed to go out to buy food and exercise? If that was your only way out, you would use the opportunity, wouldn’t you? Our national parks and park connectors are now so busy that we actually need an app to check on the crowd levels at parks near our homes. I think it’s an amazing response, and I hope that people continue going out for exercise and simply spending time in nature also after the pandemic is over.

I just happened to read an article saying that some residents in northern India say they can see the Himalayas for the first time in 30 years as the pollution levels in India drop. No need to go that far though to witness the changes in the environment. Less than two weeks ago, I travelled across the Benjamin Sheares Bridge overlooking Marina Bay, and for the first time ever, I saw mountains behind the container ships behind Marina South. The mountains of Batam mere 30 kilometres away! It was a beautiful sight and such concrete evidence of the positive impacts the pandemic has on our environment and nature.

“Amid its volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity lays hidden opportunities for learning, reinvention, and evolution – at the individual, organizational and societal levels.” Many people have come forward to support communities, to share their experiences and to create new innovative ways of doing things. Currently in FBC, we are facing challenging times in trying to organise webinars instead of face-to-face events. It is important to keep in touch and we still want to remain connected and be at your service. Would YOU as an FBC member be interested in sharing your expertise or a subject which you think would be of interest of our members and community? You can suggest topics and speakers to us by e-mailing fbcsg@fbcsg.org .

Stay home – Stay safe – Stay healthy!

Heidi Mäkinen, Wärtsilä Corporation