The Repercussions of the COVID-19 on a Romania-based Web-Design Business
While the gig economy is quickly gaining ground among students and employees, its effects entail a double burden that inflicts both psychological and organizational repercussions on a Romania-based Web Design company.
In a Lockdown Economy’s interview conducted on June 10, 2021, Coroi Corina welcomed Vlad Ionut, a manager of 20 people at Thecon, a Romania-based web design agency, whose services range from web design and mobile application development to outsourcing services by focusing on a diverse range of industries, such as fashion, healthcare, tourism and travel, education, food and restaurants, transportation and technology .
As the business has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, not only has it struggled with adapting to a dynamic business environment, Thecon has also lost track of its competitors’ behavior in the market. Working from home has been the new approach to work that demands more of its employees’ efforts. Consequently, Thecon has been struggling to keep the business afloat when its successes are being affected by both internal and external environments. Its primary needs right now are human resources, psychological support, and sustainable organizational culture. This article explores these three needs and attempts to address the institutional gap where governments, by means of law and regulations, have the authority to save both students and their businesses through recommendations for immediate actions.
The Need for Human Capital and Psychological Support
As an agency of around 50 people that relies on innovation and new ideas, many of Thecon’s employees are students. They live in campus dormitories in close proximity to the company's spaces, which carries considerable weight over both organizational sustainability and performance and highlights conflicting priorities. This work-from-home agenda has blurred the boundaries between the employees’ personal and professional lives where students with side jobs are being hit hard by the demanding, if not consuming, responsibilities of both their academic institutions and companies. As many people find it hard to meet the demand of the intersection between academic achievement and professional performance to make a living, the results are severe psychological and organizational repercussions that rarely have a quick and effective solution. This double-duty has considerable influence over an individual's personal and professional performance, which in turn cab impact the organization and its overall performance.
Call to Action: Stimulate University-MSMEs Collaboration
The governments can address two problems caused by the double burden by creating strategic partnerships with the most affected MSMEs, including Thecon, to provide internship opportunities where the performance of students on the job will be counted against their academic credits at university. In a few words, it means no double burden from studying and part-time jobs. This gives opportunities to students who are willing to learn by doing. On the other side, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Romania could provide leadership workshops for training & development Initiatives for MSMEs.
Sustainability of the Organization
The decrease in morale poses a considerable threat to organizational culture and sustainability. As a company providing various services, the principle of client orientation will be difficult to uphold when the company lacks knowledge regarding consumer behavior, market trends, government regulations, and competitors’ behavior.
On the other hand, Thecon is also working on a new product to be sold in the future as its contingency plan. While it will bring forth the intersection of both goods and services, organizational culture remains as one of the biggest determinants of its sustainability and credibility.
Call to Action: Provide Leadership Training to MSMEs
Government and the public sector can forge strategic alliances with management consulting firms to provide certified leadership programs to MSMEs. Independently of government, intergovernmental organizations could assign or recommend business consultants to the most affected businesses in every country.
Students with side jobs are not only trying to make a living, but not to confine themselves to the intellectual boundaries of the major they chose at their university. They are giving the “double duty” the benefit of the doubt to enhance not only their intellectual freedom but their emotional intelligence and professional skills. Governments can help students and businesses accommodate the interests of both parties.
Written by Aulia Shifa Hamida is an Undergraduate Public Administration Student at Universitas Indonesia.
Edited by Isabella White
In 2020 Think Tank AlterContacts launched the Lockdown Economy, an international non-profit grassroots social-economic and educational initiative to help small businesses and self-employed professionals overcome the challenges of the pandemic and reactivate the economy. It is registered by the United Nations as an Acceleration Action for SDG. From May 2020 until July 2021 we have been collecting insights from small business owners and self-employed professionals from different business sectors and countries to see how the COVID-19 pandemic affected their business, their life, and future. This article is based on the field research of the Lockdown Economy.
Think Tank AlterContacts, Lockdown Economy initiative, Lockdown Economy Romania in a web design agency with Vlad Ionut. Available at https://youtu.be/gV_V4nritJA