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Different companies have been affected by the pandemic in different ways, some have adapted and others have had to close their doors for good. For those who have survived there are lessons to be learned and a lot of work to be done in order to ensure the future resilience and success of their companies.
Travel companies for instance have been hit very hard by the shutdown at probably their peak time of operations. This has affected a multiplicity of companies in the ecosystem that relied upon seasonal traffic. This is not the only example of an industry decimated by an unexpected health crisis. What it shows is that the unexpected must be prepared for and that no-one is immune.
Thankfully there is a lot of study and investigations being made into the best strategies going forwards. Things such as diversifying the product range, remodelling the supply chain, rethinking the ecosystem, and building resilient digital models. Other ideas include designing special offices that are able to handle a pandemic such as Covid-19 or reduce the spread of such viruses with new technology and best practices.
Companies who survive the pandemic in 2020 are likely to be more successful going forward. The crisis and shock to the system has forced businesses to think creatively and solve future problems as well and immediate ones. Some of the strategies outlined in this article are likely to form the core of best practice for many, if not all, Covid survivors.
For some businesses such as home office suppliers, internet and communication enablers, and home delivery companies, the pandemic has been something of a shot in the arm. But others, like travel, hospitality, and events industries, among others, have felt the full impact of the shutdown and some may not ever recover.
Thankfully those are in the minority and most businesses are searching for the best ways to bounce back and pandemic proof the infrastructure of their business for the future. But what are these strategies and how can they help to reestablish a business and bring it back to its pre-pandemic profitability? Unfortunately there is no one size fits all solution, much of the answer will lay in the nature of the business and how creative you’re willing to be.
A big part of being a successful business is solving relevant problems for customers, and these days relevant problems are not hard to find. Take some time to brainstorm how the coronavirus pandemic has affected your customers and how you might be able to solve the issue. See a good example here. These problems may not be very different from the product or service you’ve always offered but with a little creative marketing you can alter your sales pitch to make the offer more appealing.
It’s important to embrace new sales channels if you haven’t done that already, not just for today but for tomorrow as well. Can your business offer an online service in any capacity. This is easy for retail companies and education facilities but perhaps not as practical for outdoor events. Regardless, there should be an opportunity to shift at least some part of the business over to a digital platform.
If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything it’s that a business must have a flexible and adaptable business model that takes account of its product or service in relation to its business ecosystem, it’s supply chains, which have been significantly affected by the pandemic, as well as its brick and mortar infrastructure and ability to adapt to future shocks to the system.
Reevaluate your primary product or service and analyse whether or not it could be adapted to fulfill a new need. Many businesses form part of an economic ecosystem that relies on other businesses too. Can your product be altered in some way to rely more on a digital ecosystem that is effectively pandemic proof.
Of course this will not satisfy all companies and many will need to look at expanding their product range into new and emerging markets in order to create demand and stay in business. Where there is a crisis there is also an opportunity and now is an excellent time to consider what new products you might be able to trade that would be less vulnerable to a global pandemic. You would need to look at products that don’t require a huge supply chain and that can be offered as a digital service if required.
To ensure your business model is flexible and adaptable going forward it’s important that you consider not just your products, services, and infrastructure, but also your employees. It may well be necessary to have a bricks and mortar location as a workplace but your workers must also have the capability to adapt to a different working environment at short notice. In some ways this pandemic has been the wake up call we all needed.
In the next five years your workforce is set to change and grow. Its estimate that by 2025 around one third of the modern workforce will be composed of millennials. Millennials think differently, communicate differently, and have different values to previous generations. If you want your workplace to be millennial friendly it’s worth modifying it to meet their expectations. But what does this mean? In a Microsoft survey, it was found that millennials valued technology in the workplace very highly – their need to communicate with effective technology was much greater than conventional workplace perks.
An example of this would be employee communication tools. This integrative software allows users to chat in real time. There is no need for emails, radios, or paper, the software allows employees to communicate using text messages and video conferencing. It allows live chats with up to 10 people or a broadcast video with up to 400. It is ideal for remote team meetings, 1:1 interviews, or social interactions. Announcements can be made to the entire organization using integrated communication software that keeps everyone in the loop. By investing in the right way now your business will be more flexible and therefore more steady going forward.
Furthermore the office environment will have to be adapted to facilitate any future crisis that may occur. Technology that has existed for a few years will accelerate and become commonplace in many workplaces. All human to surface contact will be minimised using swipe using swipe cards and voice activation. It will be possible to enter an office, turn on the lights and make a coffee without the need to touch a single surface. This may present some security problems but it is the best way to respond to the health challenges facing office environments.
The digital workplace is something of a natural evolution. As technology has become smarter and more integrated into our lives and as our professional lives have become more blended with our personal ones, the digital workplace has crept in bit-by-bit. Whether it’s answering emails from home or working on a project that requires video conferencing, our conventional workplaces have been moving in this direction for quite some time.
The Covid Pandemic, however, has accelerated the change. Companies have had to think quickly when their employees suddenly could not come to the office. Luckily, enough digital infrastructure did exist at the time and people had enough working knowledge of it to establish practical solutions. The work from home (WFH) set up quickly became the new normal with companies relying on digital infrastructure and ways of working that were really in their infancy.
The positive way to look at the crisis is as a grand experiment in digital workplaces and the signs are encouraging. Employees are enjoying the flexibility and lower commuting times and expenses. Companies too, where possible are taking advantage of the new flexibility to develop future business models that appear to be inspired by the Covid Crisis.
Businesses are now likely to build on these foundational principles going forward and create a digital workplace that is fully equipped with the software tools, security protocols, and resilience to technical distributions built into their platforms. It’s also a suitable setup for many in the emerging workforce who value more autonomy and digital interactions.
Businesses need to think creatively about their product ranges and their place in the ecosystem. It will be necessary to diversify products and services as well as meet the emerging needs of customers. The last few months has been about survival for many businesses but now they are looking at how to learn from what has happened and move forward.
Companies will be looking at not only expanding the product range and reducing the supply chain as far as possible, they will also be setting up a flexible digital workplace that is fully integrated, secure, and accessible to all employees. It will be important in the future to facilitate a working environment that offers a multiplicity of options. Finally, by 2025 the majority of the workforce will be millenials whose expectations will be very different from previous generations.
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