COVID-19 has undoubtedly changed the world as we know it. With the global economy turned on its head and many companies experiencing the most dramatic digital shift in human history, it is almost certain that this crisis will be the catalyst for some long-lasting changes to how we work.
Very few businesses will avoid being either restructured, rebuilt, or liquidated – so how can we prepare for life after coronavirus?
Focus on digital transformation
If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that technology is our business continuity lifeline. Businesses that have designed their solutions to fully harness the potential of cloud computing can hope to come out of this with less overall disruption.
However, just 12% of people polled in a Gartner business continuity webinar believe that their businesses are highly prepared for the impact of coronavirus. For those that have fallen behind the digital transformation trend, or who still rely on legacy applications, the race is on to become more digitally agile.
It is likely that the crisis will cull a lot of outdated practices, and force many businesses to reconsider their digital transformation timeline. With a huge surge in the utilisation of cloud computing, connectivity and mobile devices seen in the past few months, it seems many are fast-tracking their digital transformation to build business resilience.
We are slowly replacing the physical with the virtual, meaning spending won’t necessarily be cut, rather shifted. So you may be spending less on travel to meetings, but more on video-conferencing or cloud-based solutions such as Remote Desktop or Backups.
Be flexible with remote working
A new generation of workers looking for flexibility, autonomy and freedom have been driving forward the case for remote working for the past decade, but coronavirus has forced it to become the new norm.
Many employees have noticed substantial financial and health benefits of working from home. Whether it’s saving on travel costs and commuting time, or enjoying a better work-life balance, it would be surprising if there wasn’t an increase in requests to make remote working more permanent.
According to Strategy Analytics, the global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.87 billion people by 2022, accounting for 42.5% of the world’s working population. Therefore, being able to support remote working will inevitably become an important competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, as well as employee satisfaction and productivity.
With cloud-based tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Asana supporting millions of personal and corporate interactions every minute, remote working has become completely accessible and painless. So, why not continue to build on your remote-working policy during and after the crisis?
Adapt to new ways of connecting with your audience
During a time of crisis, marketers have been getting creative with how they are reaching their audiences from a distance. Mass industry events have gone virtual, content has focused on being helpful rather than sales-focused, and many industries have become more active on social networks than ever before.
With so many turning to social media to connect with friends and family or check for news updates, it is the perfect platform to reach an audience on. Could this change the way businesses market, for good?
Digital conferences have advantages over in-person events – they have limitless capacity, are easier and cheaper to organise, and without the restraint of travelling time, speakers could do more than one per day! Facebook, Google, Adobe and YouTube are all to host virtual versions of their popular conferences during this lockdown period, but whether or not the format will stick post-pandemic remains to be seen.
Use this time to develop your business
Whilst it is hard to predict what business demand will look like after the pandemic has ended and restrictions are lifted, it is important to be ready.
Taking advantage of this downtime by encouraging employees to undergo training and development programmes online is a great investment in the business and prepares you for a more productive future.
This is also a good time to look at any time-consuming processes such as SEO or site audits, CRM cleanups or competitor research. Get ahead of your competition by using this time to do all the things that you never have time to do in the office.
Keep in touch with key contacts
Whether it is clients, suppliers or partners, everyone is feeling the effects of COVID-19, so it’s a good time to reach out and stay connected.
We’ve all been inundated with crisis response emails from every business we’ve ever signed up to or bought something from, making it all the more important to give that personal touch and check-in to see how they are doing.
How a company behaves during a crisis is how they will be remembered afterwards, so keeping strong relationships during a period of downtime is essential to keeping them active once the industry is back on its feet.
How prepared are you?
Whilst we are unsure when this crisis will end, we know that one day it will.
But even when this crisis is over, new habits will have been formed and the post-pandemic world will look very different from the pre-pandemic world.
It is clear that we will emerge from this period stronger, more resilient and better connected as a global society, but is your business prepared for the ‘new normal’? Which parts of our lockdown lives do we wish to retain, and which parts of our old lives do we wish to return to?
Are you prepared for a post-pandemic world? Let us know your thoughts @hyve!