Covid-19 has had a significant impact on businesses in every sector. Companies are learning the importance of being resilient, resourceful and being prepared for the unexpected. But that’s not all. Along the way, the crisis has revealed valuable insights that have led to changes and many firms asking: why didn’t we do this earlier?
Perhaps the biggest lesson for companies has been that working from home and other flexible working policies are good for business. Firms that, for one reason or another, were hesitant to adopt working from home practices, have had no choice but to give WFH (Work From Home) a go. Vast numbers of people are now working from home. And, as both employees and businesses see the benefits, it looks likely that many companies will be adopting flexible working practices permanently.
Clearly, by working from home, the daily commute has been eliminated and employees are enjoying a better work/life balance. In turn, this has translated into benefits for employers in the form of a happier, more productive workforce. Companies are reporting other advantages too. Virtual meetings tend to be more structured and effective than a crowded conference room and there are considerable cost savings to be gained with no workers on site.
Implementing flexible working practices such as WFH has meant that companies have also had to change the way they work. This has meant updating IT infrastructure, as well as improving work processes. All this is making businesses more streamlined and efficient. Digital technology, Cloud applications and virtual solutions are all powering this digital transformation, helping teams to collaborate, communicate and operate as usual. Services such as KoalaPays payments platform is just one example of how these new, fully digital solutions can benefit businesses.
One thing everyone has learned from Covid-19 is that you can’t predict what’s round the corner. That’s why it’s so important to plan for every conceivable contingency. Despite the unexpected magnitude of the current crisis, those companies that had even generic disaster recovery and contingency plans in place will have been more resilient than those without.
Those without such plans are now doing the same, creating dedicated ‘disaster’ teams to look at business processes and links in the supply chain, where things can go wrong and what can be done to mitigate risks in the event of a crisis. Again, digitalisation is key here. The more business processes are outsourced to the Cloud, the more they will be protected.
Proactive planning for the future
While disaster recovery and contingency planning is essential to safeguard against the unknown, business planning for what you can see is just as important. Things are unlikely to be the same ever again for businesses – in every sector – so it’s important to look ahead to spot opportunities and challenges that might be coming down the line for your business. Flexibility is key here.
Get your team together for a meeting to review the changes implemented as a result of the pandemic. Question what’s working and what isn’t. Then discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead. How can you prepare for them? Let everyone have a say. You might be surprised by some of the ideas and solutions you discover.
Tackling Covid-19 has meant everyone working together, from governments and state bodies to businesses and their customers. Beating the challenges to come in the wake of the pandemic will depend on the same co-operation. Solutions happen when people work together, whether that’s a business and its staff, partners and customers, or even collaborations with competing firms.
Rather than sticking to tried and tested ways of doing business that have worked up until now, business owners must look at the new paradigm created by Covid-19 and proactively develop new strategies that will help their business not only survive, but thrive in the era that is to come.