How to Adapt Your Business to the Post-COVID “New Normal”
Few things have turned the world on its head in such a short period of time as the COVID-19 pandemic. How we live, work, and interact today is very different from the norm just 4-5 months ago.
After months of shutdowns and an uncertain future as the pandemic continues to spread, UK business owners realise that there’s really no going back completely to the way things were pre-COVID. Even once this pandemic is under control, there’s no telling what the future will bring.
Businesses have to be agile, resilient, and flexible. They have to adapt to the “new normal.”
What this means is understanding the changes that the world has been through and what that means to all functions of business. From interacting and servicing customers to where employees work, the companies that will thrive in this new normal are the ones that can adapt their business solutions and processes accordingly.
Ways the Pandemic Has Changed How We Work
Following, are some of the ways that company processes and customer expectations have changed due to the pandemic. And this isn’t just a temporary change, many believe these changes are here to stay and will transition into our new normal.
More Remote Working
Prior to the pandemic only 30% of UK workers had experience working from home remotely.
Fast forward to June 2020, and now it’s estimated that nearly half (49%) of British employees not only have experience working from home but do it regularly.
The shutdowns to help prevent the spread of the pandemic resulted in companies and employees being forced into remote working. And many that never tried it before, have realised that it’s got several benefits.
Remote workers tend to be more productive, take fewer sick days, and also cost less for companies.
Remote work has been accelerated as a “way of life” for businesses, not only for those reasons, but because they need to be ready for another pandemic, or other unknown disruption, in the future.
This means putting permanent remote tools in place as well as company policies for remote workers.
Flexible Working Options
Closely related to remote workers is flexible working. This means more companies offering both flexible times to work as well as a combination of working from home and from the office.
Some of the benefits include the ability to expand customer service hours when employees work different hours. You can also take advantage of “the best of both worlds,” by keeping employees connected at your office and also allowing them to work remotely part of the time.
One of the technologies you may want to look into to make this easier is the Windows Virtual Desktop. This allows employees to virtually use their “main computer” from any location.
Contactless and Sanitized Ways of Doing Business
Masks, sanitiser, and directional distancing signage are all part of the reopening safeguards for UK businesses. If you want your customers and employees to feel safe coming to your office or retail location, that’s going to mean instituting new procedures and advertising them.
This includes things like “contactless” pickup or delivery of products, arranging more outdoor business areas (where possible), and being very aware of how your “touch surfaces” are disinfected.
Smaller Physical Offices
One of the cost-saving features of having some employees working from home remotely is that you don’t need as much office space. This can help companies reduce costs because they can rent smaller spaces.
This may include the introduction of things like Huddle Spaces to take the place of large conference rooms and optimising your desk and IT setup to more economically use space.
This also can drive the transition from paper files to going completely digital to reduce the need for rows of filing cabinets.
Innovative Uses of Real-Time Video
Video conferencing has become the new replacement for in-person meetings, allowing people to get as close as they can to a face-to-face feel without actually having to leave their home or office.
Competitive companies will come up with innovative uses for video beyond just online meetings, such as a replacement for vendor training, as a way to bring an onsite and remote team together each morning, or as a new, more interactive form of customer service.
Increased Focus on Cybersecurity
Hackers and cyber criminals have taken full advantage of the disruption of the pandemic. Surveyed IT security professionals have seen an increase during the COVID-19 outbreak in several areas. The top threats were cited as:
- Phishing (55%)
- Malicious websites (32%)
- Malware (28%)
- Ransomware (19%)
This means that cybersecurity will need to be on business owners’ minds even more and remote workers will also need to be included in cybersecurity strategies.
Remote tech support and managed IT services are now becoming a “must have” when it comes to protecting your business from cybersecurity incidents in an environment with increased threats.
Prepare Your Business to Thrive in the “New Normal”
Enable Technology can help you transition, streamline, and put cloud tools in place that will keep your business optimised and protected in this post-COVID business environment.