The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted businesses the world over. Some companies had to shut down altogether, and most of those that managed to survive saw a steep decline in revenues. Businesses learnt that traditional approaches do not serve them well in times of unprecedented crisis.
2020, though an overwhelmingly negative year for many, has paved the way for new philosophies and management principles. Here are 8ways COVID-19 has changed the way we do business, likely forever.
1. Digitization Drive
As lockdowns restricted physical interactions, most businesses were compelled to go online and embrace digital methods. As the digital business culture has become the norm, even those that managed to continue to run physical premises have adopted digital payment systems such as e-POS units, card payment devices, and digital e-wallets.
As online shopping gathered pace, many businesses found it was necessary to establish and maintain an online presence for the first time. Many companies today depend on digital technologies for sales and marketing, as well as internal communication and operations. There has also been a rise in cloud-based businesses in this changing environment.
2. Remote Work Culture
One major change for businesses in the context of the pandemic was the rapid growth of remote work culture. As offices had to shut their doors, most work moved online. The work-from-home (WFH) model gained more popularity than ever. However, this also brought many challenges such as managing human resources, productivity, training, communication, and documentation. At the same time, companies have worked to address these challenges and developed new forms of business frameworks which will allow them to work more efficiently in the future.
3. Planning for Triumph
The nature of business planning and strategy development today is entirely different from before, thanks to lessons learned during the pandemic. Strategic frameworks now allow more flexibility to deal with uncertainties. The importance has shifted to multiple short-term objectives instead of a single long-term plan.
This approach can easily accommodate any changes that may be required due to unforeseen events. Today, systems that are highly adaptable to change have become an essential requirement for businesses, allowing them to be resilient and sustainable in difficult times. Contingency planning and a readiness to improvise are also gaining importance.
4. Increased Diversification
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the fact that it is always necessary to have a plan B. Any company with just a single product risks absolute failure. Many companies managed to stay in business only because they dealt in multiple products, or were able to adapt their business model.
While a range of products suffered, others saw increased demand in the context of COVID-19. Some enterprises even stopped marketing their primary products temporarily and turned to COVID-related goods and services like sanitiser and face-masks. Today, businesses put more emphasis on having a range of diverse options, so that while one part of their business suffers, another will thrive.
5. Greater Innovation
An essential lesson the pandemic taught us is that you can’t overcome a crisis without an innovation. This has led more institutions are to dedicate more capital to new ideas and innovation. It has long been the case that companies that fail to innovate to keep pace with the changing demands of the market face failure, and this has only been accelerated by COVID-19. Innovation is probably the single most important factor that can allow businesses to succeed in times of crisis.
6. Time Management vs Productivity Management
The concept of Time Management has been giving way to Productivity Management for some time and COVID-19 has accelerated this change. With remote work, it has become impractical and meaningless to monitor employees’ hours. Instead, it is more important to track their output and productivity. Hence, many companies have been increasingly leaning towards the concept of productivity instead of tracking hours worked.
7. Redefining Leadership
As the pandemic moved most employee activity to remote locations that gave staff more autonomy in their work, the principles of management have shifted. There is the less personal interaction between supervisors and employees today. Though project-management is critical, each employee working from home has a great deal of freedom and flexibility with work hours, work atmosphere, and workflow.
Many things, including productivity strategies, have to be managed by staff with less supervision. This demands leadership qualities in every employee, asking them to handle crucial matters independently, in a departure from previous top-down approaches to team management.
8. Rethinking Supply Chains
Some of the industries that were worst hit by Covid-19 were the transportation, shipping, and travel sectors. Logistics and supply chains suffered, and international businesses have been struck hard by the pandemic. This has made businesses think of new and better strategies for managing their supply chains which will help them to better manage times of uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has given businesses many important lessons and radically changed the way people handle business operations. Innovative strategies, as well as collaborative and diversified efforts, have become the mark of successful businesses today.