Our lives have been turned upside-down these past few months due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. However, in amongst the tragedy and havoc that the global pandemic has wreaked, a positive side-effect has been noted by many business leaders; digital transformation is being accelerated at an unprecedented speed, scale and effectiveness and will have long-lasting implications for businesses. Even once the impact of the virus dissipates, we are unlikely to return to what was “business-as-usual”. Instead, we’ll have to adapt to the new “normal” way of working.
1. PRIORITISING WORK/LIFE BALANCE
From children running in and out of the background of Zoom meetings, to the elimination of the tedious commute, the crisis has shattered the divide between professional and personal life. Remote working practices will be well-established once (if!) we begin to return to our places of work and employees, especially younger generations, will expect greater flexibility, trust and acknowledgement from their employers to establish a work/life balance.
2. A DIGITAL-FIRST MINDSET
The last resistors of digital-first solutions have been forced to adapt the way they work. Suddenly, the need to travel between cities, countries and across time-zones seems unnecessary. We have saved so much time and money by using Zoom instead! Once travel and face-to-face meetings become safe once again, the question of in-person vs virtual communication will be more of a consideration. From initial consultations, to project management and collaborative communication, there are effective software solutions that are more time and cost-effective compared to face-to-face meetings.
3. CONNECTED COMMUNICATIONS
Centralised communication channels such as Slack have enabled teams to communicate with transparency, accountability and a greater sense of collaboration, which perhaps before was only shared between senior members of a team. On the return to the office, companies will do well not to return to the time-sink of email and, instead, continue to encourage employees to communicate openly among company-wide and team channels.
5. AGILE WORKING
Our heightened awareness of the rate of change in day-to-day life, combined with the requirement to act with decisiveness has forced us all to adopt an Agile approach to work. As innovation in technology will dictate more adaptive ways of working, especially as automation and artificial intelligence begin to play a greater role in our day-to-day business activities, businesses should remain receptive to change and continue practicing Agile working post-pandemic.
5. PEOPLE-FIRST COMPANY CULTURE
As the pandemic has spread, companies who have thought laterally to repurpose their offering and show their “human” side have gained a sense of relevance and positive cultural reputations. From the production of hand sanitiser in distilleries, to hospital gowns by fashion manufacturers, these brands have been digging deep to put people first, before targets and revenue. After the pandemic, businesses should be prepared to nurture and develop this newly-exposed empathy to strengthen their cultural resilience.
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