The detection of the newest Covid19 variant called Omicron has confirmed the fact that businesses are operating in a time of profound uncertainty and these uncertainties are here to stay for as far as the eye can see. The question that takes centre stage in all this is- how do businesses equip their organisation with the necessary skills and resources to prepare for the next normal?
Before answering that question it is important to know what the new normal is. It refers to the changing environment and conditions that people today are working and living in on the account of the pandemic. When the crisis hit, several businesses were on the verge of complete shutdown and had to find ways to connect with their customers. The new normal led to rapid digitisation and suddenly almost every business implemented technology-led innovative ideas to make up for the lost consumer base. For some this new normal has proven to be the end of the road and for others, it is just the beginning.
Here are some very critical considerations that every business should keep in mind to be ready for whatever may come in its way.
Searching from Scratch
Unless there is a glitch in the process, we by the human tendency don’t bother to look for the flaws. Similarly, the pandemic has acted as a glitch which on a positive note has forced the businesses to look for loopholes and shortcomings in their processes and way of doing business. For example, some businesses had a problem with their supply chain mechanism while others weren’t managing their business operations aptly. Thus the obvious step forward and a lesson is to not just look at the problem as an individual concern but as a connected web because one problem can help businesses discover prospective issues that might appear in the future on the occasion of any other similar situation as the pandemic. The big guys of the business should start the process by taking a holistic look at their organisation. They will have to be far more engaged in the business process while also avoiding micro-managing the business because it leaves no scope for innovation.
With the latest innovation in technology, there is humongous data available for each aspect of the business. Thus properly collecting and drawing meaning out of the data becomes crucial for decision making. Towards this step, the businesses can hire experts in data analysis to convert raw and meaningless data into easy to comprehend and digestible form. Forging a successful future for the business lies in the ability to take timely actions based on statistical measures and not on random intuitions. This means that the financial statements are not enough and that leaders should embrace new data analysis tools and techniques to comprehend meaning out of the business activities and operations.
Will to Adapt
The pandemic is just an explicit example of environmental and economic uncertainties which successful business leaders were expectant of even before the pandemic happened. This habit of being wary of the turbulent nature of the environment in which businesses today operate is the reason why many of the businesses were able to glide through the mess smoothly while the opposite happened for those who weren’t. To do the right thing, the leaders must not be adamant about sticking to old ways of doing things rather adapt and find ways to enhance business acumen through new trends and technology. Truly adapting businesses will be those who think like a start-up and keep their options open and must be quick in revamping obsolete models with new ones in a matter of time. Additionally, adaptability must compliment business staying relevant to consumers even after overhauling the previous ways and methods of doing business. It is so because change might disconnect the consumer or change their experience associated with the firm. Thus focusing on consumer loyalty and continuously working towards adding value will ensure stability in challenging times.
Utilising the New Technologies
The overnight spurt in technology application in every part of the business domain would not have been possible without the urgency created by the pandemic. Although the pandemic physically established boundaries between people but technology brought together the world closer than ever before. Therefore it is easy to comprehend the power technology holds in helping the business reach new heights. Strengthening digital capabilities and matching steps with advancements in technology will be a key element of growth that is inclusive of future uncertainties. Usage of technology should not be limited to the premises only; leaders should make an effort to extend the technology over to endpoint users that is the customers. A study found out that 37% of consumers preferred to stay indoors while doing activities like making purchases, working, and socialising. Technology like AI and robotics can facilitate these activities by facilitating a contactless environment.
Since the globe is connected more than ever before, businesses can take advantage of the superior quality of workforce from all around the world with the help of technology. On one hand, the quest for finding the best personnel for the organisation physically can be replaced up to a great extent by a virtual and better workforce from any corner of the world. To do so leaders need to adopt flexible and more open work arrangements. On the other hand, the work from home situation is here to stay and as the economy opens up businesses should not focus on restoring the pre-pandemic work arrangements rather embrace the new situation. A Stanford study of 16000 workers found that working from home increased worker productivity by 13%. Another study by ConnectSolutions stated that 77% of those who worked remotely at least a few times per month show increased productivity. An organisation’s personnel are its most important asset and being flexible ensures that they perform to their fullest without being micromanaged.