The Covid outbreak has already changed the business landscape forever, making some corporations stronger than before. Here are some of the ways Covid-19 is prompting companies to make changes and, as a result, strengthen their business.
The rapid spread of Covid-19 has forever altered the pages of history and rewritten the future of business. As the world moves from crisis management to recovery and looks toward the post-pandemic future, there are glimpses of how the outbreak is changing companies all over the world, no matter what their size.
While many hope to someday return to business as usual, there is a strong likelihood that many of the changes taking place in business today will outlast the pandemic and remain in place as part of the new business culture. Out of the fire rises the phoenix, as they say, and many corporations will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.
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Here are some of the ways Covid-19 is prompting companies to make changes and, as a result, strengthen their business.
1. Stronger workplace culture
Companies with good workplace practices and a general concern for all of their stakeholders are more equipped to weather a crisis like the one we are experiencing now with Covid-19. On all levels, leaders are reminded that their employees, stakeholders, partners, and vendors exist not in a vacuum but rather, in an ecosystem.
In an ecosystem, when one entity is disrupted, the effects ripple outward and touch everyone within it. Working together with stakeholders and partners, companies can survive the pandemic because they can share knowledge, plan the recovery, and rely upon goodwill and trust to achieve a common goal: getting back to business.
It is the same on a micro level, within companies who have a strong workplace culture. Social responsibility and a mutual feeling of shared values can help corporate teams transcend the crisis as they work together to solve the problems they encounter because of the pandemic.
When leaders help employees remain positive, and empower them to feel useful and make decisions together, when communication is abundant and transparent, and when there is a renewed emphasis on the broader purpose or the company mission and shared values, the company will be stronger.
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2. A more customer-centric mindset
As brick and mortar locations shut down, companies are discovering the value of having an online presence. This is not limited to retailers — telecommunications and utility companies with customer service locations for bill paying have moved those functions online, too. The impact on banking has been significant too, as they push customers toward digital channels for customer service, advice, and some banking transactions.
The software industry is not left behind in all this. The need to offer constant communication and peace of mind that development processes are not affected by the almost total closure of economic activities, highlights the importance of always thinking about meeting client needs.
All that results in more channels to keep track of customer needs and solve problems faster, which helps corporations make the move toward becoming more customer-centric.
3. Improved workplace safety/hygiene
Changes in business operations where safety comes first. A renewed emphasis on workplace safety springing from the precautions companies must now take to stay in operation. Now, it is not just about compliance — it is about individual health and safety, too. Motivated by the need to stay safe and the desire to keep businesses open, employees are more likely to take seriously the workplace safety requirements mandated by the government, the C-suite, and/or Human Resources.
4. Improved supply chain transparency
The Coronavirus outbreak has aimed the spotlight on the sheer complexity of all supply chains, which points out how fragile they are. Businesses with global supply chains are especially feeling the pain right now.
For example, a North American manufacturing plant orders parts from a German supplier who must shut down operations because they get some of their parts from a Polish supplier who, in turn, orders a cheaply-made component from a Chinese plant that shut down in February because of the outbreak.
In manufacturing, for example, as warehouses empty out and they use up their stock of raw materials, they may seek out a supplier base that is closer to home. If that is not possible, they will face tough challenges in the near and distant future.
Supply chain managers will be motivated to look deeper into their supply chains, vetting their vendors more thoroughly or even looking for new local options or nearshore companies that can work well in tough times.
5. More resilient infrastructures
Covid-19 will change technical infrastructures too. Software systems that allow for remote management and control of branch offices will help reduce person-to-person contact because IT staff will no longer have to travel to provide support. Network architectures may have to be updated to accommodate increased traffic from remote work, increased use of cloud-based collaboration tools, and more.
Physical workplaces may change as well. Indoor air quality has a direct impact on employee health and productivity. By improving air circulation and filtration, managers can mitigate health risks and keep employees productive.
6. New business models and products
Aside from becoming more customer-centric, companies will develop new business models as they shift to e-commerce and find new ways to fulfill consumer demand by developing new products. They will, as a result, learn to become more Agile so they can keep evolving.
7. More efficient communications
Remote work has been around for years now but Covid-19 brings new context to the matter and emphasizes the importance of having good communications systems in place. During the moments of panic at the outset of the stay-at-home orders, when companies and employees were scrambling to figure out how to conduct business remotely and be productive, there was a steep learning curve. Many had never used the tools of remote work before: technology tools like Slack and Zoom, for example.
The tools and skills that remote workers have been using while they sheltered in place will be useful even after the pandemic has subsided and business returns to some degree of normalcy.
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If anything, the Coronavirus has taught thousands the importance of having both synchronous (Zoom meetings) and asynchronous communications (Slack). In the world of remote work, both types of communications are critical to the success of remote work. It is not always possible to have face-to-face meetings. Platforms like Slack keep people productive, as they can work uninterrupted and take care of communications, messages, questions, etc. all at once when it is convenient for them.
A final word
The Covid outbreak and the months’-long shutdown have left their mark on the corporate world. While some companies may switch to autopilot once the crisis is over, resuming operations as they once were before 2020, most will find that the crisis has left indelible marks and things will never be the same.
Those who survive will definitely be stronger than ever. The effects of the crisis have created lasting changes that are, for the most part, based on trends that were already taking root: digital transformation and innovation, remote work, an emphasis on company culture, and supply chain transparency were all popular initiatives before the onset of Covid-19.
Now, they have moved up to the top of the agenda and companies are going to be stronger for it. For them, it could actually mean that there is a silver lining to what the pandemic has brought to the world.
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