Many of us are trying to work out what the future beholds beyond COVID-19 and what the Next Normal might be. What is for sure is that the global pandemic is likely to change the way we live, work, and learn for good. The norms of the past will change. The impact of the pandemic is and will continue to force change,
"Here are some of our meanderings:"
Business Resilience & Preparedness
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our ability and our preparedness for the unexpected. We have done some resilience planning around many incidents and natural disasters, but few were ready for a global and deadly pandemic. The initial shock of an incident shakes up the old normal and goes through a series of evolution to discover the new normal, often more resilient than the original state.
The lessons learned will help businesses survive and withstand incidents and disasters into the future, these will include a greater focus on, and potential key performance indicators to measure an organizations state of preparedness:
Robust Business Continuity Plans and Emergency Preparedness readiness
Sufficient cash reserves and liquidity to survive a major incident
Nimble enough to scale forward or scale back costs and overhead
Adaptability to a new operating environment
Ability to innovate quickly and react to new opportunities
Leadership level-headedness to steer through to the New Normal
The need for nimble and swift change is critical in adjusting to any emergency, and the way that organizations run has undoubtedly changed with such velocity few had imagined. Operations of the past are no longer relevant for the current or for the future, and the need to right-size existing operations, economics, and even contractual arrangements is upon us, even if for the short term but certainly for the new future.
"Beyond these more elementary observations, here are our thoughts and meanderings on how COVID-19 may affect the New Normal:"
In a way like never before and far beyond health and wellness. How do employers make sure that they honor their level of responsibility to the lives of their employees and their families?
"Safety has always been a #1 consideration, but COVID-19 has accentuated that focus even further up the list of executive priorities."
The Rise in Homeworking
Is inevitable. Collaborative technology such as video has been around for many years but over the recent weeks, we have learned to really adopt this not only in business but to keep in contact with loved ones in the next town or around the world. We have even learned to have happy hour cocktails and dinner parties with friends and family.
"This technology and these new behaviors are here to stay."
At some level is also likely to stay. The days of the movie theater may be numbered. The way restaurants run may change to more take-home models. The end of the salad bar, the buffet for sure. Crowded elevators may be a thing of the past, meeting rooms full of people, the common practice of going to work with a cold.
"The fragility the virus has exposed will undoubtedly change our behaviors."
Of buildings which were previously places of work, study, for entertainment, for retail have dramatically reduced and the legacy may well continue. Do schools reopen as they were, or a new way of managing space combined with remote learning, rostered attendance, and field trips? Do workers that have already proven their efficiency working from the home return to the office?
"The way in which we utilize space and physical interaction is likely to change for good."
Commuting & Business Travel
The human being is a social animal and the need for one to one interaction can never be totally replaced, however, we have been learning well and learning fast. After COVID-19, why would individuals go back to their in extreme cases, 2 hour each way commutes crammed on a tube train?
Why would organizations reopen the pandora's box of travel to fly from one side of the country to another for a 2-hour business meeting?
Not only the cost but the efficiency and time given back to employees will positively impact work-life balance, health and happiness, and notably sustainability.
The Future of Real Estate
It is set for disruption like no other time before. If fewer people are going to work less, then beyond the expanded footprint to accommodate social distancing, the footprint requirement will still shrink. Therefore, what will become of the latent space? Will the potentially empty shopping mall become a lifestyle center with a hotel, even residential accommodation, a self-sufficient town that in theory, you would not need to leave? And what about the same for a corporate office building?
Live where you work, work where you live might be the new future and a way to limit exposure to external risk.
The Employee Experience
Whether working remotely or at company premises, how do organizations protect and promote the health and wellbeing of all their employees no matter where they are? How does the homeworker get access to the same safety blanket and levels of diligence and care for their welfare? How does the homeworker get the same level of access to the benefits, amenities, and perks of the office?
Proactively tackling the haves and the have nots will become a priority.
Reimagining the Future
Every business is very different, requirements are unique but what is for sure, that the future needs reimagining and those that take a longer-term view beyond survival but identify a way in which to thrive in the new future will come out the strongest, and be best placed to grasp the inevitable opportunities on the other side.
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4xi Global supports organizations through the navigation of change and we believe in Optimizing the Power of Potential. Get in touch today to see how we can help you navigate the future.