5 changes to your business during the post-Covid-19 era
As we ease into a new stage of Covid-19, it’s time to consider what will happen when businesses start opening up. Kavita Singh reports.
Working from home will become the new normal
For the past few months, businesses have transitioned from the offices to the comfort of everyone’s homes. While for some, it was an easy transition, others struggled.
As we begin to gradually ease out of the pandemic, it is now clear that businesses can be run from home. This means people can be more flexible with commuting and travelling to the office (depending on where you are). Perhaps it makes sense to loosen WFH restrictions for your company. Others might want to stay at home for the time-being for safety reasons, so make sure you’re respecting everyone’s needs, as well as those eager to head back to the office.
Tom Castley, VP of sales at Outreach UK, said: “It should come as no surprise that more than half of office workers will continue to work from home for the rest of the summer. The lockdown has shown that while offices are nice to have, they are not fundamental for the running of many companies. Business leaders should remember post-Covid-19 that talent is accessible anywhere, and that includes remote workers. Not all talent is based behind the big city office walls.”
Whatever business procedures you implement, make sure they’re for everyone in the business. If offices open, hand sanitizers should be in plain sight for all employees, employees should be given instructions on how to enter and exit the building, and people should be able to feel 100% comfortable in their office space.
In addition, there should be flexibility on those who might’ve gone home to another country during lockdown. Understand they might be figuring out travel details and what is and isn’t safe for them. The last thing you would want to do is make anyone internally feel pressure to return.
Technology emerges and optimises
Throughout the pandemic, technology has been fundamental to people’s ability to work from home. And if their technology wasn’t working before, lockdown made it clear. As some of us begin to enter back into the office, it is important to keep in mind that, if you’ve changed your tech stack, you need to implement the right people and processes. If only one person in marketing operations understood what technologies were in place, that needs to change.
Make sure different departments are aware of the new processes that might be involved early on.
Communicating changes to your audience
When lockdown first hit, everyone adapted their messaging instantly. However, it doesn’t end now.
Louise Findlay-Wilson, founder and managing director of Energy PR, said: “Moving forward, the big mistake will be for those teams to think that they simply need to get their customer communications ‘back to normal.’ Everyone’s idea of normal has changed. Companies’ ways of working and priorities have changed. In some instances, customers have had a seismic shift in their values as a result of lockdown life. While you may be selling B2B, you are still selling to people. Any communications that blithely ignore this will feel tone deaf and fail.”
Because there’s no blueprint for Covid-19, going on hunches and your gut might not be the best tactic. Evaluate by looking at the facts. Louise urges comms teams to look at past data and interpret what it may be telling you about customer behaviour. Data can provide insight into channels and tactics to deploy, messaging needed and to evaluate how products are being utilised during Covid-19.
Virtual events will continue
As much as hybrid events might be an option, going down the virtual path is simply much safer right now. While it might be tempting to go back to normal events, your customers will feel much safer continuing events at home. The difference is that there might be greater access to your office.
Maybe you can create a backdrop with your company logo or have some select organisers all in one room finally, but the transition from live to virtual events will most likely be the best option. Perhaps having access to your office might just supply some more resources along the way.
Regardless of whether you decide to continue events virtually at home or in the office, make sure your audience knows that your company is taking the safety precautions needed.
Adaptability will be more essential
When it comes to essentially everything, mapping out a long-term plan just isn’t realistic. If your company is used to planning everything way in advance, it’s not rational thinking. You’ll need to constantly adapt to whatever comes your way.
Louise concludes: “Agility and responsiveness are also going to have to be your watchwords. The days of setting down a nice long-term plan and working through it are over for the moment. Sure, have an outline plan, but also have the mindset and mechanisms to change things fast.”