Rethinking a new normal

COVID-19 remains a terrible and sad situation, and no one would ever suggest otherwise.  But in a recent survey of businesses it has become clear that the majority do not want to simply return to work in exactly the same way as before. 

Many businesses have accelerated change, revisited their operations, identified efficiencies and transformed their products and ways of working.  As has always been the case, disasters are accelerators for change.

The biggest challenge however for many businesses is their ability to adapt, and for those that don’t want anything to have changed they need to be prepared for the disruption to buying behaviours, changes to competition and a clear migration to digital technologies. 

Businesses which have adapted are already reporting benefits and accelerated thinking, but businesses refusing to adapt will face challenges and threats to their former ways of working.

The ‘new normal’ is not yet defined, but a few trends obvious from the situation are:

  1. The role of the office has changed, with remote or flexible working featuring more.  Offices become a place for innovation and social interaction, but online working brings time, cost and environmental benefits which many staff will want to protect
  2. The role of the city has changed, since the office is no longer the default location, and therefore cities will be challenged with reduced footfall and increased social distancing requirements. The cities need to adapt
  3. The North has a real opportunity, since now it makes little difference whether you are servicing a client next door or in another country.  The access to skills and talent which has often constrained growth, now means we have a chance to provide services around the world if we invest in skills and adapt
  4. Supply chains need revisiting, since the disruption to global supply arrangements and the repurposing of manufacturing capacity around the world is evident.  Preparing contingency plans, outsourcing operations, relocating production and reducing cash tied up in supply chains is critical. 
  5. Digital is here to stay, but that creates new risks and challenges.  The ability to move to online working has strained technology, and many have not adjusted controls due to the urgency of the changes.  Cyber threats will represent a growing risk to businesses, and economic challenges will always create increased fraud risk.  Businesses need to urgently revisit their digital strategies.

The changes present new opportunities and taking time now to rethink the future will bring efficiency, optimisation and growth. 

The reality is also that we still have no cure for COVID-19, we have Brexit coming, a global recession is inevitable and a long term deficit to fund the government measures to protect businesses and people will drive up taxes. Standing still is not an option.

Please contact Boost if you would like to discuss this or other support available to your business: