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Lessons learned during the pandemic can shape a brighter future for businesses

Written by Contributor, on 17th May 2022. Posted in General

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The coronavirus pandemic caused serious disruptions in the business world, and its effects are still being felt by companies all across the world. From employee burnout, mass layoffs and project cancellations to temporary closures, loss of revenue, or the rapid risk of shutdown, the list of negative effects is endless. As a consequence, businesses were forced to take a crash course on how to survive during a crisis and do their best to adapt to the new normal. 

Yet despite these hardships and challenges, we can’t help but look back at all the things that have happened since the beginning of the outbreak and notice there’s also a silver lining to it. The recent health crisis was as much of a teacher as it was a disaster. Now that the pandemic has subsided, and a sense of certainty and stability returns to the business environment, it’s time for businesses to take an inventory of their gains as well, instead of focusing solely on the negative outcomes. 

If there’s one thing that companies can do right now to turn things around and make the transition to a post-pandemic world as smooth as possible is turn their attention to the things they’ve learned from this experience and take full advantage of them. That will equip them with the knowledge and resources to get back on track and drive business forward. So, let’s take a look at some of these lessons and see how they can help businesses in the future. 

Expect the unexpected

The coronavirus pandemic came out of nowhere and caught everyone off guard. While there was no way to predict such a crisis, if businesses would have had an emergency plan to help them cope with unexpected disasters, they wouldn’t have taken the hit as hard. Business leaders that took a more innovative approach and understood they had to adapt quickly managed to turn these changes to their advantage and minimise the negative effects of the pandemic. 

Their lesson here is there will always be unplanned scenarios and crises one cannot foresee. Since there are many variables at play in the business world and one can never have control over external factors, the only thing left to do is prepare for the unexpected. Having an efficient emergency plan in place in case something unexpected happens guarantees flexibility and resilience in the face of adversity. 

Embrace technology

The fast pace of technological advancements has left its mark on every aspect of our lives, and its influence on the business landscape is undeniable. For a business to thrive, it has to keep up with the technology. Never was this more obvious than when businesses made the switch to remote work due to the safety restrictions imposed by the pandemic.  

A survey conducted by Novo Executive Search and Selection reveals that UK executives adapted to remote work by making significant investment in new technology. 71% of the respondents said they had needed to buy new hardware to allow employees to perform their tasks remotely, while around 60% of them said they had to invest in new software. This stresses the importance of making technology an integral part of the business model, regardless of industry or niche. The companies that embrace digital transformation have greater chances at surviving and even thriving in adverse circumstances. 

Adopt a supportive management approach 

During the pandemic, a lot of employees were confused and struggled to fulfil their responsibilities as they were worried about the future of their company and the impact of the health crisis on their professional lives. Many required extensive guidance and support from the management in order to conduct their tasks efficiently and maintain a good productivity level.

Implementing a supportive management approach can help reduce employees’ stress and frustration in the workplace. So, even if the context is less than ideal, and you have to improvise as you go, you can make sure your employees will be able to keep up with the changes and adapt successfully. 

Create a collaborative work environment 

One of the greatest challenges businesses faced as they transitioned to a remote or hybrid work model was to ensure proper communication and collaboration. All of a sudden, face to face conversations and meetings were replaced by Zoom calls and emails. While many employees appreciated the privacy and space that came with it and enjoyed a better work-life balance, it can’t be denied that remote work hindered workplace communication. 

The lesson to be learned here is that businesses have to work a bit harder to create a work environment that encourages and facilitates communication and collaboration. That often implies providing the necessary tools and equipment, encouraging feedback, and keeping communication channels open. 

Ensure employee satisfaction 

Caring for the health and wellbeing of employees is just as important as caring about the bottom line. In fact, these two aspects are interconnected considering you can’t run a successful business if you don’t have a strong team of employees to support your efforts and help you reach your business objectives. 

The pandemic took a toll on people’s mental health and that was reflected in the companies’ financial performance. Ensuring employee satisfaction and wellness is something all businesses should focus on, regardless of context, but it’s especially important to prioritise it in times of crisis. Actions such as listening to employees’ feedback, providing support and guidance, or recognising and rewarding performance can make a visible difference to employee wellbeing and the health of your company. 

Final considerations 

Many of the lessons learned over the past few years are not new, but it took a pandemic to bring them back into attention and highlight just how important it is for business owners to focus on these aspects. While most entrepreneurs were already well-aware of the importance and benefits of digital transformation, many were reluctant to put things into motion and make the change because of the challenges it implied and the fear of failure. It was the health crisis that pushed them out of their comfort zone and made them realise the full extent of their capabilities. 

Businesses are now leaving the pandemic behind, and slowly regaining a sense of balance, but they want to keep all the insights and lessons they’ve had to learn or re-learn so they can set the foundation for a more efficient operating model and ensure a more prosperous future. 

 

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