In the first half of 2020, the global business community went into meltdown. The economy shrank by 5% in the first quarter, and experts predict it may contract by a further 40% in the second quarter.
To make matters worse, predictions suggest as many as 195 million workers could lose their jobs by September 2020, resulting in even less consumer spending and potentially spelling the end for hundreds of thousands of businesses.
While it might not seem it now, eventually, this virus will pass, and businesses will have to pick up the pieces and start afresh. Testing times lie ahead, and there’s a lot to suggest it will be a case of survival of the fittest as we emerge from COVID-19.
Here are five ways you can make sure your business is match-fit and ready for life after Coronavirus.
1) Plan your IT structure, network security, and cloud computing
There’s every likelihood your IT network (both internal and external) will become your business’ most valuable asset. Remote working has already proven its merit and, for many companies, will remain an enduring part of the office structure in the future.
For staff to successfully work together on a remote basis, your IT network and security need to be bullet-proof. You’ll also need to install cloud computing and storage to allow staff to securely collaborate on files.
Take a look at your company’s current IT processes with one eye firmly fixed on the future and plan accordingly. Out of office, working could become such an integral part of your IT environment that you may want to consider partnering with a specialist network and security company to set up (and lockdown) your systems.
2) An end to open-plan offices
For those staff that still have to work in an office environment, there will be a need for adequate separation. Social distancing simply won’t be practical in a traditional open-plan office, so make spaces safe now by installing dividers and screens.
Depending on your office space, you may also need to enforce distancing – perhaps through one-way systems or floor markings to show safe spacing. Hygiene is also a prime consideration, so you should install hand sanitizers.
Your website has never been more critical than it is today – and it will continue to be so long after lockdown. The companies that have survived best through COVID-19 (or, in some cases, even profited) have been those that already had a strong online presence.
Invest now in improving your website, social media profiles, and general online marketing. Also, where possible, make sure your website is equipped and streamlined to sell online.
4) Plan order fulfilment and delivery processes
If your business can sell online, it should be already. That said, selling is just one small part of the process. To ensure customer satisfaction and improve your online services, consider outsourcing to an order fulfillment company to look after all sides of product supply and delivery. If planned properly, your entire online ordering service can be largely automated, start to finish.
5) Prepare for restructuring, retraining, and repurposing
An unfortunate (yet unavoidable) truth of COVID-19 is it will likely result in redundancies. Some jobs will become obsolete as the way we work changes; however, rather than simply laying off staff, think about ways to retrain them or repurpose them into different roles. New positions may appear as the work environment changes.
It may sound a little cliched, but it is still true – we are all in this together. The pressures your staff are under will likely be very similar to the ones you are too. Be kind, show understanding, and empathize. We are stronger together.