The coronavirus pandemic has hit everyone like a thunderstorm, and one aspect of life that it seriously hit is the economy and businesses. While it completely closed down some businesses, especially those that we do not consider as essential, most companies had to adapt their system and operations to survive the impact of COVID-19. Some staff lost their jobs while others were forced to work from home.
Businesses and business owners also had many things to worry about – trying to keep their employees, ensuring that suppliers and customers are healthy, dealing with declining sales and stalled supply chains, and several other financial and operational challenges. One thing that many businesses have realized now, especially those with the right crisis management strategies, is that the impact of this crisis might last for a while longer. There’s absolutely no doubt that, once the dust is clear on coronavirus and the pandemic, there will still be longer-lasting changes to businesses and business operations as a result.
Judging from some of the things that we already see, here are what we think will be the future of businesses after COVID-19.
1. Increase in work flexibility
Since social distancing was recommended as an effective measure to reduce the rate of the virus’ spread and help flatten the curve, many businesses had to adopt a remote working system of operation. This is something that many companies were not used to before this. But they were forced to adapt. This led them to teach their teams to use collaborative tools to work in sync while ensuring that they keep up with their productivity level.
Remote working has existed for a long while, but many didn’t embrace it. It is now the mainstream for business operations, and more businesses continue to buy into the idea. Business owners and managers are also getting to understand that allowing their workers to have a more flexible schedule is increasing their productivity. Employees also look for other means to work without being stuck in an office.
Post pandemic, the remote working trend wouldn’t just die down immediately because everyone can now resume working in person. There will be more businesses that will adopt it as their primary operating system, or at least a big part of it. So, workers don’t have to resume to work every day of the week as previously.
2. More need to have a global presence
The chain of demand and supply were deeply affected by regional shutdowns. Businesses with operations centralized within a region suffered from the absence of supplies into the area and consequently had declined sales. This is something that many companies learned from. As the economies start to reopen, businesses will feel the need to be more agile in their operations and will begin to diversify their presence, away from one-region centralization into a more global presence. Brands that were scared of legal implications and failed to establish their presence in foreign markets will likely have a rethink. The good thing is, companies can hire people from different parts of the world to work for them even without establishing a business entity within a foreign country. This is easier when they work with employment solution bodies, and it helps them find their footing quicker in another country.
3. AI and automation will have more practical uses.
An effect of COVID-19 on businesses has made businesses learn to run with fewer employees than they usually would. This is one thing that is very likely to continue in the post-COVID-19 business world. Once these businesses master this alternative way to run with lower staff, your best bet is that they’ll continue that way. An essential factor in this happening is an increase in the use of artificial intelligence and automation.
Before the pandemic – before businesses needed to cut their running cost drastically – there were already plenty of warnings concerning several jobs being replaced with AI automation. The pandemic seems to have hastened this process. Businesses now look to automate their repetitive tasks, and manufacturing companies are now using robots. We have not yet known how much unemployment this will cause when it kicks in fully, but people need to start learning new skills and retraining themselves in new things after the pandemic.
4. More influential leadership
As many employees now work remotely, managers now have a more hands-on duty to track everybody’s progress and ensure productivity while also considering the employees’ welfare. Employees now have to feel more valued and appreciated to remain mentally fit for their work. This has led to more empathy and trust in working together through projects. Post-pandemic, this isn’t likely to stop. The way businesses will be managed post-pandemic will change drastically, which will go a long way to determine the employees’ level of productivity. Leadership will improve as there will be a better culture and influence adopted in ensuring job satisfaction.
5. The real estate industry will experience significant changes in major cities.
The physical office will not have as much importance after the pandemic as before the pandemic because of the rising growth and adoption of remote working. This is likely to affect the shape of real estate industries in many cities because as businesses go remote, they will require smaller office spaces. Some companies can also find a way to make their operation remote completely, causing physical buildings and offices to become obsolete. So, these offices will have to be turned into residential buildings.
Also, as people realize that they can work from anywhere, they are likely to make significant changes to their residential location. This is likely to affect the rent cost in major cities.
We hope that the COVID-19 pandemic ends soon, and things return to normalcy as quickly as possible. However, it is evident now that normalcy is relative. What was normal before the pandemic might not be after the pandemic and vice versa. Adaptability is key to business survival.
John Peterson is a journalist and writer at the best essay writing service. He also has four years’ experience working in London magazine “Shop&buy.” He is a professional mini-tennis player, and he has written the novel “His heart.” You can find him on Facebook.