While some of the operational changes made during the COVID-19 lockdown will only be short term, others, such as agile working practices, may have changed the workplace forever. Oliver Bridge takes a look at what positive trends we've seen and the opportunities these may provide for moving beyond lockdown.
Re-shaping leadership and long-term plans
How do business leaders react to new challenges, re-assess their activity and reimagine the new 'business-as-usual' to adapt to the new climate and prepare for a post-pandemic world?
Leaders are learning a lot about their businesses
Inefficiencies have been identified and logged with leaders, getting a better understanding of the systems that drive their businesses. Expect leaner operations in the future, particularly in back-office teams, such as finance and HR, as inefficiencies are eliminated.
New leaders are not always who you thought
Businesses are testing previous assumptions of who was on the rapid-progression list. These new leaders have adapted to the new ways of working, incorporating different management styles from those traditionally adopted, such as 'walking the halls', which is difficult to replicate in an environment where the majority are working from home.
Different styles of leaders are creating different reactions to the current conditions
Differing leadership styles will dictate how organisations are reacting to the crisis. These differences are individual to each organisation. For example, in the the automotive sector, there are those who have protected their business and those who are actively looking for other opportunities for transactions.
Re-framing and re-imagining
We often hear that business must show agility and resilience when facing sudden and significant changes. That has never been more true, as we respond to the risks and challenges of the current situation:
The rate of change is faster than previously imagined. Businesses have managed to change their operations, working practices and means of delivery over a matter of days, where previously this would have taken years, eg, ventilator design, new product offerings and adapting to new rules, such as social distancing. Many organisations implemented working-from-home strategies within days that would have been unachievable under normal conditions.
Office space is over-rated
Many businesses are coping better than expected in working from kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. As such, office space may be reduced to be more collaborative in nature as working from home becomes part of a job description. This isn't just confined to tech giants, such as Twitter and Facebook. Recently, Jes Staley announced that "big offices may be a thing of the past."
Some customers, products or services don’t make money
With the focus on planning, cost and cash, some businesses are forced to make decisions that have been hanging over them for a while. This is challenging them to understand where they make their money, and where they don’t – allowing them to make informed decisions about how they shape their operating model and where their time, energy and resources are focused.
Many businesses are looking to bring supply chain options back to Europe
Global supply chains are cheaper but lack options during a crisis. We have seen this in the automotive sector with wheel manufacturers. This could be great for UK plc, but what new opportunities are there with Brexit?
Customers are more online-savvy
Customers are getting more comfortable buying products online that previously were a physical purchase. Car manufacturers, for example, are heavily investing in online offerings with enhancements such as virtual walk-arounds to compensate for lack of physical engagement with the product.
Business planning beyond the outbreak
In the last few weeks, many businesses have started to talk about the restore phase of getting their businesses up and running again, and to try to understand how their needs have changed.
To find out more about how to produce a new business strategy that will set your course beyond the lockdown, get in touch with Oliver Bridge.