Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has drastically changed the landscape of future business operations.
While many leaders found changes in how they conduct business initially challenging, as organizations prepare for states to reopen, many are finding they are changing for the better.
The many ways businesses have had to shift and alter in this season will be their new standard moving forward. Within the first quarter of this year, our economy shrank 4.8%. While this has been one of the most challenging economic times since the Great Recession in 2008, the new ways of operation that COVID-19 has brought only positions leaders to do business better in the future.
Often, we can become comfortable doing things one way and continuing to do them only this way. But all it takes is a wrench to be thrown in our plans for us to be forced to discover a new way of doing things. Transitions brought from COVID-19 may have been the changes many leaders needed to move forward with their businesses.
Here are some of the many changes that leaders should consider implementing in their businesses in the future:
- Offices will continue to work remotely. Through these months, organizations have found that having staff work remotely has saved time and money and has increased productivity. As reported this week in The Atlantic, in 2015, Stanford University economist Nick Bloom "published a study that found that Chinese call-center employees who worked from home were 13 percent more productive than employees in a control group because they took fewer breaks and made more calls per minute. They were also happier and were less likely to quit their job."
- Businesses will become more flexible. Companies realize the typical 8-5 shift might not be suitable for everyone. The lengthy stay-at-home time has allowed many to recognize that their work-life is out of balance. Leaders will become more compliant with how and when the work is getting done, as long it is getting done promptly.
- Deliveries will continue to be on the rise. Pickup services and grocery deliveries have skyrocketed in recent months. Production-focused companies will continue to move in this direction as many individuals are slow to step back out into a normal lifestyle and are concerned with a second wave of the coronavirus.
- Customer service will become more innovative. Many businesses that have only worked with clients, applicants and customers in person are now finding ways to connect online. Customer service will become even more vital, now that everyone is under more stress and continues to avoid large crowds. Businesses may need to consider changing their policies to adapt to the changing times, and employees will need to be more accessible, compliant and patient with customers in these unique times.
- More services and businesses will go digital. Higher education is already working to become more streamlined and accessible, as many schools prepare to offer increased online courses for the fall. Also, many services, such as real estate agents, are finding success in virtual sales. At the end of April, the National Association of Realtors found that 25% of real estate agents sold homes virtually without buyers ever seeing the place physically.
For the business world, this pandemic presents possibly the biggest wrench thrown at businesses in our lifetime. Sometimes we need to be pushed out of our comfort zones to discover more effective ways to see through our vision.
So, rather than pushing against the dynamic force of COVID-19, leaders would be best to jump in now and ride it out. The quicker you can begin to move with the changes in the workplace, the further ahead your business and leadership can be ahead of the curve.
Dr. Kent Ingle serves as the President of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida, and is the author of "Framework Leadership." A champion of innovative educational design, Ingle is the president of one of the fastest growing private universities in the nation. As president, Ingle founded the American Center for Political Leadership at the university and is also a founding member of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. Before becoming Southeastern's president in 2011, Ingle held leadership positions in higher education and the nonprofit sector in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle. Ingle is the author of several leadership books and the creator of the Framework Leadership podcast. He currently serves on the board of the Florida Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Read Kent Ingle's Reports — More Here.
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