There is now a glimmer of light on the horizon as we start to exit lockdown and every business is hard at work making plans for the brave new world that awaits us.
In the immediate future, much of senior management’s focus is either on how and when they will be able to re-open their businesses for trading and for all of us, it’s planning how we re-open our offices, shops and hospitality venues whilst addressing social distancing.
There is also the challenge of working with our employees to aid their return to the workplace. Each individual is different as the level of vulnerability to COVID-19 is not just dependent on them, but also those they live with.
Also, whilst social separation at the offices has its challenges – managing who is going to be in each day, where they will sit and how you can sanitise every desk each evening – there is also the issue of who will be prepared to travel in.
There is, understandably, a high level of concern from those that have to use public transport (trains and the tube in particular) to get to work. For anyone that commutes this way, we know it will be rammed and, for most people, this represents too much of a risk to even contemplate. It is equally hard to see how this will change in the foreseeable future until there is a vaccine or infection levels have declined to a trickle.
Working from home post-COVID-19
In this new world order, for businesses to be fully operational, working from home is going to be essential for some time to come. What employer wants to be held up to the social media spotlight by forcing vulnerable staff to risk their lives (or those of the loved ones they are living with) by demanding office attendance (with being laid off the only alternative) when working from home is a viable option with a little investment?
However, for staff that have been working from home over the past 10 weeks – with no lapse in their business’ operation – the experience has changed their opinions. Many staff have concluded that it is a far better lifestyle. It gives back all of the time commuting for more enjoyable activities, it saves a fortune in fares, it is less stressful, they are less tired at the end of day and for a significant number of them, it actually increases their productivity. That is not to say that they never want to go to an office, but they do want the choice of when and why they do it.
Looking to the horizon, every business is going to have to include the option for staff to work from home if they want to recruit the best talent available because, for many, it is going to be close to the top of their agenda for their next role. If your business is unable to facilitate this, you really need to start looking at how it can be achieved.
Looking ahead – how are businesses preparing for post-COVID-19?
The new dawn does not herald clear blue skies either; the storm clouds of recession are already upon us, long before many businesses are even able to trade. We have all seen the stats with 8.4 million people in the UK furloughed and the rapidly growing number of unemployed. Unfortunately, the number of unemployed is only going to increase as government funding for furloughed staff is systematically withdrawn over the coming months.
Most businesses are battening down the hatches in preparation for the storm ahead, and almost all CFOs are totally focused on retaining cash, whether through cutting costs, reducing spend, getting better prices on what they must buy, whilst looking for ways to increase productivity to achieve more with less.
Whilst all of this does seem like doom and gloom, we are where we are and every business must take all of the available and necessary steps to survive and then prosper.
In time, the economy will recover and those businesses that successfully navigate the storm will enjoy the growth that comes with it.
So, if you are looking for ways to help your people and business through this storm by enabling remote working, controlling spend, reducing costs and increasing productivity, we can help.
You only have to ask.
More related reading:
- The challenges ERP vendors & resellers face due to COVID-19
- The importance of accounts payable management during COVID-19