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When the pandemic first struck the world in the later part of 2019, it came as an unprecedented challenge.
Economies were gravely affected and governments were scrambling to keep the virus's spread contained.
One of the solutions common across different governments was to enforce closures in schools, offices and many businesses
More than a year later, businesses are slowly rising up. But business isn't back 'as usual'.
Today, businesses need to adapt to new challenges and changes, in keeping up with the new normal. For some businesses, these could mean big changes, while there could also be those that are quite minor.
If your business is still struggling to adapt, you can learn from the example of those who have made the changes to allow them to thrive.
Here we explore how businesses are adapting to the new normal, so you too, may be able to make a positive change in your company as well.
Keeping up with innovation
Now more than ever, businesses also have to keep up with innovation and use technology to their advantage, as a part of the new normal.
For those businesses that haven't yet incorporated technology in their operations,now is a good time to do so. In fact, to keep up with the competition, it's a necessity.
Part of the innovation, for instance, means having an online store as well, apart from a physical store.
There are many shoppers who feel more confident about shopping online, as this cuts the need for them to have to go to a physical store. So, businesses have to meet customer needs.
Otherwise, your customers might start buying from a competing business, simply because they're online and you aren't.
Apart from an online website, this also means making room for online deliveries.
This speaks true to groceries and even to restaurants. Businesses need to have that shop to deliver system whereby customers make their orders online, and your business delivers straight to their doorstep.
Marketing strategies are also now geared towards digital platforms, so if your business isn't well versed yet with these, consulting in the expertise of a digital marketing agency helps.
Adjusting to a remote working arrangement
Among the many new policies adapted in businesses, a big one is remote working.
For some employees, for instance, where reporting to the physical office isn't yet necessary, remote or virtual working is encouraged.
But, for those businesses that have never tried remote working before, this is a big adjustment that's oftentimes easier said than done.
There are many difficulties businesses have to combat as regards switching to a remote working arrangement which may include:
- Employee burnout, as many employees tend to overwork themselves with the work from home arrangement;
- Poor communication, as there's physical communication barrier and technology is always susceptible to disruptions;
- Lack of a structured approach, as without one, some employees might find it challenging to cope with work from home arrangement.
Changes in office structure
As much as remote working is encouraged, this also isn't something that's an option for all businesses.
There are many who still need to have physical employees reporting to work in the office. So, if this is the case, then a part of adapting to this new normal also means preparing the staff for these changes in the office structure.
For example, businesses have to provide more space now in between desks. Thermal scanning and other health checks are almost always a necessity at the entrance.
Apart from this physical structure, company policy may also have to adjust.
Employees who don't feel well should have the confidence to call in sick, rather than force themselves to report to work. Only then when these sick employees are cleared from the possibility of the virus can they be permitted back into the office again.
Checking employees' mental health
For the businesses that have switched to a remote working arrangement, one of the challenges that also needs to be addressed is the lack of togetherness and physical interaction.
Hence, businesses have to ensure there'll still be a sense of togetherness, despite the obvious physical distance.
This also means checking employees' mental health. While home is the safest place to be, this adjustment isn't always easy for some. There are those who now feel cramped in a tight space when everyone in the family is home.
There's no space to work privately without disturbance. There could also be employees who may have gotten the virus or who may have lost loved ones during the surge of the pandemic.
Employees are the driving force of businesses, so it's fitting to take care of their mental health which is also a part of the ways businesses are coping with the new normal.
All of these things can present challenges to businesses they may not have faced in the past. Even with the coming in of the pandemic, there's no other choice but to keep going.
Hence, you need to give yourself and your business the time to adjust through the new normal. Remember competition is still there, and this is all a part of running a business in this day and age.