If you’re serious about starting – or stopping – doing something forever, psychologists reckon you should stick to the 21/90 rule . That is, force yourself to do (or not do) the thing for 21 days, after which time you’ve picked up the habit. Do it (or not) for another 90 days and that habit becomes a permanent lifestyle change. With a few notable exceptions, the average lockdown since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was a little over 100 days, giving large numbers of people the chance to make lasting alterations to the way they live their lives.
The media was full of messages and companies encouraging people to make the most of their time at home, to make an effort to make the coronavirus lockdown a positive force for good, – get fit, find a new hobby, adopt mindfulness, bake bread. However, much like New Year’s Resolutions, many good intentions lasted a week, maybe two before most self isolators reverted to Netflix box sets and a little too much wine.
But, some changes brought about by 100 days of ‘new normal’ look like they’re here to stay. If organizations can adapt, there could be significant long term benefits, for consumers and companies alike. I’d like to talk briefly about three major and lasting effects that the pandemic is having on the business world: the heightened expectations around the digital experience, the home working trend, and business efficiency being now an essential factor in surviving such crises.
Let’s first look at the lasting effects that the pandemic has had on a business’ need to support and expand it online presence.
Pre-coronavirus, online shopping was either an economically sensible choice, or a convenient one. Demand for near immediate reflected the consumer’s impatience to have everything at their fingertips while automated stock checks for bricks and mortar retailers combined click and collect epitomize the need for retailers to bend to the will of the consumer.
And then the pandemic turned online from a convenience to a necessity. Instead of online being a choice, it now became in many cases the fourth emergency service, with grocery delivery slots being rationed for the most needy – individuals who were elderly, shielding, sick or self isolating.
Starved of culture, contact and any environment much beyond the front porch, online was where many lived their lives for that 100 days – apps connected families for weekly quizzes, digital publishers upped their content production, delivery and frequency to bring cheery celebrity faces into sitting rooms where a trip to the theatre was out of the question.
With new customer groups coming online, using a wider variety of digital services, expectations of online experience are growing. Companies found themselves grappling to create or expand their digital services, as well as having to do so under extraordinary economic pressure. An enhanced online experience was vital during the crisis, but in its aftermath, it will simply be expected.
The same effects also extended to the workforce, both at an operational level but also very much a personal one.
Lockdown protocol across the globe had corporations both large and small closing their doors to non-essential staff. But with the judicious use of technology, bosses found that a surprising range of roles could be carried out quite competently from a remote location. Not only that, but those with the right technology in place were also pacified when it came to their teams’ collaboration, finding that the office actually plays a minimal or infact no part in facilitating the co-work of teams, partners, and third party agencies.
Additionally, fewer distractions at home in comparison to when being in the office, means tasks can be completed more efficiently (at least until ‘Zoom fatigue’ has set in!) Wherever companies have either adapted existing technologies or brought in new ones to help colleagues collaborate remotely, many have recognized the benefits these solutions can have in a post pandemic world.
At a personal level, extended periods of lockdown brought many some significant benefits thanks to the need to work remotely. Most obvious is the lack of time spent commuting – which is essentially now only a few meters for many. Similarly, some household outgoings were reduced - there has been a dramatic drop in the demand for fuel, sandwich shops, and takeaway coffee stores, as homeworkers plunder their much cheaper, supermarket supplied larders and leave the car in the driveway.
But all this is not a temporary turn up for the books. Indeed, surveys suggest that nearly half of employees will be petitioning their companies for much more flexible working in the future, with 81% expecting to work from home at least one day a week. Businesses looking to attract and retain staff will almost certainly have to offer attractive home working packages as standard, along with the technologies to support this across a variety of departments to boot.
With that in mind, there is a considerable challenge for many businesses right now – as if there were not enough already? There can be no doubt that the shock to the global economy caused by the Coronavirus across the first half of 2020 has generated a multitude of challenges for the business community ongoing. For some, such as low cost airlines, restaurant chains and some retail stores, it was the last straw.
However, those businesses with the ability to adapt look set to weather the storm much more readily. For example, while the travel industry was significantly buffeted, AirBnB’s burgeoning Experiences brand extension took off , as consumers looked for virtual ways to sit out lockdown. Retailers who weren’t already online found ways of accessing customers digitally, restaurants and pubs became takeouts, using their own apps or piggybacking on others’ to reach customers who would normally pack their venues on a Friday night.
Margins were inevitably squeezed, and are still being squeezed, but there were those who, armed already with automated processes and collaborative technologies, such as censhare’s Universal Content Management system , maintained close to full output and thus kept as close to the ‘old’ normal as the ‘new’ normal would allow. For those who had to make spur of the moment decisions to integrate technology that would allow them to continue operations remotely, there were revelations. Primarily, that the solutions that were helping them in a crisis, could actually be of benefit to the brand in the long term.
The latest whitepaper from Martech Insiders, Adapting To The Digital Business Imperative , sponsored by censhare and kontave, claims that the COVID-19 pandemic is global business’ ‘asteroid moment’. It proposes that, as with the demise of the dinosaurs, it’s not the event itself, but the subsequent changes to the environment that will make the status quo unsustainable.
Delve deeper into what the post pandemic world will look like for your customer, your employees, and your business in this paper, as well as learning about how collaborative technologies such as censhare’s Universal Content Management solutions can help survive economic fallout. Download the paper now .
Exploring why and how companies need to address the challenges of the remote workforce and the digital consumer, and the vital role of integrated content management in supporting the transformation needed for these new efficiencies.Download Now