How will business change for the better following Covid-19?
25 May 2020
This situation has accelerated the digital transformation of companies, having had to adapt in very short period of time to a full home office mode. Also, leaders have had to trust in their employees and measure their performance through KPIs and results and not by staying long hours at the office. This will highlight the need to invest in AI/Big Data solutions to become more efficient.
Attraction and retention of talent will be easier for the companies that had a successful management of the COVID crisis, having been close to their employees and having cared for their emotional stability.
COVID-19 has fostered digitalization and analytics in companies, has humanized labour relationships, increased flexibility and has strengthened the confidence of their teams.
In Hungary, many businesses face the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The world will not be the same as before, but there are some positive changes that can be applied to our “new life”.
Many business will continue to operate in the future in a way more flexible than before. Home office or remote working is already seen on a much larger scale. The employees have to adapt to new habits, different daily routines and faster responses to any requests. Furthermore, companies are overhauling their IT infrastructure, introducing further digitalized processes which may actually elicit a more efficient result for the business and these applications and technical solutions will make our work/life balance easier.
However employees themselves are facing new challenges due to these changing social/technical environments. Friisberg & Partners International supports its clients by evaluating and measuring people working remotely using Friisberg Network Advisory’s IT tool. This enables the decision makers to view their organisation from different angles, including employee relations working remotely.
The focus on the well-being of employees has become more important despite having less live contacts. All companies strive to stay positive and create a better atmosphere for their colleagues.
The ‘low touch economy’ concept has gained an important place in the global post-pandemic discussion as the new state of our society and economy in terms of occupational health and safety measures, new human behaviour and ongoing industrial changes.
Covid-19 has forced rapid changes, so universal adaptability – Agility – is one of the most important skills acquired as this of course affects efficient decision making. We have also seen total transformation in some businesses – e.g. a company that produced snow cannons for ski runs was able to modify its product to create disinfection machines for large spaces.
The post pandemic legacy includes:
- increased importance of hygiene in the workplace, public and private life; new air filters (N95) and UV sanitation in transport and rooms; FORD has started working on the invention of self-cleaning materials for production of cars’ cockpits;
- attitude change – people are increasingly willing to give up part of their freedom in exchange for security (development of tools for monitoring, tracking the movement of people, controlling and identifying their identity etc.);
- rapid adaption to digital tools, in business, public and social life including products for young people to help old people to start using new technology e.g. Candoo Tech;
- changes in the way B2C B2B products and services are delivered – e.g. in FMCG, pharmacy, sales of shoes and clothes thanks to virtual dressing rooms, remote customer management – selling real estate, furniture, various equipment, cars through the use of live video (virtual tours offering real estate, etc.). E-commerce giants like Amazon or Alibaba have created retail stores that are fully automated and equipped with various technologies such as electronic shelf label, radio frequency identification, computer vision, face and voice recognition and virtual fitting rooms;
- workplace reorganisation: in manufacturing, construction – more prefabricated products to reduce human engagement and interaction; acceleration of automation, robotization and digitization.
- remote working – increasing confidence in the effectiveness of home working – in conservative companies such as law firms, home working has so far been a privilege for seniors, increase in the number of days of home working for office workers and remote customer service. These effects result in savings on office space, lower maintenance and service costs for employees and clients etc. and reduce paper waste in public offices;
- human-free service models (e.g the increase in the popularity of self-propelled vehicles; digitization in vehicle inspection methods, to avoid a customer visiting a mechanic in a garage; telemedicine + digital information centre for patients, medical results available in the cloud online);
- new leadership (the integrator role) and new management methods by using new technology tools for tracking team work – greater frequency and precision of status reports; virtual meetings force greater discipline, effectiveness of work and the need to be well prepared; the growing importance of people performing the role of connectors, integrators, communication facilitator in the team;
- accelerating the development of new employee competences – increasing the learning pace in general, flexibility, ability to adapt quickly, multitasking (working from home you have to do several tasks in office work distributed among specialized team members), better time management – recruiting employees with such competences and attitudes;
- redesign of the supply chain – moving away from the globalization of supply and storage, increasing local stocks, sources of supply, moving away from the just-in-time principle. New forms of delivery of B2C products – e.g. electronic codes have replaced hand signatures; drone logistics controlled by IT applications has appeared;
- changes in the financial products offer – e.g. new insurances, decrease in interest in hedging transactions due to lower predictability of the economy; creation of new financing sources;
- investment trend, because the crisis creates opportunities, lower thresholds for entering certain business areas;
- new attitude to risk management;
- the increase in demand for legal services – in the context of new regulatory requirements; guarantees related to the substitution of human participation, etc., new safeguards for compliance with contracts;
- moving away from sharing economy (e.g car sharing) as less safe for health;
- the crisis creates opportunities for smaller, lower-cost and more agile companies to adapt more quickly to change and thus enter the market.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every corner of the world and disrupted daily life; every day there are more changes determining how we live and work.
Friisberg & Partners International is a long established, geographically distributed equity partnership with highly skilled partners, consultants and research teams in 40 of the world’s major cities offering executive search and leadership consultancy, in context, around the globe. We are highly effective in combining local knowledge with genuinely global capability.
We draw on the benefits of our diversity, bringing together people from many cultures with varied market experiences and different perspectives for strategic and organisational challenges. Never before have we faced a crisis of this magnitude, but our commitment to each other and to our clients remains constant.
If you have a question about business leadership you would like to put to Friisberg’s Partners, then please email Lorri Lowe, Partner, Friisberg UK: firstname.lastname@example.org