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5 Policies To Consider For Your Business As The Economy Reopens

The pandemic is highlighting all the ways work has to change—here is how you can render your business more resilient for a post-pandemic future.

Economies and markets across the world were struck fast and hard by the COVID pandemic, and its effects continue to ripple out. According to McKinsey, the GDPs of developed economies are estimated to decline by between 8 and 13 per cent by mid-2020. With the onset of various lockdown policies by governments scrambling to contain the virus’ spread, job losses continue to soar as businesses cut their workforces down in a bid to stay afloat. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) reported in April this year that more than 436 million enterprises were at “high risk” of serious disruption.

But what comes after, once the pandemic fades, and societies adjust to a new normal?

The pandemic is fast-tracking what has long been a trend for companies that are going digital. Out of necessity, companies are turning to digital solutions in order to continue conducting businesses in a safe, often segregated manner. Restaurants are adopting online ordering models, while e-commerce players are using social media to reach their customers beyond the brick-and-mortar space.

The pandemic has kicked off a worldwide work-from-home experiment: businesses are leaning on internal communications and collaboration software in order to protect workforces from the spread of the virus as well as bottom lines from erosion. It’s safe to say that over the next year or so, businesses will be put through the wringer as we navigate a world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, if you’re running a company, you also have a unique opportunity to reexamine how you conduct your business, strengthen any exposed weak spots, and position yourself for the recovery. Here are several strategies you can take to build resilience into your business.

1. Bolster your talent pool

Well before the pandemic hit, companies across all industries were facing labour shortages especially with regards to high-skilled workers who are in high demand. The pandemic added fuel to the fire, highlighting the stark disparities between the goals of companies and the reality of their workforces’ abilities. The shift into mostly digital platforms has created a need for workers who are digitally-fluent, adaptable, and equipped with a keen sense of the potential and limitations of the technology available to them.

As government regulations continue to change at a rapid pace, the workers of a post-pandemic world need to be able to quickly and effectively shift not just where they work but also how they work. There is no longer any certainty as to what framework will survive in the future, so it is paramount that you ensure that your teams can withstand any unexpected upheavals if you want to achieve sustainability and longevity for your company.

Businesses can support the development of a stronger, more resilient team through structured programmes that build employees’ communications and collaboration skills in increasingly digital environments. Upskilling will be absolutely key to ensuring workers can keep pace with the evolution of workplace frameworks, so companies should also explore new and innovative ways to support the continuous learning of employees.

However, businesses should ensure these programmes are built specifically with the employees’ needs in mind, with an active feedback loop, in order to ensure organisation-wide buy-in and long-term sustainability.

2. Changing needs, changing ideas

Adaptability will be key in the coming years, and nowhere is it more necessary to instil adaptability than in a company’s resources.

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It’s important to remember that the shifting economic landscape spells changes not just for companies; customers are also experiencing dramatic shifts in their needs, resources, and goals. The pandemic has essentially changed the game for the in-store experience, but that doesn’t mean that brick-and-mortar businesses have no other way through.

Instead, the situation offers companies a great opportunity to experiment with models for replicating the in-store experience for consumers through a digital medium. You can adapt your existing models to fit what consumers want in a digital interface, and by extension, without compromising anyone’s health and safety.

Whether we’re looking at an app-mediated food delivery service, an online e-commerce platform, or even a blending of the two, many businesses are now putting premium in digital infrastructures. Two Bird Brewery, an Australian business, recognised that their B2B keg production model was no longer necessary in a world where eating out has plateaued. Rather than trying to struggle through the pandemic with their old model, the owners shifted their sights onto the consumer market. Leveraging off Oracle’s NetSuite software, Two Bird Brewery built a robust e-commerce business on the backs of interesting new initiatives such as “drive-thru” style bottle-shop and newly packaged offerings for the everyday consumer.

This is just one of the many ways you can restructure your business model that fits today’s unique demands.

3. Digital everything

The global health crisis has exposed the fault lines in our working environments, particularly all the ways in which we have taken in-person experiences for granted.

Physical distancing became a flashpoint solution for curtailing the spread of the virus, though the policy has created particular problems for office-bound businesses everywhere. We saw huge numbers of workers beginning a worldwide work-from-home experiment which has highlighted not only our lack of preparedness to the sudden change, but also the need for robust software solutions necessary for conducting online collaboration. Teams working across various localities will need a reliable system that will enable them to communicate and work seamlessly while also supporting functions that used to take place in face-to-face settings.

This will be key for companies even after the virus subsides; when economies fully reopen, large swathes of workforces will trickle back into their offices, but a significant number also will not. Some companies, such as the Bank of Montreal, are already suggesting that flexible work-from-home policies may persist in the future. Businesses are exploring the potential of digital solutions that can bolster these new “office” frameworks, and in some cases, are pushing the boundaries of existing software.

Take for instance Oracle’s NetSuite ERP framework, a business management software that was already supporting large and small enterprises across multiple industries long before the pandemic hit. Many companies, such as the Filipino chain restaurant, Jollibee, implemented the NetSuite framework when it began the difficult shift from its legacy system onto a digital platform. The solution allowed them to consolidate information and communication across fragmented systems, while simultaneously supporting their aspirations for international growth.

With COVID-19 accelerating the need for businesses to adopt segregated working arrangements as work-from-home setups are encouraged across the globe, there is also an increased need for solutions such as NetSuite’s Cloud ERP to help organisations become agile.

4. Castles in the cloud

Cloud-based software has more or less become the standard in the business world of today, and not just for its convenience but also its relevance to the unique business demands today.

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Teams working remotely need to be able to access the same information they would otherwise be able to easily obtain when in an office setting. Cloud platforms can offer huge benefits in this scenario by bringing together information and data from all across the organisation into a single platform, thus enabling more effective remote working capabilities.

Cloud software has many benefits, but also financial ones. By relying on cloud and digital information formats, businesses can dramatically cut down on IT costs, as well as speed up employees’ productivity by making information readily and easily accessible.

NetSuite’s cloud-based ERP supports fast and effective information sharing from just about any device you can imagine. The system makes data readily accessible and highly visible for teams of all sizes working remotely.

Not all cloud-based software are made the same though. Before you jump into the deep end of the pool, take stock of what the needs and capabilities of your company are and strategise. What options are available to you? Asking yourself what you do not need is just as important as asking what you do need. Does your business need a small- or large-scale cloud-based software? What parts of your business rely heavily on the cloud versus the parts that do not?

Asking yourself these questions will become crucial as you assess the needs of your organisation and plan for the future.

5. Cash is still king

Businesses that intend to survive the pandemic need a firm foundation of cash. In most respects, cash is still very much king.

Planning is key at this moment: take stock of what resources you have available to you, then determine what options are open, as well as any “what-if” scenarios that may occur. Managing your financial risk and vulnerability could help you identify what your most immediate priorities are. NetSuite’s ERP has in-built financial planning and management software that makes obtaining visibility of your current position as simple as a click of a button.

And it’s not just about being careful about where your money is going; it’s about leveraging off valuable information about your finances in order to chart your next move. Systems built around traditional accounting solutions can result in manual reporting and increased risk of errors, bottlenecks and erroneous business decisions. The right information could spell the difference between the critical and non-critical decisions you need to make in order to secure your business, especially at a time when businesses are focused on cost-cutting rather than growth opportunities.

There’s no doubt that the future holds many challenges and uncertainty, but there are also upsides that you can explore. Businesses can use this time to take a hard look at their systems and processes, learn how to effectively adapt to change and embrace strategies & innovative solutions that enable them to not only survive but thrive. Digital solutions can be the key to ensuring that companies can continue to operate during this turbulent time, and when used correctly, can also usher in a new era of productivity and innovation, long after we have found a new normal.

Source: e27

 

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