The last two years have been brutal.
Make no bones about it, the pandemic has presented a very real existential threat not just to a great number of people, but also to a great number of businesses.
So it’s no surprise that much of the conversation around Covid and its impact on our working lives has been negative.
We’ve worried about cashflow drying up, supply chain solidity, job security, isolation, mental health, the dangers of returning to the workplace, a loss of mentoring for young people and a good many more issues over the period of the lockdowns and beyond.
But without wanting to claim we are entirely out of the woods just yet – or that everything in the garden is suddenly rosy – now might be the time to start changing our mindset to something a little more positive.
For sure, the pandemic has brought us a lot of problems, but there are at least signs that some of those problems might now have solutions, and that opportunities are also a part of the wider picture moving forward.
Here’s some areas where solutions and opportunities might go hand in hand.
There’s plenty of evidence that our workplaces will not look the way they did in February 2020 as we move forward.
A recent study found that about a quarter of the workforce could work from home on a full-time basis in two years’ time while 41 per cent will embrace hybrid working.
Forward-thinking companies can use these changes to build a new structure which will not only be more efficient but win the support of more of their employees and enable them all to have a better work-life balance.
There’s plenty of data to support the belief that a happy workforce is a more productive workforce, so employers can benefit from a real win-win here. Talk to your staff now about what they want and how they want to work and you could steal an all-important march on your employees.
Now is the time to review your business and conduct an audit of the lessons you have learned during the last 18 months. It’s a really good idea to think about how the pandemic has affected the business, collect any data which gives statistical evidence of the impact and talk to your staff to hear their insights.
Once you have this information you can assess what went well and what was less successful and start building a forward plan which builds on the strengths and tackles the areas of concern. Do this effectively, and you will be well placed to both spot and take advantage of the opportunities the post Covid business world will produce.
Review your spending
It may be that you have to spend some money kickstarting your business back into life before you can start making any cash. That means it’s a good time to go through your budgets and thin out any unnecessary spending so that every pound going out is earning its keep.
Be ruthless about getting rid of any waste so that your operating budget is as lean as possible. That way, when the opportunity to invest in your future growth arises, you’ll be in good shape to take advantage of it.
Know what your priorities are
Pre-pandemic, you may have had all sorts of plans for your business. But everything has changed and you will need to be single-minded about prioritising what’s really important.
Draw up a list of these priorities and start to put together a timeline for working through them – with the most important coming first.
Put in place a structure to track your progress, collecting the all-important data to show what is working the best for you so that you can align priorities and outcomes.
Seize the moment
There has never been a better time to make the changes your business needs to be a success – and keep your employees happy into the bargain.
The return to work gives the perfect framework for talking to your staff, getting their views and feedback on what will and won’t work and re-shaping the future of your business.
Use the opportunity wisely and you could be future-proofing your business for years to come, and building a strong, loyal workforce which will work tirelessly to make the company a success.