The COVID-19 pandemic brought with it an unprecedented time which affected many businesses big and small. As society shut down time and time again with ever changing lockdown rules, mass layoffs and closures were unfortunately widely occurring even a few weeks into the pandemic across all industries.
In the UK, small businesses make up an estimated 99.3% of the total business population. Sadly, it has been these small and family-run businesses that have been most affected by the worldwide crisis.
With the vaccine rollout well underway, there is starting to feel like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. After a year of lockdowns and social distancing, it’s no surprise that many people are readily starting to prepare for the world to reopen.
However, it would be naïve to think the post-COVID world will be the same as the one we left behind. In reality, we are looking towards making a ‘new normal’. When preparing your small business for life after COVID-19, here are 5 steps to consider.
- Flexible working
Many of us have worked from home on and off since the start of 2020 because of the coronavirus. It is reported that widespread working from home is likely to continue well into 2021. This is because there will be a sense of trauma and anxiety still associated with being in close proximity to others after the pandemic.
You could therefore consider a blended or phased return approach. This would mean allowing employees to still work from home at least some of the time. To do this successfully, invest in a unified communications solution. This will allow employees to work as efficiently from home as from the office with complete geographic flexibility.
- Have a contingency plan for the next crisis
Consider what you have done right and wrong throughout this crisis. Evaluate if you could have done things better as individuals or as a business. Then you should have the tools to prepare a contingency plan ready in case there is another crisis in the future. Hopefully this is a once-in-a-lifetime scenario – but you can never be too prepared.
Digitising your processes will futureproof your business in the event of a new crisis, another wave, or if you allow employees to work from home a little longer. This will allow employees to work productively wherever they are.
- Understand new needs and behaviours
Though behaviours might have change drastically, don’t assume that this will bounce back to normal after the pandemic. Embrace the behavioural changes and understand the new needs of your customers and employees. It is possible that even priorities have changed over the course of the pandemic, which might adjust your business model.
- Develop a strategy
Whatever you do, before opening up after the COVID-19 pandemic, make sure you have a fully formed plan. Once you have a clear strategy which can easily be communicated and distributed, you are ready to leave the pandemic in the past and get back to work.