In the wake of Covid, healthcare infrastructures were left in tatters, loads of businesses unable to trade, and three months later, we are just seeing the tip of the iceberg of the hit the economy has taken.
Now, not to be the bearer of only bad news, there have also been some surprising silver linings to come out of this situation. Communities have come together, mankind has displayed impressive resilience in the face of tragedy, and the earth has shown that healing is possible when humanity treads lightly on it.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel.
And an interesting thing to watch as we emerge in the post Covid world, is how businesses have responded and adapted their practices.
Planning for the undeniable enormity of this situation would have taken some serious fortune telling. No one knew the severity of what was coming, or how it would quickly change everything we knew about the day to day work.
In the early days of lockdown, it was forecasted that productivity should keep momentum for a few weeks, then nose dive. No way a business could carry on unaffected with every single employee working remotely. But that has been proven wrong across the board. Companies that strictly adhered to the mentality that employees needed to be seen in office to ensure maximum output, have completely changed their practices. We are months into this new landscape of work and most businesses have carried on as usual.
Business leaders in the tech world have announced unprecedented plans to offer exclusive working from home (WFH) to the majority of employees in the future. Leading the charge in other companies following suit. But what does that mean for businesses? I’m glad you asked! Because here are some key examples and practices that we have seen taking place over the last few months in reaction to this unexpected business model:
Think outside the box
Innovation is essential. We have seen time and time again recently, that the companies that have quickly adapted, have thrived!
There are countless examples of businesses that were able to think ahead and flip on a dime to meet the unexpected new needs of their customers. In a shortage, Dyson stopped production of all their products to create desperately needed ventilators for hospitals. Netflix, WhatsApp, and Facebook all created new ways for us to get interaction whilst in isolation. Boots quickly understood this crisis would quickly lead to a dire situation for those locked down in violent situations, and set up a safety net for victims.
These types of businesses have been able to diversify their offering, at speed, to meet a resounding consumer need. This has not just been product led businesses, but also service led businesses that have been able to apply their expertise to this unusual situation, creating websites or apps to help other businesses get through the storm.
In this ‘new world’ businesses need to use these learnings to adapt their offerings and continue with innovation. Not only does encouraging innovation help bring new products and services to market, but it also improves processes and efficiency, most likely leading to an uplift in profitability. This agile way of thinking and working means that when situations arise, businesses will be better prepared to acclimatise and continue.
Transcending culture virtually
The heart of our agency is our camaraderie, our friendship, our culture. When the doors shut at Cube HQ, it seemed our culture would be another casualty of the lighting fast changes happening around the world.
That hasn’t been the case. Operations have quickly adapted and found a way to make our culture transcend and unite every single employee from their individual computers. There are very real and obvious ways that companies can maintain their culture across countries even more easily. Here are some ways we have been making sure our culture is alive and well.
Other companies that have remained cognizant of employees well-being include Forbes. The publication quickly recognised that these were trying times and mental health was of the utmost importance. So they made sure resources, such as counselling, outreach and information, were readily available to the employees that needed it.
Twitter employees have praised the company for the flexible approach they have adopted during lockdown. Time management is completely up to the individual, and those unavoidable meeting interruptions by those that have children, are a welcome addition to the agenda. The divisive line between family and work life has come down, and employees are loving getting to know a whole new aspect of their co-workers.
Google has given extra days off during the pandemic to help combat work from home related burnout. All of these aren’t exactly life changing, but it’s that simple thought and care for the well-being of a workforce that has set apart the old business model from the new generation of employers.
As much as I miss the spontaneity and energy from being in our bright, happy office, you just can’t beat the flexibility!
Being able to just roll out of bed and go to work has been wonderful (but this is coming from someone who would happily live the rest of her life in leisure wear), some hate this aspect and miss the morning routine.
But that’s where the flexibility comes in handy. For the 3 Sided Cube team members that miss the office, they can go in and socially distance work their hearts out. And those that don’t miss the stressful morning bustle of getting into work by 9am 5 days a week; now have the option of utilising more WFH days. While all still doing the same amount of work.
Within just 6 weeks of lockdown, Facebook and Twitter announced the eventuality of the majority of their employees working from home exclusively. This is huge. And really held up a mirror to the world that there was no “going back to normal” in the post Covid landscape. Though we were all thrown into this new uncertain routine, we are coming out of the other side of it having adapted to changes and seeing the undeniable benefit of embracing our new normal.
Employees can still do their job just as well, if not better, and costs saved on overheads could now be funnelled into recruitment, training and my personal favourite, CULTURE!
Those are just a few of the big changes we have noted in the past few months, however, I’m sure businesses will keep innovating and the landscape will be completely different in six months. But watching this unprecedented revolution of turning the expected norm of working around, and it succeeding, has been exciting!