One year on, how has the pandemic impacted business?

One year ago today was the momentous day that the country was plunged into lockdown.  Little did we know that one year on, we would still be fighting this pandemic, so today we take a look some of the positive changes in business over the last 12 months.

From the first case diagnosed in early 2020, to the empty shops, restaurants and stadiums of our cities, we have been forced to adapt to new rules and rethink our lives and priorities. There have been hard truths and unexpected innovations in a year that changed the world.

Coronavirus has forced companies to adapt to remote working environments to much greater degrees than they are used to, many companies may find that for certain positions remote work is just as, if not more, efficient for them.  Directors and business owners should reflect on their own business to evaluate whether teams work best together in-person of if they can work remotely and flexibly to ensure maximum efficiency.

We have heard many stories of people spending more family time together than ever before, this is a rare opportunity that we have as parents—the opportunity to slow down and take it one day at a time. It’s that quality family time that we only really had on a weekend, that parents now want to have more of.

The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation, more emphasis and focus is now placed on a company’s technological and digital presence.  Not only Zoom or Teams for meeting, but also the integration of cloud-based business functions, remotely accessible and flexible online platforms, efficient delivery methods with limited contact, and a good digital and social media presence.

The year of working from home has generally been considered a great success. Most office workers do not intend to spend five days a week in the workplace once the Covid-19 crisis is over, with both bosses and employees seeing home working as a long-term trend. Banks are leading the drive for a permanent shift with Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays reviewing the amount of office space they use and Standard Chartered permanently shifting to flexible routines. Google and Facebook, which have substantial workforces in the UK, will embrace partial homeworking permanently.

However, working from home isn’t without its challenges. Managing teams remotely can prove far from straightforward, and directors must make sure they are going out of their way to support employees’ mental wellbeing.

The impact on creativity, loss of interaction and serendipitous conversations, and lack of support for younger staff and new hires, are all valid reasons to return to offices. Workers juggling childcare and their job, and employees living in cramped accommodation or sharing dining tables, have also missed their desks.  It seems that a much more blended approach is likely, two or three days in the office and two-three at home or wherever is going to be a much more typical pattern.

We are fortunate that we have been able to adapt to the changing environment and build on what we already do so well, and we are eternally grateful for our staff and clients who have worked together so well, meaning that we are raring to go in 2021.  What a way to start our 10th anniversary year!

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