There’s a long road ahead until the end of the current Covid-19 crisis, but with vaccination programs beginning to roll out in multiple countries, we think it’s safe to say that the beginning of the end is in sight.
Those businesses which have been lucky enough to weather the pandemic will soon be turning their attention from survival mode back to growth, trying to recapture some of the pre-Covid normality.
The fact is, though, things have changed.
Industries such as hospitality, travel, and the arts have been decimated over the last year, which will have irreversibly reformed the lay of the land.
Even beyond the most hard-hit businesses, the post-Covid world is likely to see some big shifts in work modes and cultures.
Below, you’ll find Zyro’s key predictions about the future of work and business after the pandemic.
7 Ways Covid-19 has changed business forever
1. Business owners will become less specialized and more generalized
According to Zyro’s own research of small businesses during the pandemic, small and medium-sized business leaders spent the pandemic learning new skills to be able to manage more areas of their business.
A third of all SMB owners reported learning new skills that would make them less reliant on third-party services or specific employee skills.
Those in the media industry learned new skills at a rate of 60%, with those working in travel learning at a rate of 50%.
The lessons in self-reliance and the importance of broad skill sets will not be quickly forgotten by SMB owners. Even after the pandemic, we’re likely to see this DIY trend continue.
2. The focus on digital and eCommerce will continue
Another insight from Zyro’s research was that small businesses have taken an important turn towards digital advertising and eCommerce selling over the past year.
Of the companies we spoke to, 1 in 5 had launched new marketing campaigns and promotions, with 15% reporting they had increased their online advertising spend.
Among these companies, a third said a priority for them was establishing or improving their online store or website.
Given the new shopping habits that consumers have developed through the crisis, it is highly likely that the growth in online shopping will continue, with companies that invested in eCommerce best positioned to capitalize on this trend.
3. Remote work is going nowhere fast
The remote working model that so many companies have turned to during the Corona crisis is likely to be one of the most enduring hangovers we’ll see.
For employees, the new levels of flexibility they’ve enjoyed during the workday has been one of the only perks to come from the pandemic. There has been a shift in expectations surrounding working conditions and work/life balance which are unlikely to revert back in a hurry.
Research has shown that only 12% of workers who became remote during Covid-19 want to return to the office full-time. The vast majority, around 72%, want to retain a hybrid of remote and office-based work going forward.
4. Consumers will continue to expect an emphasis on cleanliness and hygiene
Most of us weren’t thinking too much about viruses and bacteria before the outbreak of Corona,
The business world after the pandemic will need to grapple with the fact that consumers, by and large, will have infection and hygiene on their minds a whole lot more in the months and years after the pandemic.
With this in mind, stores, venues, delivery services, and food outlets will likely need to continue practices that promote social distancing and hygienic best practices.
While the thread of Covid-19 infection will slowly become less central, you must remain sensitive to new concerns.
5. Spending will be curbed
Consumers have been hit hard by covid.
While remote work and the occasional check from the government have kept many afloat during 2020, many others have lost jobs and seen a huge downgrade in their economic fortunes.
With this in mind, businesses need to be wise to the fact that, at least in the short term, customers may be looking to avoid big purchases, and perhaps be looking for more affordable options.
6. Resilience will be built into business plans
With so many sectors affected and disrupted by Covid-19, 2020 saw record numbers of job losses and company closures.
For an economy and businesses based around constant growth and just-in-time supply chains, the pandemic was a wake up call. The panic buying at the start of the pandemic, and subsequent issues with illness and lockdown regulations caused huge disruption in many supply chains.
That’s why, moving into 202 and beyond, many businesses will start to create work processes and supply chains which can withstand future disruptions.
Companies are likely to carry more stock and keep a tighter lid on spending to ensure their finances can survive sudden shocks.
7. Any transition back to ‘normality’ will be slow
Even though vaccinations are already being administered around the world, you shouldn’t expect everything to revert back to January 2019 anytime soon.
Firstly, it’s been estimated that bringing about the end of the pandemic will require anywhere from 58% to 92% of all adults to receive the vaccine.
Owing to production limitations and disinformation surrounding the vaccine, it could take many months, if not years, until those numbers are reached.
Beyond strictly medical concerns, though, businesses are likely to be cautious about moving too fast out of lockdown mode. Most SMBs will be focusing on recovery and establishing sustainable growth than ramping back up to full capacity.
Whatever decisions your business makes in the aftermath of Covid-19, try to keep these likely trends in mind.