2020 was a tough year. Nobody in business will doubt that. However, as we have kicked over and into 2021, there are a lot of people waiting for things to return to normal.
But what if they don’t?
There is a very good chance that the business world has changed and that the world we are in now will be the new normal. We were already heading towards decentralization and people working from home, but Covid has simply fast-forwarded this trend.
For some in business, this is a bitter pill to swallow, but the reality is that technology means that we can decentralize our workforce and take advantage of digital products so that our teams can work from wherever.
This goes for corporations too. Who knows? Our downtown business districts may even become less business and more of entertainment and sports precincts as companies downsize their office space and move closer to where their people are.
Because I am in Christian media, where it is hard to get the right staffing fit when you require your team to reside within say 50 miles of your offices, we made the decision many years ago that we would employ the best people – no matter where they resided. Sure, there would be an on-boarding process, but once they know the role, and they are already qualified for it, both parties win. We get great people; they get to build some lifestyle into their working week.
Accordingly, we have escaped a lot of the pain that many other companies are feeling, but they too can change. Our model was not always like this. 95% of our team used to work from the office, or at least be in there every week or so, but the Global Financial Crisis and the move from print to digital turned our business upside down and we had no choice but to act quickly if we were going to survive.
It was so difficult at the time and we had to move quickly, but fast forward ten years and it was the best thing ever to happen to us. This could be the same for you: the short-term pain of re-negotiating leases and potentially even staff may be offset by long-term gains.
My advice to you is to embrace this new world order, rather than waiting for things to return to normal. Personally, I am not sure they will. In any case, this is the perfect time to think outside the square and re-invent your business so that it not only takes advantage of new technology, but is sustainable as margins shrink and the world continues to change.