By Kayla Matthews
COVID-19 has changed almost every aspect of daily lives across the globe. For businesses, especially, things look different now — working from home and quarantines have kept people apart to slow the spread. Now, you and others are looking for answers as to what comes next. For business productivity, things are going to shift.
From remote work to the integration of new technology, your company will likely see some changes. Though the pandemic is still in full swing, its current state and effects will influence what comes next. Business operations and productivity are going to adapt, but how that happens will depend on certain factors.
The first factor is the regrouping stage. Businesses will have to work out the details of working from home, unemployment levels and employee benefits. The coronavirus has affected each of these areas for businesses of all sizes. From here, your business will need to focus on how it gets back to work.
Remote work is likely to stick around for quite a while. Even after the pandemic passes, businesses and employees may reevaluate their work. If they don’t need to come into an office, they might continue to work from home. This decision saves on commuting time — which leads to the potential for different work hours.
As more and more people continue to work remotely, work hours may become more flexible. Some people may start earlier or later in the day and change their schedules to work with their personal lives post-virus.
Some businesses have laid people off due to the virus. While essential businesses have been able to remain in operation, non-essential enterprises have had to shut down. This change has led to record spikes in unemployment claims in the United States.
After COVID-19 passes, companies and organizations will then need to focus on hiring talent. To improve the hiring process, you’ll want to keep some things in mind.
First, new talent is going to question how your business handled employee benefits during the outbreak. Your company will need to have open and honest communication about the subject, as well as about the new hiring process. Additionally, certain businesses that need employees instantly will have to streamline the process.
After regrouping, the second post-COVID phase will include businesses investing in newer technology. While human productivity has understandably decreased during this pandemic, machine productivity is shining through.
For many businesses, employees are only able to do so much from home. Places like science labs or restaurants can’t fully function remotely. However, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and robotics will all start to become more standard in businesses. Many larger corporations already use these innovations, but smaller and medium sized-enterprises will begin as well.
Technology can’t get sick. Thus, it’s reliable for continuing to generate revenue and keep business productivity up. Certain businesses, like restaurants, may not be able to fully use technology to operate.
Other aspects of these innovations, though, like automation and data analytics will come in handy. This technology powers tools from chatbots to voice-automated customer service to predictive data. Your business may be able to use these resources and this information to continue to operate as best as it can for future pandemics or situations.
Technology can also operate at all hours of the day. To keep a business going in a pandemic, it needs to be available at all times for sales and assistance. As innovations continue to emerge that make accessibility possible, businesses will integrate them. More pandemics or unforeseen situations may come after COVID-19. This pandemic has caused businesses to rethink their productivity both for the present and the future.
The meaning of business productivity has shifted during this time. Employees are juggling the transition to working from home, the stress of the situation and staying on top of their work. In the future, you will be seeing changes like these come to businesses of all sizes, but especially medium and smaller ones.
Transitioning back to normal life won’t be entirely the same as it was. Using these changes to your advantage, though, is the best bet for staying on top. Productivity will fluctuate and take on new forms, like technology and working from home. Depending on how fast scientists develop a vaccine, these changes will continue to solidify in the meantime.
About the Author: Kayla Matthews writes about communication and workplace productivity on her blog, Productivity Theory. Her work has also appeared on Talent Culture, MakeUseOf, The Muse and Fast Company.