FOCUS ON RECOVERY RE-BUILDING
As social restrictions ease across most of Australia, business owners are preparing to trade in the new normal. ‘Business as usual’ is unlikely to reflect pre-COVID-19 operations any time soon in many sectors, and even those outside the worst hit industries will experience the persistent effects of the recession. In some industries, many businesses suffered few direct impacts and may be expecting they will come through the global economic fallout unscathed. In contrast, the crippling effects of social restrictions and prolonged presence of COVID-19 on the hospitality, tourism and entertainment sectors will leave lasting scars. All business owners need to recognise the imperative for decisive recovery action and resilience planning strategies to equip them for the immediate and medium-term future.
While the recovery process is underway you should be planning to grow your business in a post-COVID world.
Customers will not use your business immediately simply because you have re-opened. They will return to different industries over different time frames. They will seek personal services and local hospitality venues before they use commercial travel or attend large live events. If you operate a business in a sector that has been particularly hard hit by the social effects of the pandemic, your rebuilding strategies will need to be flexible and adapt as your business recovers.
Your people – your staff and customers – will have different expectations of your business. Your staff will value the priority you placed on their health and safety – or the converse. You will need to reinforce your commitment to their physical, psychological and financial wellbeing. They will need to be fully informed of changes to their workplace, practices and priorities, and preferably be involved in making the changes. Changes in your business to date may have highlighted strengths in your team e.g. increased productivity through remote working. In some cases, you may need to rehire staff – remember that they will be working in your post-COVID workplace and assess them accordingly.
Some staff will prefer to remain working remotely and this may also suit your business. Options for remote working reduce the dependence of your business on its physical premises, which could prove to be an advantage under circumstances that limit physical access e.g. flooding (internal or external), natural disaster, renovations/refitting, staff who have potentially contagious disease symptoms but do not feel too ill to work. This will also give you flexibility to reorganise your workspaces in line with changed work practices.
Your clients have also become accustomed to accessing services remotely and will expect digital routes to meet their product research and purchase needs (and returns registration), or service enquiries and bookings. Those who attend your physical premises have become more aware of their responsibilities to minimise health risks to your staff and are likely to comply with health and safety measures you extend to future operations.
You will need to reconsider your supply chains and your role in them, with more emphasis on local supply and backup plans.
The accelerated expansion of technology capabilities for your staff and clients should spur improvements in productivity through evaluation of existing IT systems and migration to more efficient and cost-effective models. You may consider retiring your legacy infrastructure to transfer to cloud services. Small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) may enter agreements with providers for service plans or have the capacity to introduce roles that meet core business requirements and provide specialist IT knowledge. For some businesses, specialist IT services may become inseparable from core business.
The AAA Consulting Team has the experience and expertise you can trust to help.