8 Business Lessons (So Far) from the Pandemic

March 31, 2021 | 208 views

8 Business Lessons (So Far) from the Pandemic
8 Business Lessons (So Far) from the Pandemic

At an early age, I learned that there is something to learn from nearly every situation. Mistakes teach us lessons just as successes do. Often, those lessons come in a situation that we have not yet encountered, so we are unprepared. The newness of the circumstances often puts us at a disadvantage, and we make mistakes (or we get lucky and things go well).

The pandemic has undoubtedly put us in never-before-experienced situations. And to our credit, we have flexed our problem-solving muscles to keep business moving forward. Just as we have shown our ingenuity in the last year, we also must review what we’ve done well (and not so well) to see how best to manage our business’s future. So what have we learned?

  1. WFH has a place in many operations. For operations that could offer remote work, there is little doubt that some form of remote work will remain. Flexible scheduling was a must for some people before the pandemic. Now that it is proven to be workable, organizations will have to consider multiple alternatives to attract good employees.
  2. Time off for illness is important. It may be costly, but we have learned the hard way that sick people must not come to work. The pandemic’s aftermath will undoubtedly include mandated paid time off in some form that keeps workplaces healthy.
  3. Intelligent technology investments pay off. The rapid advance of technology use during the pandemic is staggering. If you weren’t prepared or realized how few employees were trained in basic technology, you may have felt left behind as competitors shifted their management and operations. Preparing for the future includes ensuring that your business is ready to serve its customers with mobile technology.
  4. Personal contact still matters. Some of us are mourning family get-togethers. Why? Because our interactions are richer when we are face-to-face. Your work family is no different. Zoom meetings don’t offer the opportunity to read body language and sense when something is amiss. Even if remote work continues, businesses will have to schedule in-person opportunities after the pandemic. We simply do better when we are in personal contact with work associates.
  5. Crises do happen. It’s been a rough twelve months. Who planned for a pandemic? Chances are that sudden closures and stay-at-home orders exposed how unprepared you were for a crisis. While the lesson is fresh, now is the time to review communications, security, and operations under various imagined situations. And then test your plan before you need to use it.
  6. Rent is optional for some. Just when you thought shared workspace companies were going away, we see their future value. Businesses may not need to secure physical sites anymore, making rent optional (and profit higher). But meeting rooms and occasional office space could loom large in your business’s future.
  7. Spread your wings. The retail operations that fared best in the last year are those who could deliver their goods and services in new ways quickly. From Michelin-starred restaurants that delivered meals to fabricators who switched to making PPE, we saw businesses change and expand their skills to create new revenue streams.
  8. Engage locally. When small businesses were stressed, communities pitched in to support owners and employees who could not work. The crisis was worldwide, but it was locals who supported others in their town. Remember where your bread is buttered, and stay connected with your community. Next time, the crisis may affect only you, so sow the seeds of community interdependence. You will help others, and if you ever need it, others will help you.

Your team has endured some significant changes this year. For some, the pandemic brought an unexpected surplus in revenue. For others, not so much. Either way, there are lessons to take away for the future. Repeat the things you did well, and use your errors to encourage new ideas. We are all smarter from this pandemic. Next time, we will also be more prepared.

Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. For many years, Atlas Business Solutions has been named one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies.

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