Eight essential pandemic lessons businesses must prioritise beyond COVID-19

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on people’s lives and their businesses, causing a seemingly endless string of disruptions. However, while the pandemic may be remembered in future mostly for its challenges, it has also offered some benefits.

The mass adoption of remote working across the globe saw companies increase their investments in solutions that facilitate remote working without sacrificing productivity or efficiencies.

However, the changes that companies have implemented and the benefits they’ve been afforded run deeper than technology deployments. Many organisations have implemented numerous workplace cultural changes that they will benefit from in the long term, such as an increased focus on mental health or social responsibility.

As we look towards what the world might be like beyond the pandemic, there are eight essential lessons from COVID-19 that businesses should consider implementing more permanently:
  1. Embrace hybrid working
  2. As the immediate threat of infection for businesses and individuals subsides, many organisations will be looking to the return-to-office date. However, flexible working has led to many benefits for businesses and their employees. Looking to the future, businesses will benefit from implementing a hybrid approach to office hours, where employees may work in the office on occasion while maintaining the flexibility to work remotely.

  3. Champion mental health and wellbeing
  4. Hybrid working environments offer great flexibility for employees to manage commitments outside of the workplace more easily. And, they also have an added benefit of improving mental wellbeing in the workplace by helping to alleviate feelings of isolation that complete remote working can bring, while also letting employees that may feel overwhelmed in the office work from home as needed.

  5. Increase investment in collaboration and communication
  6. Video communication and digital collaboration platforms have been instrumental in fostering remote workplace collaboration throughout the pandemic and have empowered some organisations to expand their workforce across geographies. The continued investment in these technologies will let business leaders enhance communication among their workforces, no matter where they are based.

  7. Prioritise security and safety
  8. As workplaces become less structured, and organisations embrace hybrid working, it’s crucial for businesses to have a clear understanding of who is onsite at any given time to better manage the security, health, and safety of all on site. Leveraging digital visitor management systems, like Pitney Bowes’ LobbyTrac, that capture and store relevant information to a secure database has already proven fruitful in enhancing security processes and helping with contact tracing throughout the pandemic. This will continue to be a valuable investment into the future.

  9. Maximise the value of mixed communication channels
  10. Looking to the future, the importance of traditional communications such as direct mail shouldn’t be underestimated or ignored, despite the digital boom experienced by many businesses throughout the pandemic. For example, research shows that 81 per cent of Australians open and read their physical mail immediately and physical mail is perceived as more credible than email (34 per cent compared to 26 per cent). Businesses should consider using digital and traditional media in tandem and invest in technology solutions that automate their mailing processes for more simplified integration across different channels. For example. Pitney Bowes offers a number of printing and inserting solutions that help organisations achieve operational excellence by automating the folding and stuffing of envelopes.

    Businesses should also consider investing in cloud-based and/or free, online shipping solutions like SendPro Online that leverage package receiving and tracking information. This can help reception and admin teams more safely and effectively manage inbound and outbound parcels, resulting in increased productivity and reduced delivery errors.
  11. Find the right cloud-based solution for your business
  12. Cloud-based software has become a fundamental need for functional and flexible working environments, with solutions that range from collaborative technologies to streamlined parcel shipping and receiving solutions. These solutions ensure that employees can not only collaborate seamlessly no matter where they are but, with the right solutions, they can also manage business mailing requirements regardless of if employees are working from home or in the office. Leveraging cloud-based software that best suits your business lets you scale and adapt to new ways of working and overall growth moving forward.

  13. Embrace business automation for greater efficiencies
  14. As companies continue on their digital transformation journeys, automating business processes for improved efficiencies has become critical regardless of industry. Adding automation to business processes helps organisations to eliminate human error, reduce potential risk, and improve the customer experience. Additionally, it can help a business comply with changing regulations, ensure data accuracy, improve productivity, and save time and, ultimately, money.

    For example, leveraging cloud-based solutions that automate and manage end-to-end mailing workflow, printing and distribution systems, or document management systems can let business owners focus more on the business and future growth opportunities instead of repetitive manual tasks.

  15. Commit to ongoing purpose and action
  16. Perhaps most notably, the pandemic has highlighted the value and importance of global and local communities. As a result, organisations have become united in their continued commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs that will help to rebuild their local communities.

    People are becoming increasingly likely to put their trust, and money, behind brands that don’t put profit first, and research has shown that Australians put more trust in businesses that provided support to people during the pandemic. It’s essential that companies learn from this and continue to live the values and purpose they promote in an authentic way.
The ways in which we conduct business are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of the market and consumers, as well as wider society. It’s important that businesses learn to adapt to these changes, and continue to adapt as needed, or they risk falling behind. One of the biggest lessons from the pandemic for businesses has been how quickly the world can change, and how agile we need to be to keep pace. By taking into account the lessons and strategies learned from the pandemic and implementing changes now, organisations will be better placed to achieve business continuity in the face of future challenges.

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