Preparing your business for COVID-19 and what comes after

COVID-19 has undeniably shifted business priorities and forced to the forefront concepts like resiliency and remote work. While these can seem like topics of the moment, it’s important to visualize how businesses are going to be changed — both now and long into the future — by COVID.

Whatever organizational changes your business needs to make, it can be done in a way that benefits your team and your clients even when COVID-19 is behind us.

Five horizons, one goal

McKinsey & Company developed an outstanding concept to help leaders visualize what returning to business looks like in the face of COVID. The concept is called the five horizons, and they are:

  1. Resolve – address immediate challenges of COVID-19
  2. Resilience – Address revenue challenges and larger resilience issues from shutdowns caused by the virus
  3. Return – Develop a plan to scale your business as the situation evolves
  4. Reimagination – Think about the next normal for running your business with different workflow expectations
  5. Reform – Stay aware of regulatory or competitive shifts in your industry

Where we are right now — and where much or your effort should be focused at the moment — is in the return and reimagine stages.

First: what have we learned?

Before you can begin to plan a return to work and a reimagining of the normal workflow, it’s important to study the lessons that we learned when COVID shook the foundations of our businesses.

Communication & collaboration

The number one impediment to reliable workflows is communication. This is especially true in a remote working environment. If communication standards don’t exist or communication platforms are not easily accessible from anywhere, your workflow can quickly break down.

Many businesses have learned that instant team messaging platforms aren’t just a convenience: they’re a necessity. Having standardized, connected and accessible communications, like Microsoft Teams, gives your team the ability to stay in contact and the confidence to rely on those standards.

Segmented applications

Your established workflow may be the result of years of tweaking. And in that time, it’s common to end up with a workflow that relies on several different applications to get work done. In the office, this may have been totally fine. But if your staff suddenly is working remotely, those disconnected applications introduce a much higher rate of errors and inefficiencies.

Conveying information between separate applications becomes a manual endeavor where all you can do is hope that errors weren’t introduced along the way. But companies that have connected line of business applications that are integrated into their departments are able to focus on doing the work instead of managing data. 

Security

Remote work means a lot of new risks introduced to your business. With personal devices, personal WiFi, and lack of visibility that you would have in an office, security is a top priority to keep your business operational despite the changes introduced because of COVID.

A great baseline is to implement NIST security guidelines to help establish information security policies. In addition, activating multi-factor authentication on any applications you use and having employees connect to them via a VPN are great habits that your staff should develop.

There’s more to being prepared for the future

This blog is a great first step, but there is a lot more than can help you set your business up for success in a post-COVID world. We’ve created an in-depth look at these concepts and more in our whitepaper “COVID-19: Lessons and the Future of Business.” It contains great information and next-steps for you and your team.

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