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Post-COVID-19 Digital Transformation: The Long-Term Starts Now

August 14, 2020

Why post-crisis planning and digital transformation will be the key to business success.

While states continue to manage future spikes in COVID-19 cases, businesses will need to devote an equal effort to contingency planning and post-crisis management.

In order to handle crises as a business owner or manager, it is important to communicate promptly, prioritize employees’ needs, re-evaluate the budget, and assess future risks for more unexpected scenarios. While many businesses already communicate well and manage talent effectively, many will need to learn the practical steps for reorganizing their business models around these principles.

Fortunately, digital transformation can ensure business operations and employees flourish when states reopen. There are a few ways that businesses can most effectively capitalize on these upcoming changes to the current work environment.

Consider New Tools

Consider upgrading your current operating environment to more agile programs like Zoom or Slack for daily operations. Try new methods, like designating one employee as a notetaker, allowing everyone to see notes being taken in real time. Other tools to explore include P2, which functions as WordPress for Group Collaboration, and other technologies that have taken on a much earlier and wider adoption than they would have previously, such as Microsoft Teams.

Invest in New Skills Training and Digital Distribution

Businesses will need to invest in new skills training to ensure that these programs and other digital technologies have staying power even when the economy is not in crisis. With many training programs moving online, there are even more opportunities to diversify the skillsets of your workforce. And with people spending less time commuting, employees have more freedom and agency to explore new horizons.

Digital transformation will not only be useful inside the workplace, but it will also inevitably lead to more businesses entering the realms of e-commerce and digital distribution. Prioritizing speed in operations will be useful even after the pandemic: while operational planning before was a weekly or monthly job, daily updates may provide firm’s with a long-term advantage.

Focus on Employee Health and Safety

Offices can also be redesigned to ensure that workers are safe and healthy, prerequisites to ensuring their productivity. Designers Janet Pogue McLaurin from Gensler, and Gable Clarke from SGA, have considered changes that include foot pedal or touchless elevator controls, videoconferencing inside the office instead of conference rooms, and wider hallways with one-way traffic. Businesses that may not be able to completely redesign their offices, or those that already have distanced rooms, can consider a staggered workforce that alternates visits to the office. This allows employees to have more flexible schedules and switch up the daily commute.

Disruption and innovation may be the key to “crossing the chasm” in many domains. But ultimately, long-term thinking and creative experimentation are your best bets for success.  They were critical before the COVID-19 pandemic, and they will remain integral to post-crisis planning and digital transformation for businesses in the years to come.

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