Even as the pandemic continues to dominate headlines and leave us feeling a constant sense of uncertainty regarding the future, we are continuously finding ways to adapt. Consumers are adjusting their spending and redefining what’s essential versus what’s expendable. Businesses are exploring new ways to maintain productivity while changing how they interact with their audience.
Although no one can be certain how things will work out in the long term, there are plenty of insights to be gleaned from this time of crisis. Your company doesn’t have to be a leader in innovation. You can simply learn from the best practices of others and be an early adapter of successful strategies.
Everybody knows about remote work, but what else are companies doing to adjust? Here’s how technology gives us opportunities to thrive in the new normal.
Automation reduces human involvement
Remote work offers a lot of advantages. Even before the pandemic, employees enjoyed a better work-life balance and the opportunity to save costs on transportation and clothing. Meanwhile, more employers have recently discovered how such arrangements can boost productivity and reduce overhead expenses.
It’s a win-win solution, except where it doesn’t work. Some industries simply can’t operate without human involvement in some way. Food and retail businesses tend to suffer. Storefronts might be closed, but people still need to work behind the scenes, putting products into boxes and ensuring fulfillment.
Automation has long existed as an alternative to human labor. In repetitive, precision-dependent tasks, it can be a no-brainer. Using a batter depositor in product lines ensures uniform portion control, minimal waste, and fast production. As technology has improved, more tasks can be automated, and the shift towards robot labor is accelerating.
One potential downside is that in a time of need, employees might feel upset that their jobs are under increased threat from robots. That doesn’t have to be a problem, though. Some tasks will still require a high level of human understanding. Handling meaningful customer care and engagement, for instance, is a role that’s unlikely to be left in the hands of an AI. Workers simply need to shift their focus as well and adjust their skill set to play to human strengths.
Communications help pivot and engage
When it comes to engagement, brands recognize the need for change. Old strategies governing how to interact on social media or what type of content works online need to be rewritten. The rules are different, as consumer behavior has adjusted to the new economic reality.
People have less disposable income. They are also worried about far more critical matters. A pandemic puts them at risk on multiple fronts. Job loss leads many people to seek online learning resources, so they can find work and be better prepared to navigate these waters. Companies must put empathy and sensitivity at the heart of their interactions.
On top of that, many businesses simply can’t operate despite remote work or other adaptations. Travel and hospitality are among the hardest-hit sectors. Most of their operations remain indefinitely shut down.
The rising popularity of online communications platforms presents an opportunity for businesses to pivot and engage more effectively. Webinars and free courses allow you to present audiences with engaging and relevant content. Strategic use of online channels will let you keep loyal customers informed on how you’re responding. People understand that there are many things you can’t control right now. Through these platforms, you can at least show them that you have a plan, and the business-to-consumer relationship will have a future.
Cybersecurity addresses risks
With remote work, online learning, the use of social media, and leisure activities such as online shopping and gaming all on the rise, the Internet has a central role in our collective response to the pandemic. Unfortunately, as everyone begins to migrate their activities online, the associated risks also increase.
For instance, as early as April 2020, the World Health Organization reported a five-fold increase in cyber-attacks and related scams. The problem lies chiefly in the increased exposure of more people who aren’t aware of cybersecurity best practices.
The pandemic is a known threat, but even as they move forward, people must be on guard against new ones. Train your remote workers for better awareness of these safety practices. Make sure your network complies with the NIST cybersecurity framework. Invest more in cloud security and endpoint hygiene compliance for user devices.
Learn from how different companies are handling problems as they adjust to the new normal, and you can leverage technology in your favor without needing to be an innovator.