Despite the uncertainty and ongoing contradictions by politicians, business leaders, analysts and media on the true impact of the COVID-19 crisis, there are at least two things we know: the virus is already having an unprecedented effect on how businesses operate and all organisations will have to prepare to make changes to deal with the aftermath.
Indeed, as the British government continues to consider just what the future will look like, many businesses are finding solutions themselves that will take them forward – despite the many challenges they now face. While many organisations have taken steps to ensure their employees remain safe, it is little wonder most are also looking for ways to protect themselves from any and all risks. As the country battles to get to grips with the new normal of a huge proportion of the population working from home – which may outlast official lockdown – the ongoing impact of COVID-19 has left businesses scrambling to keep their now remote workforces efficient and up to speed.
For many businesses, dealing with the fallout from the pandemic requires that they find ways to enable spread-out teams to collaborate productively on projects. Connecting a relocated and dispersed workforce that manages ongoing projects is a process that needs to be handled deftly to avoid causing serious disruption to day-to-day activities and long-term objectives. Organisations looking to avoid disruption and retain talented employees need to consider deploying solutions that will foster better communication and collaboration among teams regardless of where they are based – in other words, they need to embrace technologies that ensure they have the agility to lessen the blow of COVID-19.
Dealing with the long-term impact of Coronavirus
UK businesses and international companies with substantial UK footprints need to devise strategies that prepare them for a post-Coronavirus world. But how do you do that when no one can say with any real certainty what a post-Coronavirus economy will look like? This is why it has also become absolutely critical for organisations of all sizes and types to have the business agility they need to deal with a broad range of scenarios and outcomes.
Even beyond the spectre of COVID-19, companies need to create business agility to deal with the challenges impacting them today – from disruptive technologies, to skill shortages, through to other elements beyond their control, such as Brexit and climate change. Employing bold strategies, new ways of working and business tools that offer greater flexibility is the only sure step companies can take to meet unforeseeable future challenges.
Being ‘business agile’ enables companies to rapidly adjust tactics, resourcing, personnel, management, asset deployment, capital investment, or whatever element needs to be corrected to keep operations on course when business conditions shift dramatically. Building a high degree of flexibility ensures that teams can stay on course to achieve specific strategic goals and overall business objectives.
Creating ‘business agility’ to face COVID-19 and beyond
Creating business agility, especially in more traditionally structured companies, requires collaboration, information sharing and project visibility across the organisation. This will only become more vital as businesses deal with the outbreak.
Teams can achieve greater agility and effectiveness by employing tools that enable each member to communicate in the context of team and organisation-wide goals, to understand where adjustments are required, as and when they are needed, and to see what others are working on and how things are progressing day by day.
Empowering team members and arming them with the tools to contribute to decision-making processes enables innovation that may not otherwise have been possible. Ultimately, business agility depends on whole teams and organisations being able to make adjustments together. Three key components can help make teams more business agile:
- Alignment: Breaking down silos within an organisation is vital in overcoming poor workplace collaboration, missed opportunities, misaligned goals, duplicated work processes and incompatible systems. Establish and communicate one unified vision of what you are trying to achieve to disparate parts of your team or organisation. This vision should be communicated regularly to all employees through the most effective internal channels. Managers should use this vision as a reference point for improving collaboration within and between their teams, aligning team goals with organisational objectives.
- Speed: Being able to rapidly adapt to customer or market changes is more critical than ever in the current climate. Within the UK, all one has to do is look at the struggles of the high street as companies like Amazon have transformed consumer habits forever. Companies that embrace business agility and recognise the need to constantly evolve – implanting the impetus to change with the marketplace in their corporate DNA – are the ones that thrive and embrace opportunities when market dynamics shift. Putting in place technologies that ensure employees recognise changes in their industry, understand how the business needs to react and have the flexibility to initiate the necessary adjustments creates a faster, more effective decision process.
- Effectiveness: Businesses need tools and technologies that enable more effective communication and collaboration across teams, business units, and especially geographies. During this period, we will see more remote and disjointed working at a large scale, as the pandemic has forced many companies to shut offices and shift its workforces. Global research conducted by Clarizen found that 70% of 300+ companies surveyed already have employees working from home or remotely regularly – and that figure has grown hugely as businesses deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Companies must put in place methods and tools to ensure work communications between spread-out employees and teams are as easy and direct as possible – even across different time zones. Having a cloud-based technology platform that enables employees to coordinate work, monitor resourcing, manage workflow and keep up to date on the status of projects – regardless of where they are – is key to becoming more business agile.
Preparing for the future
Over the next decade, businesses will continue to see massive change. While there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, it only poses a real threat to successful collaboration if enterprises do not fully prepare for it.
Today’s business leaders must ensure they are devising and implementing strategies that provide the business agility needed to meet the challenges that will come from the health crisis, and other, unforeseen hurdles in future. With effective tools and practices in place, businesses can not only overcome many of the issues but can also enhance productivity to become truly business agile and succeed in a post-Covid world.
To learn more about how cloud-based work management tools help foster workplace collaboration while boosting efficiency and business agility, visit www.clarizen.com. Or try our free trial here: https://www.clarizen.com/free-trial/