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Trends that Are Fast-Tracking Because of COVID-19

07th Aug , 2020

We now find ourselves in a surreal world where what’s normal is changing constantly, with more restrictions and unpredictable outcomes facing us every day. Mental and economic challenges are unavoidable, as are the many spin offs associated with them. Although it may seem hard to put a positive spin on things right now, we must look forward positively and prepare for a different future with new opportunities.

The COVID-19 virus has changed our behaviour as it continues to sweep through the world, pressurising countries, societies and communities into government-enforced lockdowns and social distancing to control the spread of the virus. This crisis will eventually pass and leave behind a legacy in new methods of working, new patterns of consumption, and new ways of interacting with our fellow people and businesses.

The consequences of social and business hibernation have been daunting, with survival as the main motivation for the majority. All governments have recognised the importance of supporting people and business wherever possible, with the emphasis on business to keep them going and to maintain jobs for our workforces.

A business mentor or business coach from International Business Mentors can offer confidential and independent support in these difficult times. In past blogs, we’ve discussed many aspects of business and how strategically useful it is to appoint a business mentor or coach to assist business leaders. Business mentoring can help business leaders to critically think about, anticipate and adopt emerging market and strategic competitive changes to build flexible strategies that further their businesses success. This is now crucial for all businesses, enabling them to reassess where they are at and consider their changing competitive landscapes so they can strengthen, grow and prosper.

To help you get started, this blog post will detail the business trends currently soaring as a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions enforced upon us.

Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings, as a necessity, have become the norm. We posted a blog – ‘Face to Face vs. Virtual Meetings’ – back on 24th January 2020, discussing the various pros and cons of each. But now that unnecessary contact and social distancing is prevalent, virtual meetings have exploded.

Many platforms exist, such as:

  • BlueJeans Meetings
  • Cisco Webex
  • GoTo meetings
  • JoinMe
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Ring Central
  • Zoho Meeting
  • Zoom
  • And many more

You need to assess if the virtual meeting platform works well with how you do business. You must also assess whether it meets your security and systems architecture sufficiently to protect your interactions, privacy, data and other hardware and software from unwanted cyber intrusions. Be diligent in your choice and keep your online security current and effective.

At International Business Mentors, our business mentoring and business coaching sessions continue to provide valuable assistance via virtual meetings.

Remote Working

Working from home or remote locations outside of physical offices is now widespread. Fortunately, technology makes this possible and allows many people to continue working very effectively and remotely. As a result, remote working will likely become more widespread in the future and reduce the need for the same volume of expensive office space currently used by businesses.

Flexible Working Hours

Working remotely allows many people greater flexibility to get the job done at a time that better suits them. For example, some people are at their most creative very early in the morning, so flexibility allows them to work at the best time for them rather than within office hours. Remote working also reduces travelling time and reduces the costs of getting to the place of work.

Is Flexible Working a Desirable Competitive Edge for Your Business?’ is a blog we published back in September 2018. Here, we discussed the relevant pros and cons for flexibility, which has since become a necessary component of running a business during the COVID-19 crisis.

Online Learning

Since many people have more time on their hands during this crisis, many have responded by using this time productively to upskill through online training or education. This will drive up the online training space and lead to a permanent shift in the demand for online learning. It will also increase skill levels in the short to medium term.

Innovation

Living with COVID-19 restrictions has resulted in most businesses prioritising the protection of their own people while continuing to run operations for as long as possible. In many cases (especially in manufacturing), both objectives require workers to protect themselves by wearing masks, practicing social distancing and increasing their use of disinfectants. Many companies have quickly built up new production capacities for masks and disinfectants above their own demand and started to supply frontline medical staff and others in their daily fight against COVID-19.

Here are some examples of changing businesses adapting to the crisis:

  • Hospitality industry, now providing accommodation not to tourists but providing space for quarantine centres
  • Retailers starting to shift personnel away from physical stores towards supporting digital customer service channels
  • In Germany, McDonalds employees are supporting retailer Aldi to cope with the customer rush
  • Car maker Shanghai General Motors Wuling (SGMW) was able to receive medical-grade textiles from a supplier that previously provided interior textile for cars
  • ZF Friedrichshafen, a German automotive supplier, bought a small, faltering face mask company in China, transported the machines to its factories, and produced 100,000 masks a day within two weeks
  • Gin distilleries and breweries are switching production to making hand sanitiser
  • Hairdryer manufacturers have moved into ventilators for intensive care patients in hospitals

There is great potential for all industries facing tremendous current demand disruption to adapt rapidly, if they have idle capacity which can be repurposed and developed to provide innovative solutions or products. This would include manufacturing, airlines, cruise lines, retail, health services, tourism, education and restaurants. A business mentor or business coach can provide valuable assistance to help your business adapt.

Online Health Services

During the COVID-19 crisis, there has been high demand for online communication, which has empowered greater numbers of patients to reach out online for health services. Physicians and medical staff can diagnose, treat and in some cases operate on patients without the need to be physically near them. Greater use will be made in the future of telehealth services largely involving remote consultations with health practitioners, often using video conferencing with doctors and nurses using satellite and mobile phones, email, etc. Even in urban areas, the demand for these services remotely will increase after the current crisis passes, as it reduces travel time, has become more familiar, and can be delivered more cheaply than traditional physical consultations.

Government Media

Direct information services to mass audiences, using text and other online media, will increase as a way of communicating between governments and their populations as a result of its importance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Research Collaboration

Research collaboration to find vaccines for COVID-19 across borders and institutions will lead eventually to vaccines and will also increase medical research collaboration after this crisis.

Online Shopping

Clearly people are now more involved in online shopping, and this will lift future online shopping volumes.

Beauty and Wellness Industries

Beauty and wellness industries will need to adapt rapidly to counter fear built up in customers to a service that involves touch. When the crisis subsides, the use of technology and marketing emphasis needs to change.

The beauty and wellness industries have only been gradually migrating to cloud-based, always-on, device-independent software platforms over the last decade, but the current crisis will be the catalyst to accelerate their adoption. Online bookings, self-check-ins, automatic payments and other related features will serve to eliminate unnecessary touch-interactions.

Salons would no longer be social hangouts, with individuals not so comfortable waiting in a lobby with other customers. This industry, like all personal services businesses, will need to use smart booking algorithms that optimise appointments to minimise waiting times, as well as adopting no-touch technology to take payments. There will also be a greater need to visibly exhibit their improved health standards, such as removing magazines and instead providing digital content on their own devices or screens.

Technology will allow these new hygiene and distancing standards to be exhibited and included in personalised direct communication with customers. Referrals and ratings of the business will be viewed beyond the quality of the stylist to include the cleanliness and sanitation of the experience.

Learn More Today with International Business Mentors

At International Business Mentors, our business mentoring and coaching professionals have broad practical and strategic experience in running businesses. You can tap into their experience for impartial support, helping business owners and leaders to consider the various scenarios and challenges of their business so they can further succeed.

Call International Business Mentors today to discuss how a business mentor or coach can support you and your business through these challenging times and beyond.

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