Reevaluating and Rebounding: Steps to Prepare for a Post-Pandemic Business Environment
Now that we’re several months into the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are settling into their new workdays at home and may even be getting into a routine at this point. While even health experts are unable to put a timetable on a return to “normal,” the day will come when the pandemic is a memory and we’re living in a business environment that might be “back to normal” in thought, if not in practice. It’s important to use some time now, before the shift happens, to think through the transition plan for what coming out of this phase looks like—taking all facets of your business into account.
Revaluate Culture and What “Returning to Work” Looks Like
While you’ll likely have very little agency in the timetable of when you will be able to return to your office, you can, and should, take the time to figure out what that return looks like for your organization. When everyone is finally allowed back, it will look very different than it did before. Will everyone go back at once? Will some people who can do so without interference continue to work remotely? There are so many business decisions to be made in the new world order and it’s important to take the time to consider them now, while you have more time to think them through and make the right call. Culture is so important at a time like this—it’s what holds a business together—and it should be top of mind as you’re making your reentry plans.
When you are finally allowed back to the office, know that it will not be business as usual. It’s possible that many roles will have shifted in the time out of the office, and people will need the time and space to adapt to their new roles. Small things can go a long way here; we’re planning to have branded masks available to everyone who will be in the office once we’re allowed back. And once we’re allowed back, it probably won’t happen all at once. People’s lives have been uprooted, and they’ll need to be re-sorted again. Maybe you start small and people go in for a few hours at a time. It doesn't have to be, and shouldn’t be, black and white. The culture will have shifted; there will be a new proverbial “water cooler” around which people gather. Support your team members through the transition and know that it likely won’t be a painless process, and that every organization is likely going through at least some of the changes you are.
Refocus on Growing from the Crisis, Not the Crisis Itself
Everyone seems to be talking about “rebounding,” but what does rebounding even mean in this climate? Nearly every single business in the country needs to rebound in some way after one of the worst crises we’ve ever seen. More likely than not, you’ve already faced some challenging business decisions, whether it’s drastically cutting budgets or even reducing your head count. After the flames have died down, think about how you can grow from the ashes.
This is an excellent time to review your crisis strategy. There are likely a number of things you did well in reacting to this crisis, and things that could have gone better. Take a beat and gather feedback across the board. Did employees feel they had the right amount of information when they needed it? Do your customers feel well supported by you right now? Listen to the appropriate parties both internally and externally to be sure you’re prepared should something of this magnitude ever strike again.
Of course, the state of your business is top of mind right now. Instead of scrambling and trying to plug the holes one by one, take some time to think and really be creative about solutions for your business in the new world order. You’ll likely have to think, and act, a bit outside your comfort zone. It’s a good time to reevaluate the tools your organization is using to help your business run, especially within the sales pipeline. The right CRM platform can make or break a sales team right now, when each and every touchpoint with a customer has to count. There’s no reason for your sales and marketing teams to not be operating on one, unified platform with the tools available in the market today. Everyone should be looking at the same cohesive dataset, across teams, to provide the best possible customer experience.
It’s impossible to know when the fog will lift and we’ll be allowed back to some version of “normal,” whatever that may be. What we do know for certain is that it’s important to use the time we have now to plan for our reentry so that we can rebound and adapt to the new rules when they’re place. As we’ve said all along, the most important thing right now is to keep moving forward. Don’t wait until the last moment to make decisions about your organization’s future, or there may not be much of a future toward which to work.
Tony Kavanagh is chief marketing officer of Insightly, which provides scalable CRM software for companies to go beyond transactions and grow lasting customer relationships. Kavanagh is responsible for the company’s go to market strategy and execution, focusing on small, midsize, and enterprise businesses. Prior to Insightly, Kavanagh held CMO roles at Actian, DataStax, and Desk, a Salesforce company. He holds a bachelor’s degree from University College, Dublin; a Master’s of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate School of Business; and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts.