Accelerated digital transformation. People are being forced to work from home, but their whole life is being forced to adapt digitally. These behaviors will not disappear once the quarantine is over, it’s very likely that people who have been forced to adopt digital practices will continue these. The companies which are best placed to benefit from the situations are those which offer comfort, convenience or necessity for consumers. For brands there’s space to think about the digitization of your product, not just the delivery.
There is no ‘return to ‘normal’ after this’. Even if things were to rebound 100%, you can’t live through something like this and not remember it. Consumers have every reason to be cautious now and for the foreseeable future.
For instance, we were already seeing consumers pulling back on buying new clothes in favor of thrifting. I think you will continue to see an embrace of thrift, but across more and more sectors. So not just a turn away from fast fashion but a stronger embrace of craft, of do it yourself, of self-sufficiency. ‘How can brands empower consumers to be more self-sufficient?’
At times of crisis innovation flourishes. Contactless solutions may increasingly replace what used to be high-touch activities, such as concerts or fitness, as well as in-demand human tasks like shipping and delivery. Buying a house online? – Totally possible and done in New Zealand.
Some Opportunities and Start Preparing for Downsides
Eight-hour workdays no longer exist. Being online all the time will also change the typical workday. This requires employees to set clear boundaries, apportioning their family time, personal time, leisure time, and sleeping hours. Otherwise, they risk an unbearable day and decreased quality of life.
Increased use of temporary and part-time workers. Companies scarred by the response to the pandemic will be reluctant to add full-time roles when they could add flexible roles instead. There is no need for those long powerpoint presentations, as agendas are more focused, enabling meeting times to be cut dramatically.
Fewer middle managers and consultants. With their digital transformation, companies will need far fewer middle managers, project managers, and executive assistants. Managers’ jobs should be changed into team leadership roles where the managers produce and coach. Instead of consultants that do management’s work, companies should give the challenges to their own employees who know the business far better than any consultant.
Cutting back business trips. The pandemic has shown us we don’t need to fly to Shanghai or Zurich for business reviews. Using videoconferencing programs, like Zoom or Skype, meetings can be just as effective online.
Renewed focus on outcomes instead of controlling employees’ time. The role of leaders will shift to further attention on empowering their employees, energizing them around a common mission, and measuring the outcomes of their work. Instead of measuring employees’ inputs, companies will shift to results and forward-looking metrics like market share and customer feedback.