• Mark Saywell - Director Business Transformation

Covid 19 - Don't let your business be a casualty

Covid-19 poses an existential threat to many businesses but also many traditional business models.

I’m writing this blog entry shortly after reading an article about another bastion of British Retail, ‘Go Outdoors’ calling in the administrators. In the last few weeks my home town has witnessed the closures of Cath Kidston, Beales and faces the likely imminent departures of Frankie and Benny’s and the local Dorothy Perkins, the blood flowing from the British High Street is in desperate need of stemming. These may be deaths that it is hard to pin entirely on Coronavirus, with underlying weaknesses prevalent before the enforced economic shutdown, but what is certain, many more businesses will be having a good hard look at their viability in the post Covid world.

What of the British workforce? As much as almost every British worker is sick and tired of the phrases ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ the last few months have presented a flip side. Many people have had time to grow accustomed to what their property looks like in the light of a weekday, others have been spending precious time supporting their children’s education and home play that they’ve never had before. There has been a shift in consciousness. Maybe work and money aren’t so important, maybe that few extra hours with the kids is worth more than a couple of hours overtime.

Many employers may hope that the answer lies in having their employees return to the office and work harder and longer hours – maybe even for a little less income in the medium term, but such thinking is as outdated as the business models that are starting to give way. This simply won’t chime with a workforce whose attentions have turned towards the qualities that come from a happy home life.

The optimum solutions are likely to emerge in as unexpected a fashion as the pandemic’s arrival. Success will not come easily to those that utter the immortal words, ‘my business model cannot change’ compared to those that lead from the front, ‘how can I change the world for myself and my staff’.

I can’t guarantee I can help you have revolutionary and creative thoughts, but I can sow a few seeds that might inspire some thought and help you think more dynamically about what modern success might look like for you

· The death of the 9 to 5

Has the time finally come to draw a line under the tired old concept of 8 hours a day, sat in the workplace come rain or shine, whether busy or quiet. How much of a day’s work needs your whole team to be sat onsite? Could any work be batched and bundled to be managed off-site agnostic to working hours? What drives the working window? Can you do more to set your own rules of business?

· Technology enabled Agile Working

Meetings can be handled online through MS Team, Zoom, Skype and a multitude of other conferencing software. Business enabling software is moving to ‘the cloud’ at a rate of knots. What can you do to enable your staff to work remotely, with flexibility? Desktop PC’s and phones can easily be replaced with laptops and VOIP services. Can you do more to untether your workforce?

· Business by appointment

How important is it for your business to be freely accessible for customers or clients? Is onsite ‘browsing’ vital, or does it encourage ‘tyre kickers’ consuming your time and your coin? Can you move browsing ‘online’ and confine onsite presence to a defined timeslot, allowing lower levels of onsite resource and more flexible, offsite working? If a client won’t commit to an appointment, how likely are they to commit to a purchase?

· Value Chain focus

Do you understand your value chain? Do you know why customers choose your business over your competitors? What your strengths and USP are? Are you protecting the right components of your business, or investing too much in areas that don’t facilitate profitability and effectiveness? You may be able to generate more with less. Can you free up your expensive, skilled resources, or cash generators from performing time consuming administrative tasks that could be handled elsewhere?

· Payment by productivity

Fortune favours the brave. How about considering a payment structure that is linked entirely to the success of the business? Can you eliminate the imprisonment of working hours and allow your staff to deliver against metrics that equate to success, on a flexible timeline that works for them? If you understand what success looks like for your business, can you develop metrics that encourage and reward productivity and shared success? The more productive the employee, the more successful the business, the more rewards available to be shared across the organisation.

If you are interested in discussing your company’s potential, and opportunities to investigate business change initiatives on these or any other themes, the team at Nurxure are always happy to speak with you. We specialise in helping organisations reach their optimum performance, and adapt to an ever changing marketplace.

Innovate, adapt and overcome.