2020 has proven to be an extremely challenging year for all businesses. Although people are trying to stay safe and exercise caution amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, they must earn a living too.
While some workers have the possibility of working from home, many have been left without a job. Unemployment rates have skyrocketed, and a lot of businesses have been forced to shut their doors permanently.
What’s Next for Businesses?
Luckily, it’s not all doom and gloom—recent weeks we have started to see some level of normality resume. Certain businesses have been able to re-open for the first time since the lockdowns began back in March. Business owners and entrepreneurs live in the hope that they can bounce back quickly.
One thing that is certain is that businesses should consider all future possibilities and prepare for them as best they can. While there aren’t a host of obvious choices or actions to benefit your company at this time, it’s important to take responsibility and make some tough decisions. Even though times are hard, there are always opportunities to improve.
So what are businesses’ main concerns as we begin to close out the year 2020? What questions do business leaders have, and are there any answers? While there may not be concrete answers just yet, there are a lot of important insights to take note of as you prepare your company for the future.
Concern #1: When will my employees return to the office?
As mentioned, millions of employees around the world have been working remotely. The ability to have workers operate from home has been a lifesaver for many companies. What’s more, companies are realizing that they can perform adequately if not even more productively while operating remotely.
Remote working looks set to stay for the foreseeable future. If they haven’t done so already, businesses must enable themselves for this. They need to adjust their strategy and invest in remote operations for their staff. Although this sometimes requires high up-front expenses, it can be cost-effective in the long-run. It’s a necessary step for adapting to the current climate.
Unfortunately, some industries or smaller businesses aren’t optimized for a remote workforce. Whether it’s impossible to run the business remotely or there is a lack of capital available, makeshift offices simply aren’t suited to all occasions. These organizations are heavily dependent on restrictions being lifted.
The re-opening of towns, cities, and countries has seen varying results worldwide. Some areas have done so seamlessly, while others have had to retract into lockdown again. It’s difficult to predict when states will reopen. State governments are attempting to deal with the virus on a day-to-day basis.
For businesses that depend on onsite operations, it’s wise to consider how that can be done safely. How can you implement long-term social distancing regulations if needed? How will your staff’s schedules be optimized to ensure there isn’t too much overlapping?
Many restaurants, for example, have been able to operate more effectively as they invest in online ordering technology and practice safe social distancing in-house. By considering safe, healthy ways your business may be able to operate as restrictions ease, you can prepare for the future, even if you depend on onsite working.
Concern #2: Should I establish long-term BYOD policies?
With so many people now working from home, companies have had to find a way to get work equipment to each of their remote employees. This has raised the question of whether or not companies should employ a long-term BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) policy and move away from company-owned devices altogether.
A BYOD policy can have several advantages. From an employee’s point of view, being allowed to use your own device can increase job satisfaction. Due to the elevated comfortability using a familiar device, BYOD policies can also boost productivity levels. Most importantly, by allowing their workers to use their own devices, companies can save a lot of money on technology expenses.
Although these benefits are significant, keep in mind that BYOD policies can bring about a new set of challenges, particularly in the COVID era. Personal devices used for work purposes are much more vulnerable to security breaches since they cannot be controlled as easily as company devices. It’s critical for companies to work with a reliable IT company to determine whether or not BYOD for long-term needs is viable and secure within your organization.
Concern #3: How can I cut costs?
Survival might be the goal for many businesses as we approach the final quarter of 2020. But survival may depend on your ability to cut unnecessary costs to stay afloat.
Eliminating office space and onsite expenses provide the best opportunities for saving money. If companies are operating effectively with a remote workforce, they should consider ending leases for the long term. The rollout towards a larger remote contingent can be gradual and strategic as you downsize to smaller locations.
A remote staff also means that businesses can reduce the amount of money spent on office equipment. Whether this is rented machinery or expensive services, companies should take advantage of savings opportunities such as getting rid of leased printers.
If you can’t work remotely, consider whether your staff has decreased during the pandemic. Since many businesses have had to shrink their workforces, you may have opportunities to eliminate per-user costs such as software subscriptions, phone lines, and more.
As your company considers these three concerns for the end of 2020, keep in mind that every business is unique and will require its own cost-benefit analysis for each of these solutions. Remote work can be a great opportunity to save money and deal with the challenges of an unpredictable pandemic, but it may just not work with your circumstances.
Rest assured, you can still prepare for potential reopenings by keeping your focus on other ways to save costs and adopt safe working practices.