How businesses have evolved during the pandemic

Change is never easy, but as businesses look towards a post-COVID-19 future, for many enterprises, their traditional business models, products, and services have to change in the very near future if their companies are to survive. It’s safe to say that COVID has had an enormous impact on every single industry. Even though we may have gotten used to the “new normal” by now, these changes are still tricky to navigate because at the end of the day that’s exactly what they are – changes.

In India and around the world, the impact of the corona virus pandemic is not limited to a few sectors but is evident across all stakeholders of the economy. For instance, the venture capital activity in the Indian ecosystem has witnessed a slowdown as social distancing and self-isolation is hampering investor meetings. Similarly, a negative impact is evident across both the white-collar and the blue-collar sector.

Needless to say, the Covid-19 outbreak has had a negative impact on businesses, but we may still believe that there is a positive silver lining. Some of the changes can actually lead to a brighter and better future. Here are a few ways in which businesses have evolved during the pandemic:

1 . Your home is your new office: Undoubtedly, the safest place during the pandemic is your house. For companies to continue their usual work during the pandemic, allowing their employees to work from home has been the only solution. This trend has changed the workplace as companies realized that it is entirely possible to continue business as (somewhat) usual while their employees work from home. This allows companies to save potentially crores on real estate.  

One major problem with work from home is that some employees do not have proper infrastructure, equipment or basic necessities to carry out their tasks from home. This may include good and stable internet connection, laptops, computers or mobile charging points next to the work station for making calls all day, etc. To tackle this issue, companies have modified their policies for their employees. The amount that was used for Commercial rental purposes or paid as transportation expenses to employees; part of that amount is being used for providing  employees with basic necessities and equipment to complete their work without any hindrance. Therefore, businesses have proved that by working together with proper communication, it is possible to be successful even without being physically present at the workplace.

2 .  Flexible Working Hours:  As the work from home trend is being implemented by a majority of companies, both the employees and the employers have realised how unnecessary the standard 9-5 working hours were. It will be hard to deny employees flexibility when they are getting their work done simply because employers are not around to see them work.

Earlier, whether or not employees had completed their tasks, they were expected to spend their usual 9-5 hours at the office. Now, due to the pandemic, employees have increased flexibility in their work hours as long as they’re getting their work done in allotted time.  Working 9-5 is not a requirement for employers anymore. Thus, both the employees and the employers are at equilibrium.

3. More leadership from every team member: When you work individually without any surveillance, you have freedom. But with more freedom comes more responsibility. In the office, it was much easier to work under a centralised leadership. But now that COVID has changed the entire landscape, there is a decentralisation of leadership.This has resulted in people from all teams needing to step up and demonstrate leadership. Every employee is now his/her own leader. When your manager is not just a few steps away from your desk, you’re at more of a liberty to do your work and a sense of leadership ignites in order to finish the task. If everyone is stepping up to the challenge, it fosters an environment with collaborative leadership which is great for professional and personal development.

4 . Less Formal Environment: Obviously working from your home feels less formal than working at the office. In a strange turn of events, being more physically distant from one another has brought us closer together in some ways. We peek into the lives of our colleagues every time we see their home through a Zoom call, and we’re acting much closer because of it. There are lesser rules on what to wear and when to eat. Also, spending time with your family in between work can not be ignored as we list the perks of a less formal work environment. In other words, the term “Work- Life Balance” is finally proving to be true after all these years. 

5. Better Mental Health: The most significant and the most important change that the pandemic has brought in the corporate world, is better mental space for the employees. Needless to say, almost everyone went through some sort of mental dilemma in his/her work life. The pressure of work, not only in finishing the target, but the competition both internally and externally, responsibilities, expectations, family pressures, you name it and it was there. Although not completely, the pandemic has brought some sort of peace in the lives of the employees. Work from home, Flexibility in work hours and a less formal environment, all these factors have somewhat contributed towards easing the pressure and enabling better mental health in the corporate world. 

The world has changed and it has changed the workplace with it. COVID forced us to realize that there were business solutions in front of us the whole time that we were not leveraging. Now that we’ve realized how successful this way of working has been, there’s no good reason to return to some of the things we were doing pre-pandemic.