These are tough times with a lot of uncertainty. If anything is certain, it is that we are staring at an impending and an unpredictable recession. It will be unprecedented because it is accompanied by a health-crisis. This means that apart from the demand drying up in several industries (travel, tourism, hospitality, etc.) we will have the additional problem of the workforce not being physically present. That’s a double whammy. Not only do we have a massive problem at hand but with it, it takes away one of the tools of fighting the problem – working together in a collocated environment. In my working memory this is unprecedented.
And yet, we can be sure that there will be winners and losers. The winners this time are likely to be fewer than in the 2008 crisis. During the downturn of 2008, the macro-problem lent a few business models totally irrelevant. But it also made some thrive. Primarily, by doing more of what they were already doing.
So, who will be the winners this time? The winners will be those for whom the macro-problem advances their consumer demand but additionally, and more importantly, also those who can solve an inevitable problem of “Keeping lights on remotely” by leveraging technology.
There is no organization for which working remotely on critical business functions is an inherent competitive advantage. It will have to turn it into a competitive advantage. Those who do that will then double-down by conducting BAU remotely by giving employees all the required digital support (which will obviously reduce overheads, management costs, etc.).
One study conducted at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by associate professor Prithwiraj Choudhury of the Harvard Business School found that employees who work remotely from anywhere were more productive (by 4.4%) and also add an estimated $1.3 billion of value to the US economy each year.1
If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught us, it is that we are able to work from home more than that we thought we could. Organisations need to augment this by providing the right digital tools to ensure the wellbeing of employees and boost their productivity.
As I said, there will be winners and there will be losers but more importantly there will be losers who could have been winners. Don’t let that happen to your business. Identify your business model and see if you can turn COVID-19 into a competitive advantage.
We at ITC Infotech have a proven solution called Digital Workplace being implemented at various global financial organisations to make your “workplace” become more digital and make your employees more productive – remotely. If you want to know more, please drop an email to Mahesh.email@example.com.
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