Challenges are nothing new for business owners. We are all used to rolling with the punches and grinding through the tough times, it’s part and parcel of running a company. However, it seems fair to say that 2020 gave us more than our fair share of those challenges. What’s more, it’s been made increasingly clear that we are going to continue to see the ripple effects of those rocks thrown in our pond for a long time to come.
As we chart a course for the second half of 2021, it is starting to seem like we might finally start to be able to breathe a little easier. But there are plenty of new and continuing challenges that we must be aware of if we are to continue to survive and thrive. Here are just a few of the major issues that you will need to prepare for and some advice for how you can best fend them off.
Working From Home Might Be Here To Stay
Before the pandemic, working from home was the exception, something that was permitted in exceptional circumstances or employed by start-up businesses trying to embrace new ways of thinking. Well, 2020 made us all face those circumstances (and then some) but it still felt that working from home was a temporary measure.
Many businesses were operating on the assumption that this would hopefully all be over fairly quickly and the normal way of doing things would be back before too long. As the months rolled on and we passed the one-year mark, it became apparent that we would be living in this new normal for some time yet. Even as offices around the globe begin to open their doors and turn the lights back on, it’s clear that a lot of workers still have serious concerns about heading back in. And, as we have seen time and time again, there are no guarantees when it comes to COVID-19 and committing to a big return may necessitate an about-face.
So, how can you handle this? For starters, commit. Make the decision to give up that office space and start saving on those costs. Talk to your employees about what they might need to make working from home long-term a workable solution, whether that’s allowing for flexible working hours or providing them with new equipment. On that last note, it’s also time to make sure that everyone is using the same software, including any project management or antivirus software.
One of the inevitable consequences of the pandemic pushing everyone online for absolutely everything was that cyber-attacks skyrocketed. After all, there were vulnerable people operating in unfamiliar waters who did not have experience or the tools to protect their information or their finances.
Even though things are starting to reopen, it seems reasonable to assume that a lot of people will be continuing to work and shop online, and that cybercrime will continue to be a constant threat. While some businesses are obviously more of a target than others, there are many sectors who have faced real challenges when it comes to protecting their customer and client data while working from home. Take legal practices, for example, which had to find a way for its employees to take incredibly sensitive personal material home and guarantee its safety.
When it comes to protecting your business from cybercrime, there are several options available at a range of prices. Simple good security housekeeping costs nothing and is easy to brief your employees on. Two-factor authentication on any work email accounts, making sure not to open any suspicious links, and using password generators will all help. If you are concerned about your business’ security, it may well be worth investing in an IT specialist who can anticipate threats before they happen.
Uncertainty Makes Growth Difficult
We have all learned to be distrustful of good news over the course of the last year. As a result, even as the world starts to open up, many businesses are wondering if it’s safe to finally start committing to those big initiatives that will help drive their company forward. However, it’s a fact that the landscape out there is incredibly competitive as businesses fight tooth and nail to stay afloat, and any competitor that has done well enough to make it through the last year in one piece is clearly someone to be taken seriously. In short, if you don’t find a way to get ahead, then you are going to fall behind.
How do you forge a path forward without opening yourself up to more risk? How do you respond to the kind of disruption that we have seen over the twelve months without recoiling and retreating? One of the most valuable things that you can do right now is to look inward. You may very well have all the tools and assets you need to innovate your business without investing in a new division or taking a gamble on a reckless new strategy.
A corporate strategy course can help you to create a framework for identifying opportunities for innovation in your company and show you how the very things that make your business unique are what can help you get ahead. If you’re interested in discovering how innovation can come from within, you can look here to learn more.
Mental Health Issues Arising From The Pandemic Don’t Have A Quick Fix
If there is one positive to be taken from the pandemic, it is that we all have learned a great deal about mental health and a lot of the stigma that surrounded it has been dispelled. We all know how important it is to talk about these issues and to provide support where we can. However, COVID-19 took a terrible toll on the mental health of people all over the world, and we are going to continue to see these issues for a long time to come. Even the relaxing of Coronavirus restrictions has brought issues with it, as people are worrying about getting back into the world for the first time in over a year.
As an employer, you have a responsibility for the health of your employees, and you need to recognize that these issues will not disappear with a vaccine. Continue to provide the same kind of support that you offered throughout those difficult first months. We’re talking about finding ways for your team to blow off steam and socialize virtually at the end of a tough week, making sure that they have a channel where they can express any concerns and issues safely and in confidence, and ensuring that you have a support system in place should anyone need to take time off or a leave of absence. Frankly, businesses should have been taking mental health a lot more seriously for some time, and if you can offer this kind of support to your employees then they will reward you and you will see the benefits.