How do businesses successfully return to the office after the pandemic? The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, however many business owners are now under the impression that the worst is now behind us. They may be right and unless something drastic changes then it is unlikely that there will be more national lockdowns in the future.
However, experts continue to warn that the effects of COVID will be felt for the next several years. This isn’t just about people who are feeling the long-term effects of the disease. It also refers to businesses returning to normal as well as society as a whole. Indeed, it’s likely that companies will face a rocky road in their quest to get things back to normal this year and into 2022 as well. Let’s explore some of the challenges that could be on the road ahead and how businesses can tackle these head-on.
Back To The Office
Are business owners eager to return to the office structure? According to the most recent surveys and polls, the answer is an undeniable yes. But why is this? Well, it could be that some business industries are ready to say goodbye to the challenges of the remote work model. For instance, the latest insurance industry trends suggest that brokers are expecting insurers to return to an office working model.
How realistic is this? Well, some governments are toying with making sure that companies must at least provide employees with the opportunity of working from home. Part of this is due to the prevalent threat from COVID but this is also about the perceived benefits of allowing people to work remotely. Many agree that it does provide people with a generally better quality of life. So, in the cases where it’s possible due to the use of technology and business options, it should be allowed.
What we might see is a hybrid working model being embraced by the majority of businesses. This could mean that team members will work from the office on a part-time basis depending on the type of company. However, this itself is going to provide issues for businesses because it will lead to more stress and uncertainty for team members.
Building Back Trust
Businesses will also face the issue of trying to build back trust in their business. They will need to make sure that employees and customers alike are ready to put trust in the way that their business is run and whether or not they can keep them safe in the long term. This is about putting the right measures in place and determining which safety measures should be kept for the foreseeable future. While it’s an unpleasant idea, many experts agree that people should still be encouraged to wear masks.
However, very few businesses are pushing their customers to wear masks. Indeed, they are taking steps to ensure that their employees continue to do so. As well as this, companies are putting mandates in place which require team members and employees to be vaccinated. There have been several high-profile cases where people have been let go, seemingly due to their stances on vaccinations. Businesses are ready to ensure that customers feel safe but will often draw the line on requiring customers and clients to take the same measures they demand of their staff. However, many businesses are at least offering customers the choice of using safety features including hand sanitizing equipment.
Some businesses and companies are struggling to get sales to the point they were at before COVID became an issue. There are various examples of this including the cinema industry. Theater chains have failed to get audience numbers or ticket sales to the point they were at before COVID hit. Films that should have easily reached a billion in sales have struggled to climb to $700 million. Meanwhile, there have been several noticeable misses from big studios including Disney. All eyes are currently on Spider-Man: No Way Home to see if it can get things back on form this year. But WB was criticised after embracing a full hybrid model with premiers appearing on HBO Max and at the cinemas throughout 2021.
This isn’t the only industry that is struggling. Any business that requires customers to come into public spaces will still be finding it difficult to get the same level of interest from clients. This isn’t just about building trust back up. It’s instead about ensuring that clients feel that it’s worth it. Customers are demanding experiences that make it worth their time to go out rather than stay in. For the movie industry, it’s about showing them a reason why they need to head to theaters rather than just stay at home and watch a movie on streaming. This is becoming more of an issue and it’s thought that COVID might have accelerated the somewhat inevitable death of the theater industry.
The Online Experience
Finally, with fewer people willing or interested in venturing to complete face-to-face interactions businesses are now required to put more of a focus on the online experience. They need to make sure that customers can connect to their company online in a way that feels real and indeed personal.
There are lots of ways to achieve this type of impact. However, one of the main steps will always be ensuring that brands are active on social media. The right level of activity on social media can guarantee that clients do get the highly engaging experience that they are searching for. Increased levels of engagement can be hugely beneficial to brands and will mean that they are not ignored in favor of a more interesting or active competitor.
We hope this helps you understand some of the challenges that businesses can expect in their quest to return to normal after 2021 and the COVID pandemic. By approaching these challenges the right way, you will be able to ensure that your company is in a stronger position overall and does gain the necessary support from customers or clients in the long term as well.