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Preparing for the “New Normal”

Covid-19 has radically altered working life – maybe for ever.  Companies now have to work out how they’re going to adapt to a post-Covid existence, many will be happy to leave the family home and get back to office gossip; others will dread the morning commute and the early starts.

Companies will start considering these factors – it’s become apparent that nothing needs to be office-based; executives have survived, in some cases, thrived, by working remotely. Future office infrastructures will take some of these factors into account. We may well see the end of the 9 to 5 working hours. We may well see the end of staff permanently based in the office. We may see a fracture of the distinction between home and office lives.

We’re going to start seeing massive investment in tools for remote working. According to a survey from executive recruitment consultants, we’re already seeing signs of investment in this technology.  The company’s Ahsan Iqbal has been pointing out there has been some rapid hiring in this sector: “Technology that underpins remote working – such as cloud computing, business apps, mobile tools, unified communications, project management tools, and video conferencing – will be no doubt be rapidly hiring as demand for their tools increase,”  he says.

This means that a remotely connected company is an efficient company. And it’s important to realise that remote connection doesn’t mean that the email works and Office 365 is available; it means that the full range of business software is on hand.

Businesses that haven’t made that investment are going to struggle in future. Just looking at CRM, we can see where some of the gaps are going to be. 

Salespeople may be entirely home-based and need all the resources of the office on their home computer. This means investing in a functional cloud-based CRM system

According to a Workbooks survey, 23 percent of British SMEs have not even invested in any sort of CRM system – and those are companies who are office-based. If we’re going to move to a new way of working, it’s even more important to plump for a CRM system that can keep up with all the modern trends and can cope with home and office working.  Communication is going to be key to going forward in this market.

We don’t know when the Covid-19 crisis is going to end; we don’t know what companies will still be standing at the end of it and we don’t know which companies will move to a new way of working. 

But one thing we do know: things have changed and nothing will ever be quite the same. If a company doesn’t have the flexibility to handle its customers in a variety of ways, from a variety of locations, it’s going to struggle.

It may already be too late. Ahsan Iqbal has pointed out: “Retailers who didn’t invest in eCommerce will be going through a difficult period.” He queries whether they’ll be able to adapt to a new way of working.

The time to look at existing CRM and see whether it’s fit for purpose is right now. A company that’s fit for the changes that Covid-19 has brought will be fit for the future.