Even though the calendar has flipped from 2020 to 2021, the pandemic hasn’t gotten the message. It is still here, and worse than ever. We are dealing with at least two new variants that are more contagious than the original, and more easily contracted by younger people. Indeed, a new year on a calendar changes very little. We have to continue doing the same things like wearing masks, socially distancing, and staying within our bubble to the extent possible.
That said, there is hope. We have multiple vaccines on the way and two already here. Some businesses are thriving. And there is good reason to believe that more economic stimulus is on the way. Right now, business schools are writing new curricula To address all the lessons learned from the pandemic.
No matter how harsh the lessons have been, there are definitely lessons to be learned. One of those lessons is to always have a contingency plan. Look at how many businesses there were that couldn’t survive past a few days of lockdown. They had no plan for anything other than business as usual. Well the pandemic has been anything but. Here are a few more lessons that will help post-pandemic businesses thrive:
Harness the Power of Big Data
Many businesses have a superpower that is at their fingertips if they were able to see past the current moment. That superpower is big data, and what it can do for them. If you are not familiar with master data management, start here:
Gartner defines Master Data Management (MDM) as a “technology-enabled discipline in which business and IT work together to ensure the uniformity, accuracy, stewardship, semantic consistency and accountability of the enterprise’s official shared master data assets. Master data is the consistent and uniform set of identifiers and extended attributes that describes the core entities of the enterprise including customers, prospects, citizens, suppliers, sites, hierarchies, and chart of accounts.”
Big data can be used to predict the future. Those making the full use of their companies data could have seen the pandemic coming before it arrived on U.S. shores. We could have seen the need and shortage of PPEs and stocked up on basic supplies. Businesses could have seen the pivot from on-prem to delivery services, and so much more, all with the proper harnessing data they already had, or could have easily accessed. Businesses of the future will be data-driven. No more flying by the seat of their pants.
Let Sick People Stay Home
Corporations have a history of making it difficult for sick workers to just call in and stay home. Some companies make being sick a badge of shame. Small businesses offer no benefits that would cover an absentee. And many workers can’t afford to spend a day off work.
These policies and attitudes have led to the spread of viruses throughout the workplace long before COVID came to town. Now, some companies are wondering if they can make vaccines mandatory.
That is a major change in corporate thinking. It is past time corporations take the health of their workforce seriously. Beyond vaccines, they need to reverse course on those ridiculous, open plan office spaces that allow airborne viruses to spread with impunity. Post-pandemic businesses will not be brought down whenever someone sneezes.
Make It Easier to Work from Home
Viral spread is just one reason to make it easier for people to work from home. Many people would be able to do their jobs perfectly well from home even when suffering from sickness or a mild injury. There is no good reason to have so much time lost from productivity.
There is also the matter of having easier access to skilled labor. Not every good fit for your company lives within an easy commute. You could get qualified workers from anywhere in the world, and never have to put up with excuses about traffic making them late to work every morning. COVID blew up all the reasons managers thought working from home was a bad idea. Now, it looks like the most sensible way to work.
Things will get back to normal, even if it is a new normal. Just be sure to learn the lessons that have come at such a high price. Harness the power of your data. Make it easy for sick people to stay home. And make working from home a permanent option.