Updated: Feb 5
“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence itself, but to act with yesterday’s logic”
— Peter F. Drucker Managing in Turbulent Times
COVID-19 has meant a lot of businesses are not just in lockdown, but in a kind of “thinking hibernation”. While there is obviously a very real need to be battening down the hatches, is your business also using this time to reset and rethink its purpose and plan how it will emerge into the post-pandemic landscape?
The “new normal” won’t be business as usual
If we look back across the last decade, it becomes apparent that there were significant warnings that globally, governments were not addressing the need to be prepared for a possible pandemic, either in terms of the potential loss of life but also the economic impact such a disaster might have.
In fact, despite protestations, some governments were actively closing departments whose focus was to “war game” such scenarios and advise on possible contingency protocols that could be put in place.
Of course hindsight is always 20/20, but it shows that entrenched thinking is resistant to even the most powerful and informed opinions.
This can seem an odd way of approaching things. After all, on an individual level, few of us would decide not to buy a smoke alarm and insure our homes against fire damage, because we believe it’s a sensible small outlay which might prevent a disaster, or at least help with the financial cost should one occur. Governments and global economies, though, haven’t been inclined to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
But the coronavirus did happen. It will continue to happen in the short to medium term, and if the experts are finally listened to, we can expect it, or something very much like it, to happen again.
Which means this time, there’s no excuse for being ill-prepared.
“There’s one area though where the world isn’t making much progress, and that’s pandemic preparedness”
— Bill Gates, 2018
There are multiple scenarios that could make up the post-pandemic world. Read more in Deloitte’s report The world remade by COVID-19
Preparing for the ‘next normal’
It can seem hard for businesses to find positives in the current situation, but there is one very immediate one: your company now has the opportunity to pause and reflect. Have you ever taken time out to fully re-examine your business? If the answer’s no, then you should ask yourself, if not now, then when?
Deloitte’s Resilient Leadership Framework defines three consecutive time frames in a crisis.
How does a company sustain and manage continuity as the situation develops?
How can you recognise the structural weaknesses that the crisis highlighted in your business and correct them to emerge stronger?
Use this new thinking to maximise opportunities as the ‘next normal’ arrives
It seems unlikely that any company, from banks to bakeries, clubs to clinics, will feel they will operate in exactly the same way they did before the virus took hold – although if you feel your current model and thinking are just fine going forward, you need to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?”
5 questions every business should ask
As luck seems in short supply in the economy at the moment, there are in fact a lot more sensible questions businesses should be asking, namely:
What targets and expectations should be examined? Which ones have fallen away? What opportunities have been accelerated?
What is going to be valued by our customers? How will their priorities and perceptions have changed?
What companies are best placed to succeed and how can we emulate them?
Which of our relationships are the most vital? Which ones are redundant?
What will our supply chains and assets look like post-pandemic?
“Vpod have always been involved with helping companies combine digital tech with their employees’ strengths, both to maximise staff efficiencies and improve their customers’ experience”
Time for technology to take us forward
The past few months have seen technology accelerate to the forefront of business thinking.
Recent developments include:
Companies who never thought beyond the “office full of desks” model now embracing the potential of remote working.
Busy buildings which once had fleets of receptionists now looking to automate the checking-in process, and screen their visitors.
Banks and retailers who can’t open their branches or stores looking to find a way to keep talking to their customers.
“Vpod have always been involved with helping companies combine digital tech with their employees’ strengths, both to maximise staff efficiencies and improve their customers’ experience,” says Vpod MD, Sam Farrant. “But whereas before the coronavirus outbreak, these measures were seen as ‘nice to haves’ – as in they were a useful support to existing systems — now we’re finding a huge spike in enquiries about how they can become cornerstones in business planning for a post-pandemic world.”
Questions and Answers
Ultimately, Vpod Solutions can offer just that: solutions to questions your business may already be asking.
How do we screen and protect our staff and premises?
Vpod is already helping companies such as Vodafone screen visitors arriving at their buildings via its Vgreet system. Facial recognition, thermal imaging, voice commands – these core technologies will become increasingly prevalent in managing footfall everywhere from offices to supermarkets post-pandemic. Vgreet can help any business achieve contactless communications and check-ins and protect staff by removing the need for the traditional reception desk/queueing model.
How do we keep talking to customers?
With the huge uptick in remote working and video conferencing during the lockdown, remote video has gone from being perceived as a niche technology to a part of everyday life. Many of these apps, however, are restrictive in that they are not much more than a phone with a camera – not a very engaging way for businesses to talk to customers. Dialog, Vpod’s proprietary video-call system, offers expanded functionality including remote signature and identification capture, document sharing and annotation, and audio-style features such as hold, add caller and forward, while appointments can be scheduled by customers for any time and on any device. Keeping communication face-to-face in a lockdown world is proving a huge competitive edge for companies.
How can we create new kinds of spaces in a socially distanced world?
Vpod has enabled companies to rethink not only their own internal spaces, but also to create remote locations for their brand and businesses. Its Pods can not only provide private conversation and meeting spaces within any office, branch or store, but can also allow a business to “pop up” in any location to reach its customers. All Pods are produced with low-carbon manufacture, have minimal power requirements and are acoustically optimised. As remote conversations become the norm, Vpod is helping companies move way beyond the “video on a laptop” surge we’ve seen recently and create true virtual meeting-room experiences.
Facing the future with enthusiasm
The future is obviously uncertain, but the companies that most effectively use the Deloitte “Recover” phase to move into the “Thrive” period will be those that have faced up to the current challenges, and identified how they can best change their thinking, realistically and honestly.
“Of course, it’s a very challenging time for everyone,” says Farrant, “but one thing that gives me, and Vpod, hope for a full economic recovery is that we are seeing the businesses we work with, or are in conversations with, fundamentally thinking about how they can adapt and focus on the future. From genuinely addressing sustainability, to leveraging technology to support, not replace, their staff, there is a real desire to move away from the ‘We’ve always done this’ way of thinking.
“The fact that Vpod is talking to businesses ranging from SMEs to global names shows that the drive to maximise opportunities is still there, but in fact it’s very encouraging that this is being twinned with a drive to truly rethink attitudes about relationships, supply chains and technology. It demonstrates that however much a challenge the present is, the future can still be one we can look forward to.”
What can your ‘Why?’ mean for the future?
Vpod Solutions is helping businesses to answer these challenges, and to identify how they can be best placed to emerge from this crisis not just intact, but with a new vision for the future.
From providing protection and support to front-of-house teams and helping revolutionise the in-store experience for retail, to keeping banks and businesses talking to their customers – and ultimately ensuring all customer experiences are empowering and engaging – every solution Vpod provides is one that is built to truly reflect what your business needs to thrive.