There is always a silver lining. COVID has moved businesses towards valuable tools to integrate distance communications into everyday business practices. This enables broad business improvement beyond the pandemic timeline.
1. Office cost reduction opportunities
Increased use of online platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other cloud based work systems have provided a test run for potential methods for business growth and cost reduction. The April 2020 China Briefing described this growth as “reviving dormant potential […] for an infinite number of environments”. In the article, they go on to discuss the implications of expanding ‘work from home’ as a method for reducing workplace infrastructure costs, and the ways that could impact growth opportunities for small businesses moving forward.
2. Integration of staff with disabilities
Having a diverse staff team has been proven to broad positive impacts on business success, but we tend to think of diversity in terms of race/gender/ethnicity. Ability First, Canadian advocates focused on disability in the workforce, report statistics showing disabled employees have low absenteeism along with no to low extra accommodation cost. Historically, disabled people in the workforce have faced numerous barriers to employment, notable ones being a rigid schedule and inaccessible offices of many workplaces.
Due to COVID, we are being forced to adapt to allow for ‘work from home’, putting technology in place to integrate distance working. These steps make a workplace more open to modifications that enable qualified disabled employees to do new jobs past the timeline of COVID, being better prepared to accommodate alternate working arrangements.
3. Technology sector innovation and growth
In an article on imagining a post COVID-19 world in Asia, McKinsey released data indicating that “the crisis has created an imperative to escalate the adoption of new technology across all aspects of life”. The article gives examples of WeChat Work and DingTalk as platforms that have experienced exponential growth during the pandemic.
McKinsey reported that the explosive increase in use of these platforms have made way for more jobs in the tech sector, sharp increase in positions such as ‘social distributors’ to promote products on their social networks as well as IT infrastructure positions to keep platforms running smoothly. Technology sector growth allows for further economic stimulation in the form of new jobs while simultaneously providing resources for other sectors to provide low cost, accessible distance workspace.
Despite the world’s current uncertainty, periods of great difficulty and change create potential for fast development that can positively impact the way we work and live.
At Marberg, we are constantly working to find ways to better create effective working spaces and implement new technology to optimize our business. We have always sponsored barrier-free access for employees, and have been early adapters of video interviewing, training and testing technology. And while our office is closed, our entire team has been able to ‘work from home’ without any hiccups.