Business is changing in the midst of the global pandemic. The spread of COVID-19 has sparked seismic shifts in the status quo, forcing business leaders to face unprecedented challenges. With the uncertainties of the future, the business world must now lay new foundations and ride the storm.

The isolation that we have all experienced has provided moments for self-reflection. And as business leaders, it’s created the opportunity to recalibrate and build smartly – by investing in flexible infrastructures for a distributed workforce. As the world begins to bounce back, read on to discover how your business can construct a brighter future in the wake of a crisis.

Discover where you fit in

Many businesses — perhaps yours included — have experienced significant downtime during the lockdown period. In such a case, it’s likely that your niche has evolved in your absence. Now is the time to take the reigns and make smart, tactical decisions. But to do that you must first rediscover your industry.

Alternatively, if you’ve been fortunate enough to carry on as usual, you could be suffering from a degree of complacency, one which does not factor in ongoing changes in demands. Before reinventing your business, you need to think about your business, and rediscover what sort of purpose you serve.

Do the goals you originally pursued still apply post-COVID? For instance, maybe you were implementing bike schemes to make commuting easier?

In which case, these goals will require substantial alterations in the ascent of remote working, alongside cancellations in live events.

Or perhaps the new situation makes your objectives more relevant than ever, thereby, pushing you to double down on the core of your operation.

Reinvention doesn’t necessarily mean you throw everything out the window and start over. It can simply boil down to adapting old aspirations, and aligning them with the next normal.

Support remote working culture

Remote working has become the dominant approach for businesses during the pandemic. While some industries don’t translate well to remote work, overall this trend is predicted to continue long into the foreseeable future.

We’ve all witnessed how quickly companies have adapted to remote working. And in many cases, teams report record productivity.

It’s all well and good discussing how brilliantly staff have acclimated to remote working environments. We already know it’s a tried-and-tested alternative to the office. But, with this switch shaping up to be a permanent move, you should be futureproofing the process.

As a business leader, it’s your duty to consider: how do I make remote working even better over the long term? 

Some businesses will be looking to move workload into a hybrid working model, meaning owners are looking to merge the best parts of remote working, alongside what their employees miss about office life.

With intermittent local lockdowns looking to be a likely occurrence for months to come, this new approach could shape up to be a win-win for employees and businesses alike. However, there are a few factors to consider when establishing remote work into long term business plans out of choice, rather than necessity.

It’s time to focus on employee experience. Don’t commit to anything without factoring employee needs into your decision-making process. Not everybody has fallen in love with remote working, and a big downside of working from home has been the lack of support and availability of work-ready equipment for many workers now struggling to stay productive with insufficient infrastructure.

Be it necessities like monitors, desks and laptops, to seemingly inconsequential items like audio cables, headsets and HDMI leads, all of these tools impact how well employees can perform outside the office. If you decide to lean into a hybrid model, you’ll be required to invest in home offices, equal to your conventional workspace. From eye fatigue to general security concerns, it is your responsibility to care for your staff, whether or not they’re in the office.

Making sure all your equipment links up can help combat common comfortability issues found in many remote working environments. If we’re talking about reinventing your business for the better, think about remote working as an extension of the company, not simply a demand you half heartedly adhere to while lockdown lasts.

Invest in talent on the job market

With jobs being lost and companies conserving cash and resources, it is a strange time to be in the job market seeking employment. But, innovative business leaders could pivot this dire situation into something more positive. With plenty of ambitious talent out there, perhaps this is the time to hire, not fire. As we emerge from lockdown, being the fastest out the gate could yield major benefits in the form of talent acquisition. Just make sure you know how to sell your business to applicants.

Businesses that are able to make a compelling culture-based offer will be well positioned to hire some fantastic professionals, without breaking the bank. And history tells us that investing in talent means you can grow your business, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.

If you want to attract the best talent, you’ll need to win their trust. After all, it’s hard to watch close ones lose their jobs and not feel a little skeptical about the realities of capitalism. The rules of engagement have changed in the wake of COVID and hiring managers must bear that in mind. Not only are employees more likely to require new perks — like flexible hours and mental health days — but they’re also less likely to trust conventional employers if they’ve recently been furloughed or laid off.

Commit to investing in your employees’ future and welfare; it’ll prove immensely beneficial in the long run.

Consider the new consumer landscape

Have you been proactive and consistently engaging with your audience during the pandemic? If you’re dealing with the same challenges as many businesses, probably not.

How you’ve approached customer engagement thus far likely is dependent on how active your business has been on a whole. Regardless, it’s a safe bet to assume your engagement has dropped off substantially. Despite how regularly you post on social media or how perfectly optimized your emails and blog posts are, the crux of the matter is customers have had more pressing concerns to address than engaging with traditional marketing content and messages from businesses. The world has endured a fair share of distractions, after all.

Which is why now is a great time to rebuild the connections you may have lost along the way.

In a post-COVID world, people are more inclined to support brands who share their values and display a keen sense of empathy. If you were a company which made a mark through prices, don’t be surprised when this doesn’t hit the mark anymore.

Re-tool your team to offer new services

While there is truth in the idea that complete change is unnecessary, being completely resistant to change is an untenable position in its own right.

Regardless of market conditions, savvy business leaders are always thinking about intelligent ways to expand their business. As industries increasingly move into the online world, new growth opportunities afforded by a digital landscape are worthy of further consideration and experimentation.

Not sure where to start? Think about what could best benefit your customers and investigate how your business could deliver it to them in a novel way. Perhaps this is an opportunity for employees to shine in brand new areas? As experts in your particular field, maybe you could delve into content creation. Much of your brand value exists in your knowledge.

Regardless of whether you ultimately decide to pursue these new opportunities, uncovering fresh thinking and creative, new ways to diversity your operations is one of the best ways to ensure longevity — especially in the aftermath of a global pandemic, as you prepare for waves of economic uncertainty.

Recommended reading: Ideal Work Environments: How to Find Yours and What You’ll Need to Succeed

COVID-19 has presented the world with new, devastating challenges to overcome. Rebuilding business and peoples social lives will be a long arduous process.

Either by investing in talent, infrastructure or your customers — there is a pathway to success if you follow it.