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Planning for the 'new normal'

Planning the future of your business can be tricky at the best of times. But it's trickier still when the future is uncertain. So what lessons can we all learn after weeks of lockdown? And how could planning today help you deliver a better, leaner, and more responsive operation tomorrow?

With so many now obliged to work from home, the benefits - and challenges - are now clearer than ever. One of the key lessons of lockdown is that home working can benefit employers, employees, and the environment. Of course it doesn't suit everybody, all the time. And of course it's a challenge if children are locked-down at home, and it's hard to find the space (or the time) to concentrate on work. But there are huge benefits to 'virtual working'.

Planning for employers...

If you're an employer, you may be facing some tough financial choices. So if you don't need everyone in the office, all the time, you could probably manage with smaller and less expensive premises. (And a smaller car park!) Staff can still come in when they need to, of course. But you'll very rarely need everyone in on the same day. If you provide company cars, you could be looking at lower costs and lower mileage. And you'll save money on utility bills like water, gas and electricity, too.

As for your phone and broadband bills - now is probably the time to think about internet-based telecoms (if you haven't already).The Post Office will stop providing new ISDN and PSDN services this year, and switch them off entirely in 2025. They'll replace them with internet-based telecoms using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). That's the bad news.

The good news is VoIP, in the right hands, can deliver far more than a conventional switchboard, as well as slashing your running costs. And with the right setup the whole world can become your office. You'll be able to connect with it on your mobile, your tablet or your PC wherever you are. And intelligent switching will get the right call to the right person in the right place, every time.

Even if their particular 'right place' happens to be out in the park, maintaining good social distancing (if necessary) while they're working up their next report on their iPad. Because home working can be very good for employees, too.

...and employees...

The most obvious benefit of working from home is the end of that daily commute. For many, that will mean no more crowded trains, and no more wrestling with delays and cancellations to their service. For others it may mean freedom from traffic jams, less money spent on petrol, and a huge reduction in stress. (Even cycling to work can be pretty stressful, after all...)

Then there are those meetings. Of course some face to face meetings are both necessary and desirable. But lockdown rules have made online team meetings not just acceptable but normal. And with no need to move around between sessions, your people have more time to make notes and take follow-up actions without being distracted (except, possibly, by the cat). Better yet, with the freedom to plan out their own day they can plan exercise, breaks and meals to happen when and where it suits them. Which, generally speaking, makes them more rather than less productive.

...and planning for flexibility

For many businesses, the future after lockdown is likely to mean a new direction - possibly into uncharted territory. That's going to take most of your time, and the majority of your attention. So now would be a great time to unload as many as possible of the things that take your eye off the ball.

Dealing with admin. Answering the phone. Digging out the important emails from the stuff cluttering up your inbox. Planning meetings and managing your diary. And doing the books.

Because all those things can be done by someone else. Who only works when and how you need them to.

Just think about it. You can quite literally have a virtual assistant on tap - anywhere, at any time. But just for what you need, and only when you need it. Cost-effective, efficient, and easier than ever before as the tools for keeping in touch and sharing live data continue to improve.

Better yet, you could be getting vital help with planning your 'new normal' from an expert in home and office working. After all, you could be looking at new processes. New team structures and working environments. And new ways of working - including the legendary 'paperless office'.

Like to know more? Then please do give me a call on 07780 849549 or drop me an email. I'd be delighted to discuss your specific requirements - and show you the real, tangible benefits of planning your 'new normal' with virtual assistance.


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