Today, employees switch more than ever between office and home office. Working in virtual teams has long since become routine. Exhibitors and visitors carefully consider whether to participate in a trade fair in person or digitally. To minimise failures in supply chains, companies also rely on domestic production. The post-pandemic world is different than before and will continue to be challenging. What do companies need to do to be fit for the future?
1. Shaping the transformation in a sustainable way
From a purely economic point of view, the Corona pandemic was threatening, but for many companies it was also an impetus and a necessity to look for a Plan B. Thus, a global pandemic manages what previously partly ambitious CEOs and increasingly sophisticated software and technologies failed to do: Taking digitisation seriously and finally tackling it.
Many entrepreneurs who quickly embraced the new challenges were rewarded for their courage. Manufacturers of paper handkerchiefs produced respirators, companies expanded their digital marketing and distribution channels. And restaurants secured their existence by switching to take-away food. Now it is important not to fall back into old patterns, to sustainably shape the changes that have been triggered and to cast them into sustainable business models. The companies that were prepared to reinvent themselves and make lasting changes were particularly successful during the pandemic.
2. Teams as a new organisational unit
Shake off old routines, introduce new processes: Many companies changed and made their structures more flexible within a very short time in order to be able to act and be successful in the new reality. Strict division of labour and rigid organisation in silos no longer have a place in this process. In the future, companies will not only promote the development of their organisation and its employees: Teams are becoming increasingly important as a new organisational unit and are formulating their own needs for the working world of the future.
Self-organised teams with different expertise and skills are beginning to share their knowledge and work on projects with common goals. Managers can promote this change. In the end, however, it is the people themselves who have to live the change. They make the difference. And they make the success. To achieve this, companies must not only change their structures and rethink their management style. They need to create technical and social framework conditions in which teams can freely develop their skills and potential. This is how you empower people. And this is how companies remain flexible and adaptable.
3. create the right framework
Whether mobile workplaces, innovative and interactive tools or individual, context-dependent learning opportunities: In recent months, many companies have equipped their teams with mobile devices, sent them to the home office and enabled them to work together. With tools such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, they facilitated communication between employees and promoted their networking as well as further education and training in hybrid workspaces. Teams worked on their projects independently of time and place via cloud storage such as OneDrive or Dropbox.
The pandemic will be over one day. What will remain is our complex world with its challenges. According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index, 73 per cent of employees want to be able to switch flexibly between face-to-face and mobile work in the future. 66 percent of companies say they want to develop workplaces for hybrid working. This means a paradigm shift that is urgently needed and must be shaped.
4. Utilise the potential of digitisation
For the transformation process described above, digitisation is the key. Before the pandemic, it presented us with major challenges. Frankly, the constant harping on digitisation and the digital transformation described on everyone's lips sometimes became tiresome to many. However, our globally networked world with its complex economic, political and social interrelationships would be unthinkable without the internet, modern software and technologies. Data and its processing only developed into the "oil of the 21st century" with the help of machine learning methods. In the pandemic, we learned what digitisation enables us to do. It gives us new and creative ways to deal with challenges and turn disadvantages into advantages.
Conclusion: Many challenges, one key
In the globalised world, digital communication tools allow us to communicate across time zones and oceans with business partners, colleagues and friends. Innovative tools allow us to create new work environments where teams work on projects in new constellations. We have tested these experiences and celebrated our first successes. Now we need to consistently implement the change that was announced long before the pandemic. Learning from experience and using the new knowledge is the way to go. One thing has finally become clear: We can only overcome the coming challenges creatively, together and with the help of modern, digital solutions.