The rules have changed. ‘Post-COVID’, re-opening of businesses is unsure as a resurgence of infections could result in further closures. Reopening therefore needs to be more than a restart. A reinvention is called for … starting with these five areas.

Despite ongoing uncertainty, reopening of businesses has begun. However, the rules are no longer the same. Reopening thus has to be more than a restartcompanies have to reinvent themselves for a new era of business. To do so, there are five important areas they need to address. 

Put people first. Knowing what is really going on in employees’ lives is essential to create the next generation of successful businesses 

  • Technology, processes and employees will need to become even more truly human in how they interact with people. For example, work may open, but schools and elderly care may not. It starts with responsible leadership. 
  • You can build trust with your people through your purpose. A recent study showed that 62 percent of people trust their employer to respond responsibly to COVID-19. Living your purpose motivates people to persevere with a challenging journey of change.  

Design spaces that work. The pandemic has forced the fastest reallocation of labor since World War II. Returning to work will not be as easy. It will not be determined by market demand alone, but by readiness and confidence of employees. The organizational need to reopen will be just one factor. 

  • Remote work has become the new norm for many and is likely to be so for the foreseeable future. Our COVID-19 research (Accenture COVID-19 Consumer Pulse, conducted in March, 2020) shows people are willing to work remotely: 75 percent of workers felt they had an appropriate home space to do their job; 49 percent of people who never worked from home now plan to do so more frequently in the future. But more than 50 percent still have not yet established a good work from home routine. It will be important to redesign work so that it can be completed more effectively from home, and to train managers to manage hybrid virtual / physical teams. 
  • The future workplace will also need new approaches to security. Extend protocols for data, network and systems security to manage use of personal devices and new collaboration tools. 

Solve in phases. The reopening is just the start. Companies should plan for a phased return that responds to unforeseen events, slippage, and reversals. Companies should see this not as a time to return to “normal”, but an opportunity to rethink, reengineer and improve future operations. 

  • The key is an intelligent operating model―one that’s accelerated by automation, makes data and insights available in an instant and is delivered by an agile workforce. We believe this will be a multi-staged journey―underpinned by a set of technologies that drive efficiency and insights.  

Commit to an elastic cost structure. Having secured short term liquidity, companies will need to focus on the longer-term financial health and affordability of the business. That means moving from rapid cost reductions to building a resilient cost management mindset, and from balance sheet protection to long-term investment. 

Get future-ready. The secret to the long-term success of reopening lies in building new capabilities: fresh approaches to innovation, supported by more holistic technology strategies that support innovation at scale. Purpose, empathy and agility must be at the center of new customer growth opportunities.  

  • Building next-gen agility includes listening to your customers and responding quickly, establishing technology scalability with the cloud, and building agile autonomy—underpinning all areas of agility and experimentation with clearer empowerment of individuals and teams. 

Have you found this series of posts useful? I am keen to hear what is working for you and your people, the challenges you are experiencing and how you are reinventing your business for the next era. 

For more on reopening and reinventing your business, take a look at 5 Priorities to Help Reopen and Reinvent Your Business. 

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