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How business has changed forever – the Digital Era is here 

For many businesses the pandemic has not only meant an increased reliance on digital technologies but has accelerated plans to revolutionise the way in which they work. 

In-person meetings have been replaced by virtual Zoom, and Teams meetings on our phones and laptops in an attempt to stay connected with each other. The daily commute has been abandoned for many, allowing businesses to reflect on whether hours spent travelling into and out of work the best use of employees’ time? 

Take a look at just some of the ways’ businesses have changed since March 2020. 

 

Significant Increase in Digital Adoption 

In a world where demand for online services was ever increasing, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this and therefore the need for businesses to adapt and implement online services if they did not already have them. The pandemic increased the amount of customer interactions that were digital from 36% to 58% globally from December 2019 to July 2020. This is an adoption acceleration of around 3 years. 

 

Small Businesses 

Many small businesses have been forced to adopt more digital tools to survive during the pandemic 

  • Card readers to avoid use of physical money 
  • Temperature readers 
  • Websites to sell their products when their store was forced to close 
  • Social media to market their business, communicate with customers and sell their products 

Many small businesses agree that digital tools have saved them during the pandemic. 

 

Working from Home 

To reduce the spread of the virus many businesses are now working from home which comes with its own pros and cons. Many employees enjoy the benefits of working from home which could lead to a more productive workforce. 

One downside is that there are many businesses that lack the technological infrastructure to accomplish this without making some sacrifices to “business as usual”.  

 

How Businesses May Have Changed Forever 

Long lasting effects of working during a pandemic may include:  

  • An increase in working from home  
  • Customer preferences for remote interactions 
  • Changing customer needs – new health and hygiene sensitivities  
  • The way businesses operate (increased spend on data security, increased use of advanced technologies) 

 

Overall, the pandemic has caused a lot of disruption to all businesses, however they’ve found a way to adapt, survive and even thrive during the pandemic. The use of digital technology has had a massive role in making this possible and shows the value of such tools. The way the pandemic has changed the way many businesses operate may very well continue once normality returns such as increased remote working. 

While some changes may have been easily adapted by some businesses, not everyone has found this transition easy. For some businesses, they simply do not have the required skill sets within their organisation to be able to sustain and that’s where we can help.  

Responding to the challenges COVID-19 has brought, the Skills for Growth – SME Support programme looks at the effects on business change, how to adapt and focusses on health and wellbeing - helping you nurture happier, healthier and more resilient employees for the future. We’re here to help you grow your business through re-shaping, developing your talent and enhancing your team’s performance. 

 

Get in touch today to find out more. 

0161 237 4444 

enquiries@skillsforgrowthsme.co.uk 

 

The Growth Company is an award-winning, not-for-profit social enterprise with a mission to enable growth, create jobs and improve lives. We provide individuals and businesses with a wide range of services that improve employment, skills, investment and enterprise for the benefit of all, and have been working in the Greater Manchester city region for more than 30 years. 

This project receives funding from the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England.  

The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme.  

Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding. 

 

About the author

Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support

Skills for Growth - SME Support is a fully funded, tailored service to help upskills your employees and improve business productivity. We're here to help you grow your business through re-shaping, developing your talent and enhancing your team's performance.