Three steps to enhance productiveness through the pandemic

Originally written by anthonyimpey about Small Business

After the toughest year in living memory for business leaders across the country, it was great to hear the news of successful vaccine trials. However, it may take some time for UK businesses to return to what feels like normal. The latest productivity figures, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that output of every UK worker has increased since the pandemic began but is still below pre-crisis levels.

While the past nine months may have felt like a near-impossible task, leaders can improve the performance of their teams – and therefore overall productivity – during a pandemic. The price is more profit and a more resilient business.

The pandemic has been a huge trend accelerator – with perhaps the most seismic shift towards online, both by consumers and businesses. Business leaders were faced with new management challenges every day. The need for faster decision-making and the longer time spent working remotely have forced many executives to adopt new processes and new technologies quickly.

“The initial lockdown resulted in three years of innovation in the first three months of the pandemic.”

The pace and extent at which business leaders were able to react, spin operating models and find new sources of income was immense. Our research shows that the initial lockdown in the first three months of the pandemic resulted in three years of innovation. Over half a million companies have changed the way they work.

Companies of all sizes have been forced to adopt technology quickly. This goes beyond the “zoom boom” and includes tools for virtual collaboration and the move to the cloud. As a result, two-fifths of companies say that their employees are more familiar with the technology.

The Top Technologies Companies Have Adopted or Considering (May – October 2020)

As we look to 2021 and the news about potential vaccines picks up pace, executives need to think about how to ensure their company is in the strongest position to take advantage of the opportunities ahead.

This might feel impossible right now. None of us know exactly what the future holds. The only thing that is certain is that we will continue to be confronted with uncertainties for the foreseeable future. But it would be a mistake to believe that you cannot take action today. You may not know exactly what to do next week or next year, but you can start three things tomorrow to prepare your business for whatever is around the corner.

# 1 – Make sure you have the right technology

Bringing in new technology can feel like a daunting prospect, but half a million companies have shown it can be done even in tough times. New research by Lloyds Banking Group and Be the Business found that over 1.5 million businesses ventured online for the first time in the past nine months. With the introduction of new technologies, costs can be controlled, resources can be managed and new sources of income can be created. In practice, this means higher sales and profits and ultimately strengthens the company. There are many helpful resources available for businesses looking to take the first step, starting with Be the Business Digital.

# 2 – train your managers (and yourself)

According to the CMI, four out of five UK bosses are “random managers” with little or no management training. Formal training can really help, but there are other effective ways to improve your leadership skills. Turn to mentoring programs and peer learning groups, where business owners and managers can access support from other business leaders, as well as a range of information, tools, and reviews. I know from my own experience what impact this can have on running a small business.

High-performing companies have strong networks and keep a close eye on what others are doing. If there is an important decision you have to make, it is best to reach out to those around you who may have had a similar experience. Reviewing your own performance and monitoring the performance of your coworkers are two things that can help build a stable business, especially at a time when changes are so sudden. These processes can help managers and business owners make small but highly effective changes.

# 3 – Take a step back to think strategically

Running a business can cost everything. Business leaders are so invested in day-to-day processes and decisions that it can be difficult to find time to implement larger ideas. This can become counterproductive if you don’t empower yourself to find new opportunities instead of just responding to external pressure and a never-ending to-do list. Focusing on building the right processes and delegating them to trusted people can help you take a step back and think more strategically. This has the potential to be the most transformative thing you do for your business.

Executives who take these three key steps will be in a much stronger position to succeed and respond to a rapidly changing environment. While this has happened in completely unexpected, destructive, and tragic ways, we must seize the opportunity to build a stronger economy that will better serve our companies, our employees, and our customers.

Anthony Impey is the CEO of Be the Business

3 steps to improve productivity during the pandemic

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