The coronavirus pandemic has not been easy on business, to put it mildly: countless firms have gone under, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, and even more difficult times lie ahead as we begin to feel the full effects of the contagion.
As things stand, it is hard to imagine cinemas, theatres and sporting venues full once again and people able to shop and travel without having to wear a mask and socially distance.
But there have been some positives. The pandemic has forced companies to look at how they operate and try new and different ways of doing things.
The most obvious example is home working. Who would have thought six months ago that so many people would have given up their daily commute and be doing their job remotely? If reports are true, it’s been a huge success and a lot of staff will choose to carry on working in the comfort of their home rather than go back to the office.
Another plus has been the realisation that meetings and training can be done virtually and that this not only saves time and money but can be more productive.
An example of this a media training session run by our team earlier this month.
Normally the training would have been done face to face at the organisation’s offices and involved travel and overnight accommodation. But as it was conducted online, neither was necessary, so the client saved money, and everyone was fresher and sharper on the day.
On top of this, because of the nature of virtual calls there was less general chat and greater focus on the agenda, so the trainers were able to cover more ground than before. As a result, the delegates went away more confident than ever in their messaging and their ability to handle difficult questions from their customers or the media.
It was actually much quicker doing it online, so there seemed to be more time for discussion and I think everyone got some really good feedback, that they all found useful.
The following day a member of our team provided virtual media training for a senior executive in South Asia. This was something we might have agonised over in the past but no longer, having trained people all over the world in recent months.
There are many stories of small and large companies ‘pivoting’ in response to Covid-19 and boosting their turnover hugely as a result. Some have been quite phenomenal. It’s heartening to see and demonstrates the importance of adopting a positive and flexible attitude – something we’ll all need in – as Boris Johnson put it – the “bumpy months ahead”.