Over the last few weeks we have been forced to change the way that we work, but will this lead to a permanent change in business culture and processes?
Many organisations have adopted technologies they thought only existed in Star Trek (am I giving away my age?). Suddenly, businesses of all shapes and sizes are using technology they never thought was necessary.
If you want to measure the speed of change, just look at how quickly we have forgotten about poor old Skype and now everything is Zoom, Zoom, Zoom (Other tools are available).
With the increasing adoption of products such as Microsoft Teams, it’s hard to imagine ever making a normal phone call again.
But there is a danger we will become focused on the technology.
For me the really interesting change will not be the technology, but the change in business culture and processes and how we map technology onto these changes
Covid-19 has quickened the pace of change. But for me it is raising more fundamental and much more interesting questions.
What sort of business culture and processes does the owner want?
In any organisation, the owner or senior management will become separated from the day to day running of the organisation.
They will see reports that tell them the organisation is successful and achieving results, but they are not necessarily across the detail of how this happens.
The swan is gliding across the pond, but the legs are going like a train.
Thanks to Covid-19, lots have managers have had to return to the shop floor.
They are back in the day to day running of the organisation.
They might be putting boxes on vans or doing basic administrative tasks they haven’t done for years.
I suspect these managers are discovering issues around their business they didn’t know existed and they don’t like what they are seeing.
No one was doing anything wrong, They were simply using the tools and processes they were given.
They were chasing the targets they were set.
And now management is asking, why?
Why do we process an order in that way, or why do we even chase this type of business?
Management also recognise that this is a great opportunity to make fundamental change.
Most people don’t like change, There is always an argument for the status quo. But under the current circumstances we have accepted there is no choice but to change.
I suspect that many of the businesses that survive Covid-19, will look quite different from when it started
What kind of software will we use to support the process change?
The type of software we are using will undoubtedly change.
Most organisations are now using some type of video conferencing software. But what about their major systems? Their operational systems. What will happen to them?
Change won’t be immediate, but as companies review and consider updates to their current systems, their experience of Covid-19 will undoubtedly play a part.
They will remember the difficulty they had in operating their systems from remote locations. As a result, when they draw up a list of possible solutions, Cloud / Internet based systems will receive much more serious consideration.
Small businesses have an incredible range of Cloud based systems to choose from.
But do we have an adequate selection of products for medium and larger sized organisations?
Do these products have the depth and breadth of functionality that is needed?
Where are we going to work?
There is no question that change in working practice is coming Many people now realise just how much time they waste every day driving to and from work.
Who would not want to finish work at 5:30 and simply step out into their garden on a beautiful summers evening?
But that argument ignores the fact that we are basically social creatures and that going to work provides more than a salary. For some it provides a relief valve from home life and for some it is an important source of social contact.
Employers also recognise there is value in having people together in the same space. Something happens in an office environment.
A spontaneity that drives change and decision making that does not happen easily in the silo of a chat. Sooner or later employers will remember they own buildings and will want to put them back to work.
Even the cool kids of Silicon Valley are still building offices. The day of the ‘cubicle worker’ is far from over.
What do you think? Are we going to see significant change in business culture and processes?