As enterprises around the globe attempt to resume operations in the wake of the Pandemic, many are asking us, “Will work patterns ever return to the pre-COVID models? Can we just go back to how we did things in 2019?” The short but emphatic answer is likely “NO”. First off, none of us has a crystal ball, so we don’t know if the worst is over, we are simply in a lull between outbreaks, or if this is something we will skirmish with for years. Second, many enterprises have endured the “forced experiment” of employees working remotely, daily operations shifted from physical to virtual, and physical process to digital ones. In some cases, the new ways of doing things have proven to be advantageous; these will likely persist long after the pandemic subsides or is “solved” by a vaccine or other medical solution. What are the lessons we’ve learned? How can we prepare for continuing work under COVID, or life AFTER Covid?
My colleagues Manju Bhat, Roger Williams, and Dan Wilson have recently published a presentation/planning tool titled “Prepare for the Everywhere Enterprise”. The “Everywhere Enterprise” “describes an organization that uses technology, team structures, processes, skills, and tools to empower a dispersed workforce, harness a distributed infrastructure and serve a ubiquitous customer base”
In short, the model addresses three steps to take when initially responding to changes brought about by the Pandemic;
First, it describes how to plan and enable remote ways of working, focusing not only on technology, but policies around BYOD and how surveyed enterprises expect to continue the shift to remote working after the Pandemic subsides,
Second, it highlights how to expand the remote operating model including organizational structure, skills transfer, and adaptations of processes, and
Third, it explains how to exploit the fluidity demanded by the Pandemic response, to continue and evolve what we’ve been forced to do to survive, but as a core underpinning of implementing Digital Business.
The bottom line is that many of the innovative responses we’ve seen over the past several months have not only been formed in the crucible of an emergency and accelerated into production, but represent solid improvements in business operations that should continue long after the Pandemic is brought under control.
Stay safe out there.