Businesses Have Been Forced to Adapt to Their Employees Working from Home, But Now Many of These Businesses Aren’t Ready to Meet their Customer’s Needs.

Business leaders and their employees have been affected by COVID-19 in obvious ways, like having to master remote work and navigate virtual teams. Now, several businesses across the globe have also been faced with new challenges as a symptom of social distancing mandates: supply and demand imbalances.

Supply and Demand Challenges

Pre-pandemic, your company was able to keep up with the demand of your customers. your supply chains were stable, and you matched your parts ordering and production to your level of customer demand.  Then, demand disappeared for three months, and not just for you but for everyone – the economy stopped. How do you predict when you will start receiving orders again? You don’t, because this is unprecedented.

Of course, consumers are hungry to consume, and as the local economies start opening again companies are seeing orders. In some cases, there is such an increase in demand that they were not prepared for, and do not have ample supply. Even with sophisticated demand modeling algorithms, you would not likely be ready for this surprise spike in volume, even though it makes intuitive sense. As a result of this new jump in demand, companies and suppliers simply could not keep up.

When to Have Employees Come Back to Work

Another issue that your company will have to address whether or not you are ready to have your employees return to the office. Many companies just learned that they can perform quite well without people in the office, and are salivating at the opportunity to reduce overhead by canceling lease agreements.

Still, many companies want to have their employees back, as they believe in the collaboration, camaraderie, and social aspects of being together with your team members.  For those businesses that start to invite their employees back to work, they may be surprised to learn that their team members quite like working remotely and are not anxious to come back, at least not full time.

This is not a total surprise when you look at the trend data that extends long before the pandemic – more people are working remotely and there are more virtual teams. Yes, the pandemic accelerated this and made remote working an instant phenomenon. It also accelerated our decision process as business leaders and employees about what to do going forward.

5 Tips to Help in the New Normal for Your Business

No matter what you decide, you have a new normal to contend with, as customer demand is variable and unpredictable, and you are likely to have remote working and virtual teams for quite some time. With this in mind, here are 5 tips for you.

  1. Serve your customers remotely. You have a new reality to figure out. You better have a way to offer your products and services remotely, as that is part of your new world.
  2. Embrace virtual teams and remote working. You better have a way to work with virtual teams. This is ongoing, not temporary.
  3. Help your employees to work productively. Yes, employees are more productive working remotely – data pre-pandemic suggested this too. Be grateful the pandemic enabled you to run your own experiment.
  4. Help your employees maintain their sanity. Productivity is only one variable you should care about. Peace-of-Mind matters, and members of your team are struggling.
  5. Be creative and flexible in how you work. If you can be flexible in how you do work through your day, and how you allow your team members to do work, then you can keep your sanity and help your team do the same.