All around us COVID-19 is proving that traditional businesses are ready to begin permanently digitising

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Hard times are ahead and no amount of staying the course and flattening the curve can change what the future holds for our business sectors throughout the world. We’re in uncharted waters and what comes next is something that can only be left to the most cautious of speculation as we begin to rebuild from this crisis.

To say that jobs have been impacted globally would be perhaps an understatement so large that it rivals the size of the epidemic. Jobs have been lost and more jobs will be lost, that much is clear. But for those still working it’s also a tenuous time. Finding the right balance between business as usual and augmenting the way they go about operating, only with stakes set much higher than usual by current circumstances.

But there is some positive progress that’s come out of these troubling times.

Throughout COVID-19 we’ve proven one thing unequivocally both as people and as a global business community.

We’re just as adaptable as our ancestors once were, just in a different way.

Think about how quickly we acclimatised ourselves to working, communicating and thriving entirely via digital means under strict lockdown laws.

We took our business operations online in record time, with some organisations (admittedly those who had already begun to invest in remote infrastructure for other means) up and running at near full capacity mere weeks after the lockdowns were announced.

We’ve shown ourselves and each other that we’re all capable of learning, teaching, brokering deals and operating in very strange circumstances and this is without a doubt a positive thing for everyone.

Because these skills will be vital in the future, not just for the next crisis, but every single day.

What we’re experiencing right now is the digital convergence that many academics theorised would be arriving in a couple of decades, only it’s here a lot earlier than expected. Fast-tracked by a crisis we never saw coming, but regardless a catalyst for a mass shift to the digital-based running of businesses.

But as lockdown laws begin to ease and governments begin to let the reigns back to people to decide how they go about their everyday lives, one elephant-sized question sits squarely in the middle of the room.

Why are we so intent on ‘returning to normal’ and piling back into the office?

It should be noted early that at no point in the near future should physical business operations be entirely supplanted by digital options, as this would no doubt be too large of a shakeup too quickly.

However, we’ve proven that we CAN communicate, build professional relationships and run businesses with digital interfacing methods, so why are we so keen to leave this behind.

It may just be the fact we were forced into these operations that is now the reason why we feel the need to return to normal, as change is something that nobody wants pushed on them suddenly.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t have it both ways and begin to take what works better into a permanently digital space.

Team collaboration is something that many businesses have found can work so much better with digital interfacing. Rather than stacking into a boardroom, team members simply dial into Zoom or Teams and the meeting commences no matter where people are at the time.

Courting prospective clients and customers, as well as quoting for work has been completely revolutionised now that professionals have the skills and digital infrastructure necessary to engage with and win buyers from anywhere across the globe.

Even IT and other forms of system management can be run from anywhere with the proper infrastructure (something that IT specialists have been insisting is the future long before now no doubt), allowing for flexibility of employees no longer so tightly bound by the necessity of geographical proximity.

Not to mention that an increased uptake in digital operations will inevitably lead to a more skilled and effective workforce.

The writing is on the wall when it comes to the ever-increasing demand for technologically skilled workers in any industry. By digitising certain operations that are best suited to remote running, a company will naturally attract better-suited candidates for roles and help organisations grow in both skill and adaptability as a result.

Something that, should we ever face another global pandemic or crisis of similar magnitude again, will no doubt make the process of meeting change head-on even easier than it has been so far.

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Mindhive | ex — Eidos, Boilerhouse, Basement, Margaret Marr | Speaker, Author | Bringing the shared economy to problem-solving #collectiveintelligence

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