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Navigating Business Changes and Building for the Future

15 May, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, there is no denying that businesses are facing unprecedented challenges. Many small businesses have unfortunately closed their doors permanently, while others are struggling to survive. As we grapple with the economic aftermath, it is clear that the concept of “Business as Usual” no longer applies. Only the resilient and adaptable will emerge successfully from this paradigm shift.

For those who are determined to weather this storm, now is the time to restructure your business model and lay a new foundation for the future. With a significant number of employees working remotely, businesses are reevaluating their overhead costs and the size of their workforce. While recent discussions may have centered on layoffs and furloughs, it is important to shift our focus to the future and consider key factors as we move forward.

One major change that many businesses will face is the need to rethink office space requirements. With an average reduction in staff of around 50%, empty office spaces have become a common sight. The instinct may be to hold onto these spaces in anticipation of employees returning, but the reality is that a significant portion of this unused space may remain unoccupied.

Financial experts are predicting another real estate crash in the near future, with commercial properties and office spaces being heavily impacted. Many businesses will opt to relinquish their current space or downsize to more compact offices. Large conference rooms, once a status symbol, are losing their relevance as virtual meetings via platforms like Zoom, Skype, and Teams become the norm. The options for conducting business have expanded, presenting an opportunity to operate leaner and more efficiently.

With fewer employees physically present in the office, the excess space becomes unnecessary. Even for those employees who split their time between working remotely and coming into the office, schedules can be staggered, and multiple employees can share workspaces. Businesses are discovering that maintaining operations without everyone in a centralized location is not only feasible but becoming the new norm.

Additionally, this period offers a chance to evaluate your employees. Now is the time to identify your top performers, as not everyone may thrive in a remote work environment. It may be necessary to make difficult decisions regarding workforce size, but the current circumstances have created a pool of highly qualified individuals seeking employment. As business owners, it is our responsibility to prioritize what is best for our companies.

Jason Rivas, an experienced human resources professional, emphasizes the importance of assessing employees during these challenging times. While some may view it as favoritism, identifying A-players is about recognizing top-performing team members rather than playing favorites. Similar to a baseball team, you have your first-string players leading the game, with others filling supporting roles. It is crucial to make strategic judgments and keep your A-players on the field to ensure the survival and success of your business.

As business leaders, we did not anticipate or ask for this crisis, but it is our duty to take decisive actions that shape our future. Life as we knew it has forever changed, and business will never be the same. However, this does not mean we cannot emerge stronger and better than before. Take action now to assess office space needs, determine the viability of remote work, and surround yourself with the most talented employees available.

By taking these proactive steps, you will position yourself ahead of the competition when we emerge from these challenging times. There is no denying that the landscape has transformed, but with strategic decisions and a resilient mindset, success is within reach.

15 May, 2020