History tells us that even after a significant time of disruption, as a human race we tend to very quickly go back to normal. Lockdown has gone on so long though that there’s a good chance some new business habits will stick.
Research says that it takes 66 days to form a new habit.
We’re way over that now. Now, I genuinely think that people won’t necessarily revert back to how things were before. So, what does this mean for UK businesses?
Here are four of the biggest lessons learned from Covid-19:
1: Ripping the plaster off
As one of my clients said to her team:
“If you’re travelling longer than your meeting is, you’re not travelling – you’re doing it on Zoom.”
Before the pandemic, she had instances where employees were getting a three-hour train to London to have a half-an-hour meeting, and jumping back. When you add up the travel cost, expenses and time away from the office it just doesn’t make sense. This won’t happen anymore. They’ve ripped the plaster off when it comes to meeting online.
2: Re-thinking old assumptions
Another example is a client that assumed that his clients wanted to see him in the flesh. After having regular Zoom meetings over the past few months, and then offering to meet in person once restrictions were lifted, his client said: “no, I’d like to keep doing it this way – we should have been doing this all along!” Do your clients need to see you in person or is this just an old mindset? Maybe they’d prefer to do a 20-minute Zoom catch up and then get on with their day.
3: Savings you wouldn’t believe
The biggest surprise – and a silver lining for many UK businesses – has been the cost saved on expenses. Whilst there will always be huge value in meeting face-to-face to strengthen client relations, the benefits of meeting up less often are hard to ignore. One client in the financial sector has reported that in employee expenses alone (such as entertaining, client lunches and drinks) they’ve saved £250,000. Again, clients have been more than happy having Zoom meetings – so they certainly won’t go back to the old way of doing things and their business will be stronger and more profitable as a result.
4: Joined-up thinking is better for everyone
Online meetings have delivered another great benefit – it’s easier and cheaper to get all the right people ‘in the room’. Take one product design client who told me that in the past, the sales process would have taken place separately to the design process. Not only was this costly in terms of travel and time away from the office, but sometimes led to confusion with key decisions and client requests. In the online meeting space, everyone is present at the same time which offers a joined-up approach and ultimately a better experience for the client.
Are the revelations here to stay?
It appears that new habits have been formed. A lot of businesses don’t want to go back. Why? Because work/life balance is so much better. No travelling time means you can drop the kids off at school and be back at your desk at home in five minutes. The positive impact on the environment too is also a massive bonus.
What nuggets of wisdom have you gained?
As you digest the challenges of the last few months, I’d love to know what you’ve learned as a business owner. Join the conversation on Linkedin and share your insight.