2020 was an interesting year in which to run a business. Organisations had to adapt quickly to the pace of change in the wider economy. This is thanks in large part to the seismic impact of the coronavirus and the measures designed to guard against it. We found ourself relying on new technologies, and having to find new ways of doing things.
We may see even greater change in 2021. New technologies will emerge, vaccines will be rolled out, and surprises will inevitably spring up. What’s more, while many of the changes we implemented in 2020 may persist into the following year – others might equally be rolled back. Let’s take a look at what the right approach toward efficiency might be in 2021.
In 2020, many businesses were caught off-guard by the pace of change in early March. We were asked to take steps that, just a few weeks beforehand, would have seemed ludicrous. Those that were able to adapt quickly to new conditions were able to thrive; those that were sluggish tended to struggle. In 2021, it’s therefore worth keeping an open mind, and ensuring that you’re structurally nimble enough to pivot to a new way of doing things.
Ensure innovation is welcomed!
To cope with new situations, you’ll need new ideas. But if you shoot your staff down every time they suggest one, then you might find that you struggle to innovate. By providing your workforce with a means of submitting suggestions, and your management with a formal means of assessing and implementing them, you’ll keep your business forward-thinking and fresh. Innovation and technology are what will separate you from your competitors – so don’t neglect them.
Explore digital integration
Digitisation took a great leap forward in 2020, with workers and customers operating from home rather than from fixed premises. In 2021, it’s time to consolidate that change, and ensure that all of your digital systems are fully and competently integrated.
Automate when possible
Tasks which can be performed by a machine should not be left to a human being. Mundane email sequences, production lines, customer service – these are all things which can remove the burden from your human workforce, and allow them to focus on other tasks – at minimal cost.
Encourage face-to-face meetings
With so many of our workplace interactions being consigned to teleconferencing software like Zoom and to email, it’s worth appreciating the importance of a real face-to-face meeting. Remote working tends to be more efficient, as it limits travel costs. But when the circumstances allow, business should look to return to face-to-face meetings – as they allow a kind of communication which just isn’t possible via other means.