Businesses that strike the right balance in protecting and running their operation today with retooling output for tomorrow will outrun extinction and thrive during and after the pandemic.
Most of the time, the future arrives gently. Despite the high speed of technology change, we absorb, the changes effect into our daily lives far more slowly. Faced with the option of retiring familiar old ways of working in favour of more streamlined, emergent alternatives, the response is usually, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ Change gets deferred — until one day something happens and suddenly everything that was familiar is broken. At a stroke, all those fixes that have been waiting on the sidelines get fast-tracked to the mainstream.
We are in one of those exceptional moments. Of course, we still hope for everything to get back to normal as soon as possible. We especially want to put all the anxiety, fear, suffering and tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. That day will come, but the world afterwards will not be the same as before. In adjusting to the new abnormal we are learning new habits and skills that we won’t want to unlearn.
Here are four of the big changes coming in business as the pandemic sweeps in new ways of digitally connected working that we already knew made sense, but which we now have no choice but to adopt.
1. Remote digital teamwork becomes the norm
People have been working remotely — or as we are now calling it, working from home — for many years which in return emerged new ideas and also gave young entrepreneurs a platform to explore various sectors of industries. This new trend of enterprises and sectors remotely introducing their ideas in the market has exponentially increased the economy and given an ease to a day to day living.Web conferencing got started before the turn of the century. Email and remote access over VPN dates back even further. Over the past two decades, the broadband infrastructure has progressed enormously, while the tools have become far more sophisticated. Just when we need it, we have the resources at our disposal to weave a collaborative canvas to connect digital teamwork across the enterprise, even when many participants are physically isolated.
Yet remote working has always seemed a second-best choice in organizations where most work is cantered on the office, while working from home is often seen as ‘slacking off’. It’s only now that almost everyone is forced to work from home that the tables have turned. Suddenly, working from home is the mainstream choice and we are all learning the etiquette of video team calls, how to keep our work in sync with other members of a distributed team, and how to balance work deadlines with domestic demands. According to Forbes, study after study after study demonstrate that remote workers are more productive, satisfied, and engaged than their office-bound colleagues. Recent surveys of 8,000 workers by McKinsey’s Global Institute and 3,500 remote workers by Buffer find that those workers, freed from the constraints of office life, report higher levels of satisfaction and greater productivity. On contrast, according to AT&T, productivity for jobs that were designed to work from home yet never fully exploited this hidden opportunity shot up by 94% of productivity rate where 97% of their supervisors agree.
2. Conferences go virtual
People have been trying to run virtual conferences since the mid-2000s, but it never truly caught on at the magnitude we witness today. This was largely due to no real tangible incentive to invest in a virtual alternative, whereas everyone was still willing to endure the huge cost and travel disruption of the traditional trade show or vendor conference. Suddenly virtual events are all the rage because travel and large gatherings have been abruptly vetoed. Every event planned since early March 2020 has either been put off or else switched to online — with varying degrees of success.
3. Education goes on-demand
Just as the move to remote working was held back by existing structures and habits that have suddenly and forcibly been abandoned, so too with the transformation of the education sector. Despite the rise of massively open online course, providers are growing their number of online courses offered by academic institutions along with a virtual growth on industry-specific online training platforms.
Once working from home becomes mainstream, won’t it become just as natural to study from home? Although this is a change that will likely take longer than some others, the demand for change will become overwhelming. Already, schools and colleges that have closed for the pandemic are turning to online classes so that they can continue teaching. When they finally reopen, they may discover that online interaction has become fundamental to their continued existence.
4. The rise of Digital Payments to go cashless
Digital payments, once born out of convenience, have become a necessity for some. Yes, there might still be a number of people who hoard cash – as is often the case in times of crisis – but others will cease to see the point if they are not able to use physical money to buy essential goods and services. Luckily, we live in a time where much of the infrastructure required to complete an online purchase is already in place. This may not have been possible even ten years ago.
There are plenty of benefits to going cashless: digital payments are convenient and – in current circumstances – are increasingly necessary. More importantly, however, they are a lot cheaper to process than their cash equivalents. Take one example: As per the annual reports of Reserve Bank of India, in India, 1.7% of GDP – or $210 billion – is spent on printing, storing, and distributing cash. If all payments were digital, the cost would be a fraction of this. On contrary, as per the European Central Bank, euro area consumers made 163 billion payments by means of cash, payment cards or other payment instruments, amounting to more than €2,968 billion of which 129 billion Transactions were done in cash amounting to €1653 billion.
How are Retailer Benefiting through Digital Payments?
*Source – www.pwc.com
Through digital connection, real-time analysis and dynamic teamwork will further befocused on understanding what the customer wants to achieve:
- TO ENGAGE — Know what success means for your customers.
- TO MONITOR — Measure whether they are experiencing success.
- TO IMPROVE — Find ways your business, product or service can help them be even more successful.
This is a huge switch from the old disconnected product sales model, and one where customer service becomes a crucial part of maintaining and developing the customer relationship
In the beginning, the technology lacked maturity, then even when the technology improved, the time was never right, and when the time had finally come, the business case was never compelling.
But now the business case has arrived, demanding immediate action. The world has changed in a few short weeks and, however much we may yearn for a return to what we knew as normality, all of these fringe ways of working — remote working, virtual gatherings, on-demand education, Digital Payments and engaging with customer success — have now become the new mainstream.
Apco Pay understands the value of your time and would like to assist you with an end-to-end payment acceptance tool inclusive of a merchant account and gateway technology to accept credit cards. All this at extremely competitive rates and automated self-service onboarding, getting you processing within the day.
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Drop us a quick line – firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to explain how we can be of benefit to you and your customers.