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The covid-19 pandemic has caused economic uncertainty on an unprecedented scale. Restrictions, lockdowns and rapidly changing circumstances have thrown many businesses into turmoil over the past two years. It can be incredibly difficult to know what the best move for your business is, yet preparation is the key to survival and growth.

Let’s take a look at how small business owners can stay agile and weather unpredictable futures as the world struggles with and recovers from covid-19.

1) Flexible Workplace Plans

In March 2020, millions of employees across the world suddenly found themselves working remotely. The UK Office for National Statistics states that 46.6% of people in employment were working from home in April 2020, 86% of whom were doing so as a result of the pandemic.

There are many arguments for remote work, including increased productivity and employee satisfaction. However, there are undeniable benefits to working in-office, too, including easier collaboration and increased innovation.

It seems employees themselves are divided. The BBC reported that, according to a US poll, 44% of employees working remotely wanted to continue in the same fashion, whilst 39% were keen to return to the office. The remaining 17% wanted to keep working remotely for the time being due to concerns about the spread of covid-19.

In a post-pandemic world, a flexible workplace seems to be the option that makes the most sense for many businesses. Not only does it offer employees the best of both worlds, it can save significant money for your business.

Flexible working also permits you to rent a smaller office and save significant money on utilities. Furthermore, it means that you won’t have to worry about relocating to a bigger premises as your business grows.

Businesses with few team members and those still in the startup phase may be able to avoid renting a premises altogether. Co-working spaces are growing in popularity and they offer businesses the opportunity to rent offices and meeting rooms as and when they need them, rather than being tied into a long-term contract. This is an ideal way for businesses to weather the storm of uncertainty.

2) Cloud Based Solutions

When faced with uncertainty, businesses should seek cloud based alternatives to on-premises technology solutions. This is not only useful in terms of remote working, but also because cloud-based solutions are often available on a subscription basis and do not require a large upfront cost or frequent upgrades. Best of all, you can scale your subscription up or down as your business for ultimate flexibility.

3) Automation

Small businesses struggling to stay afloat or plan for the future should automate as many tasks as possible. First of all, automation is a huge timer-saver that can really increase productivity rates, as it frees up your staff to focus on more important functions. This is hugely beneficial because it allows you to do more without hiring legions of employees during a period of economic uncertainty.

4) Prepare for the Worst

No-one likes thinking about the worst, but it’s important to prepare some worst case scenario numbers so that you can create a plan to save your business should that happen. Scenario planning allows you not only to prepare for the worst but to give you the confidence you need in order to work through it.

Summary

Times may be uncertain right now but by preparing your business and increasing your organisational agility, you can put yourself in the best possible position to weather any storm that may come your way. It’s important to seek flexibility wherever possible and use automation to maximise efficiency. The ability to quickly pivot has proven invaluable during the pandemic and it will undoubtedly continue to do so as the world recovers.