COVID-19 inevitably changed how businesses conduct their operations in 2020. While at least two coronavirus vaccinations are in the works, the pandemic will likely continue to shape how businesses function in 2021.
If you own a business, you should be ready for the following significant business trends next year:
More Working From Home
When workers went under lockdown because of COVID, businesses needed to adapt their operations to a mostly remote workforce. Now that some lessons have been learned from that transition, many companies are reviewing their whole business model.
To what extent are offices still needed? Some firms found they had a boost in productivity when their workers went off-site for months. However, working remotely didn’t work as well for others.
In 2021, companies will need to think about what their workspaces will look like in the future. Also, they should plan to provide the proper support and training for remote employees. Some ideas – provide them with excellent office equipment, cutting-edge remote worker software, mental health assistance as needed, and more so everyone is as productive as possible from their homes.
Data Will Be An Asset
Over the last several years, volumes of data have grown enormously. Businesses that used this data to understand their customers and enhance decision-making are doing better than others.
Cloud-based solutions allow companies to tap data from anywhere. Businesses need to improve how they protect and secure their data, just as they would any physical asset.
Businesses should also think about improving data literacy for workers next year to make better business decisions.
Businesses will review their processes to see where people can be removed from the process when there is no need. There have been some shifts to automation in supply chains, warehouses, trucks, ships, and autonomous vehicles.
In 2021, it’s expected that white-collar automation will accelerate as people consider what computers and robots can handle small parts of some jobs and then deliver via automated processes.
Finance Will Decentralize
COVID-19 wreaked economic and financial havoc in 2020. Capital markets are jittery. This creates challenges for companies that want to obtain capital to expand or start a new venture.
One possible solution to raise money is crowdfunding, blockchain technology, and many other decentralized finance options that don’t involve traditional banks and lenders. This will be a massive trend in 2021, and it will allow companies to access cash easier.
Companies have been racing to uncover innovative ways to deliver services to consumers who aren’t walking into retail stores. They started to think about providing some services digitally with virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality.
Some consumers used virtual avatars to ‘try’ make-up, clothes, and eyewear to comply with lockdown orders. This ‘try before you buy’ concept with virtual interfaces will change how many companies provide their services.
Innovative Business Models
Next year, business leaders will need to consider what they are offering consumers and how they work as a business. Many industries transformed in 2020, including events and hospitality industries. Companies that are booming during the pandemic are those that pivoted and changed quickly to new realities.
For instance, eateries that changed to allow more take-out options and F-1 companies that made ventilators changed their routine operations so they could survive a global pandemic.
Businesses always need to think about how markets shift, but it will be even more critical in 2021 to innovate to survive.
Remember these business trends in 2021 and be ready to adapt and change on the fly, as many companies learned to be essential in 2020.