Businesses worldwide have spent the entire 2020 and 2021 scrambling to the devastating impact of COVID-19. With vaccines in dispersal, there’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Many businesses have already upgraded their models while others are considering 2022 as the year of transition to bar unexpected business catastrophes and shape their future instead of surviving the present.
The next normal for businesses in 2022 is driving organizations towards accelerated digital transformation to trigger the fourth industrial revolution.
Read on to learn the trends that will define the next normal for businesses.
7 Trends Reshaping the Business World and Defining the Next Normal
We’re into 2022, and you can see how far we have come following the lockdown, restrictions, and public panic. Now, there are lines outside stores again, with social distancing measures of course. International travel is reopening, and businesses across every sector are trying to reverse the effects of the pandemic and get back on track.
The best news for businesses is that consumer confidence is slowly returning, and people are slowly regaining interest, especially in industries that were heavily affected by the pandemic. Once the pandemic is over, we will see more people in theaters, malls, and restaurants. The travel industry will experience a great increase in demand, and the demand for goods and services will continue to increase.
As a result, businesses must have a well-developed plan of how they will manage these changes, and it goes beyond having a digital strategy or investing in expensive technology. They’ll have to make several changes to cope with the new realities that emerged from the pandemic and understand the trends that are reshaping the business world and defining the next normal.
1. A Different Workforce
Before the pandemic, less than 22% of organizations offered remote working due to several reasons, such as not having the technology or fear of network security issues. The next normal for businesses will include millions of workers in different sectors not going back to the office. For some businesses, 2021 might be the end of a physical workplace as we know it.
Moreover, many companies are setting up a hybrid model and undergoing process transformation which will include new methods of training, onboarding, reskilling, and upskilling.
2. The Era of Self-Service
Industries in most sectors have had to take the digital route for business survival and adapt to the new contactless reality. To ensure long-term survival and growth, businesses must now optimize their sales funnel to ensure that customers of all ages and backgrounds can easily navigate through a website or social media business pages.
3. Automation to Become the New Operations Best Practice
Automation was already growing across several industries before COVID-19. The pandemic accelerated its growth, and now, even small brick-and-mortar stores are automating systems to manage the workload. Secondly, business technology solutions are helping industries automate administrative functions. Now, desk-based workers can easily work from remote locations with the help of cloud-based networks, backup solutions, and frictionless workflows to effectively manage routine processes.
4. Forward-Thinking Risk Management
If there’s a lesson that businesses will take with them to the next normal, it will be to never be blindsided by uncertainty again and design a framework for effective enterprise risk management. This way, they can anticipate and prepare for the next COVID-like crisis, or worse. Companies must also understand the impact of risk on their business to minimize disruptions. For instance, finding ways to remain fully operational even during lockdowns.
5. Retail Transformation
Even if the pandemic ends tomorrow, it’s unlikely that consumers will overlook the convenience of online shopping and head out to stores. Even if they do, it will only be temporary. During the pandemic, nearly 70 percent of consumers have tried different online shopping. From the first lockdown in March to July, 2020, eCommerce sales accounted for nearly 33 percent of all sales. eCommerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and others have been some of the major beneficiaries of the pandemic and will continue to benefits even when the pandemic is over.
6. Supply Chain Evolution
One of the biggest problems the pandemic presented was global supply chain disruption. With borders and factories closed, it created a domino effect that affected the entire network from manufacturers to retailers. As a consequence, businesses had to deal with delays and cancellations. The next normal for businesses will standardize data mapping techniques like process mining to improve troubleshooting and adapting operations to do so.
7. Business Travel will Grow Domestically but Decline Internationally
As mentioned earlier, the travel and tourism industry might surge in demand as millions around the world would want to meet their loved ones, go on vacations, or work travel. However, not every country is entering recovery at the same speed, thus international travel might not pick up too quickly. Secondly, many business travelers will favor traveling by train or car, depending on the location. For instance, the railroad network in Europe connects several countries so it will be a more popular option.
Local tourism will see a massive surge in the next normal for businesses as more travelers will choose to travel domestically for holidays. Businesses will also try to limit international travel to ensure safety. Lastly, the travel industry will see massive upgrades in booking and cancellation processes via different platforms. Many companies will add more support channels on their platforms and business pages to improve operational efficiency and optimize the travel experience.
The next normal for businesses in 2022 has already begun. The pandemic has made digital transformation and change management mandatory for organizations across every sector. As many companies continue to find their feet, they’re leaving behind footprints for others to follow and bring forth the next industrial revolution.
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