How do you prepare for a "New Normal" when you can't even define what it is?

Everywhere you look, people are talking about a “new normal”. The hope is that the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic will herald a new era of cooperation and acceptance across all walks of life. We have all been in this together, we’ll get through it together and frankly, the idea of collaborating on a common goal will hopefully become commonplace.

When we went into lockdown, it felt like the world became more patient. Remote working was unusual for many businesses as they relied on face-to-face contact and processes, but getting irritated about this fact was not going to solve anything, so we saw people learn to deal with things in a new way.

To an extent, this patience still seems present, but as we talk about going back to work, whether that is socially distant in the same building or otherwise, the honeymoon period of patience will not last forever.

Anyone who knows me will recognise that I love a cliché as much as the next man, but in construction projects, time really is money. The longer spent in design, the more expensive it becomes for the consultant to deliver the scheme. These costs will need to go somewhere; either project fees will need to go up (which is highly unlikely) or staff wages will need to come down (and no one wants that). At this point, the only real option is to take a different path all together.

Because of COVID-19, the UK has taken on almost £300 billion in extra debt which will need to be addressed through a combination of higher taxes, greater revenues or increased capacity. The chancellor has signalled that tax increases are coming but if, as individual businesses, we can justify an increase in fees and increase the production capacity of existing staff, so much the better.

"New normal" is likely to be found in the eye of the beholder. I believe that a "new normal" will vary from business to business, but there are likely to be two core principles that organisations need to consider:

  • Staff will begin to expect more flexible working conditions
  • Businesses will need to be able to transact their processes more efficiently without relying on face-to-face contact

Historically, talented staff will look to work for firms with the best reputation in their chosen field, but there is likely to be a ground swell of employees who are looking for fully flexible working conditions that support their home commitments or other lifestyle choices.

In conclusion, it’s unlikely that "new normal" will be a one size fits all thing, but tailored for what is right for you, your employees and your clients.

If you would like some impartial advice on what this might look like for your organisation, please do get in touch. You can also read our other blog posts on how to prepare for a "new normal" here.

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