Companies preparing for a different post-corona world

13 May 2020 3 min. read
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As the world emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, it is likely that the ‘new world’ will be a different place. According to a survey from Eden McCallum, organisations are lining up to adopt a number of permanent changes in the way they operate and their workforce policies. 

The management consulting firm surveyed over 250 executives en professionals during April, and found that unsurprisingly, companies are taking a range of drastic, but much-needed cost reduction and cash preservation actions to curb their costs amid the fallout of demand due to the covid-19-induced crisis.

Over 85% of the companies surveyed said that they expect revenue to drop in 2020, with over 30% predicting a revenue slide of over 30%. In response, financially hit companies are among others slashing non-people costs, freezing recruitment, deferring or reducing capital expenditures, reducing the use of contractors and putting staff on furlough.

Planning assumption: when will business return to ‘normal’?

While most of the attention is going to the short term, strategists are in the background busy preparing for the future. And this future is likely to feature some major differences compared to the pre-corona era, according to the Eden McCallum survey.

Covid-19 is expected to permanently accelerated the pace of decision-making and change for the majority of businesses, with 65% expecting to implement change faster and 60% expecting to make decisions faster on an ongoing basis. 

Similarly, having passed the coronavirus test – information network and communication technologies have been the lifeline for doing business amid lockdown and remote working restrictions – digital transformation will accelerate. 71% of the respondents have earmarked quicker digital transformation as a permanent change, and a further 19% is contemplating on the thought. Meanwhile, nearly half of the respondents are seeking to increase automation.

‘New normal’: Permanent changes as a result of Covid-19 learnings

The top cited permanent change is the greater use of remote working. Working remotely during the coronavirus crisis has quickly become the new norm, even in typically office-bound industries such as financial services and oil & gas. 

At the same time, this will mean that employers will be expected to have a role in supporting employees to ensure their home working environment meets health and safety requirements, as well as allowing for more flexibility to cater for other home-related needs. 

Once economic activity is less constrained, the top concerns for leaders are lower levels of customer demand (67%), employee safety (65%) and changing consumer patterns / preferences (50%). Supply chain disruption is a particular concern for companies in the consumer goods, retail and manufacturing sectors.