Four drivers to consider on the journey to the 'new normal'

11 May 2021 4 min. read

With Covid-19 impacting almost every aspect of business and life; the pandemic has sent companies of all sizes and across all sectors into a state of flux. The end-state: a ‘new-normal’ – a world with different consumer behaviours, altered priorities in the boardroom and a new design for work. 

As economies emerge from the crisis, companies are carefully planning how they should reinvent their strategies, business models, purpose, operations and people (and not to forget systems) in order to build a future-proof business. Getting there will require a range an interplay of different drivers – Fabio Pierantozzi, a Senior Manager at Eurogroup Consulting Italy, shares four factors that should in no case be overlooked. 

Reinvent the working model

Remote working is more than just working remotely. While most companies have been swift in leveraging technology to enable their employees to work from home, they have not (yet) looked at the broader picture. 

Fabio Pierantozzi, Senior Manager, Eurogroup Consulting Italy

Transitioning to effective remote working should go beyond just transposing existing processes and activities to the remote context. Instead, the whole model must be reinvented. An overarching strategy is needed, and building on that, it is necessary to review governance models, key processes, approvals, activities, collaboration and an evolution path based on digitalisation. 

It also needs a mindset shift, focused on measuring employees along objectives (clear, measurable, etc) and not merely the time they put in. That’s the real change.

Furthermore, helping employees to create a proper work environment, enabling a blend between the physical and remote through tools (like whiteboarding tools, shared agendas, web-conferencing, chats, etc.) and trainings (how to manage teams from remote, how to properly manage meetings, etc) are also critical success factors to designing the future. 

Provide the right set of tools

Technology has proven its worth more than ever during the pandemic, serving as a key enabler of remote working. The question however lies in how technology is being used as a strategic driver of the future work model.

In the future of work, technology will in the ideal setup break down barriers between geographies, and provide them means to conduct business in a way that seemed futuristic in the past. This will at the same time force leaders to redesign their technology blueprint, across levers such as security, visibility in team and individual performance, and more.

If organised effectively, technology will represent a key lever to optimise both in-person and remote collaboration. 

Optimise and refit offices

The new normal will obviously also require companies to undergo a real estate transformation. 

On top the – according to some – work life and efficiency improvements, remote working will also lead to potential savings. From our experience at Eurogroup Consulting, the expected saving will amount to anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of total expenditures, depending on the real estate strategies that companies will craft. 

Some companies will operate with few adjustments (mostly geared at refitting offices for new requirements), while others will push through a real estate overhaul including a complete revision of office portfolios, slashing significant square metres from their footprint and remodelling their entire employee experience.

Engage people

If the pandemic has taught business leaders one thing – then it is that people are essential to the resilience of an organisation. Demonstrating this, companies that enjoyed a strong human capital base before the crisis have been found to now be in a better position to navigate the change, building on a culture of engagement and social inclusion.

Emerging out of the pandemic presents an opportunity for companies to invest in enhancing their relationships with employees, putting an employee experience at the core. Companies should start by defining their ‘future of work’, and work backwards with the interests of their employees in mind as they embark on the people side of their journey to the new normal.