It would be an understatement to say that the pandemic has had a severe effect on economies around the world. Experts have already declared a worldwide recession, one that might last well into the next decade. 

 

From tech industry giants to small web development agencies like ours, businesses are still trying to figure out the best way to cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic. Here are some things you need to watch out for in the post-COVID economy, and how your tech company can cope with them.

Tech working environments will never be the same

In a recent BBC article, almost all the featured experts agreed that post-COVID working environments will not look the same as they did before. People will be understandably wary about physically going to work for some time yet. In addition, many employees have found that they enjoy working from home and are more productive when they do! 

 

Many businesses are exploring “hybrid” working setups where employees work at home most of the time and go to a physical office only occasionally. These working arrangements enforce social distancing, cut costs, and give employees flexibility, all at the same time. 

How it impacts your tech company: 

Aside from the obvious effects of remote work on employees, such as loneliness and the struggle to maintain work-life balance, there are some tech industry practices that haven’t translated well to working from home. 

For example, businesses that used to thrive because of open working environments have found the transition challenging because there were fewer opportunities for quick huddles and on-the-fly meetings. This makes collaboration harder, and collaboration is the backbone of many of the strongest tech companies. 

How your tech company should deal with it

Initial problems caused by the sudden change were inevitable. Employees weren’t given much time to adjust to their new home working environments and many businesses weren’t adequately prepared for the different set of infrastructure and solutions demands that remote work posed. 

 

However, with the pandemic still ongoing and the post-COVID recession set to make remote work a long-term reality, your business should be in the market for quality collaboration and communications tools, if you haven’t acquired them already. You will also need to develop a different set of processes that will enable cooperation, flexibility, and agile working, all while maintaining the quality of output.

 

At Form Design, we’ve shifted to a remote working model and implemented conferencing and collaboration tools for better file sharing, more efficient task scheduling, and video conferencing within project teams and with clients. It was a learning curve, but the team has adjusted well and we’re as productive as ever. 

Customer service teams will bear a heavier burden

Customer service reps have been putting in a lot of hours during the crisis as a result of trying to resolve customer concerns. This is even more pronounced at tech companies, where they are expected to put out fires of various kinds and sizes, at a time when stress levels are running high. 

 

Making matters worse, many tech companies have been compelled to reduce their workforce (or will be in the next few months) due to the recession. The result? Fewer people to share the workload.

How it impacts your tech company

Too much work and too few staff can only lead to one result: burnout.

 

If your team doesn’t feel adequately supported, more people are likely to leave (leaving you with the expense and extra work of hiring replacements). Your team being spread more thinly also means your customers might not get the level of support they expect. This can lead to serious reputational damage that will undo the cost-cutting measures of reducing your team size. 

How your tech company should deal with it

It’s your job to support your staff and ensure you are not piling on more work than is reasonable. Don’t panic and preemptively cut the size of your team – it will do more harm than good. Instead, focus on taking care of both your staff and customers and ensuring everyone has the resources they need to thrive. They’ll pay you back many times over with their loyalty and hard work. 

Companies will have to contend with travel restrictions

While COVID-19 vaccines are being rolled out, many borders will remain closed for the foreseeable future. There will be fewer passenger flights available and more travel disruptions as the travel and tourism industry struggle to bounce back from the pandemic amid a recession. 

How it impacts your tech company: 

If your business relies on trade shows and convention appearances to promote its brand, it might take some time before you can return to the level of business travel that you enjoyed prior to the pandemic. Many events that were canceled in 2020 are already looking doubtful for 2021 for both health and financial reasons. 

Travel costs will also be higher as many hotels, airlines, and event venues either stay closed or scale down their operations.

In addition, if you’re striving to cut costs to deal with the reality of the post-COVID recession, business travel may have to take a backseat or be significantly pared down. 

How your tech company should deal with it

Online events, including online courses, conferences, and webinars, are replacing large in-person events as a networking and business development channel. While early online events suffered from poor planning and execution, companies are now getting better and better at using online events to reach new clients and stay connected with existing ones.

If the pandemic and ensuing recession have thrown a spanner into the works of your travel plans, don’t panic. Now is the time to invest in virtual solutions instead. 

Businesses will shift to online business development models

People are likely to travel less and stay home more for the foreseeable future, whether due to fears about the virus, saving money, or just the increased normalization of home working. As a result, businesses and providers will move more and more to online-first business development practices. 

How it impacts your tech company

Standard business development activities such as product demos, discovery meetings with clients, sales presentations, and networking are all likely to take place primarily online in the post-COVID aftermath.

This means you’ll need to remain adaptable and get creative to ensure you can keep delivering excellent service, meeting your clients’ expectations, and attracting new business. 

How your tech company should deal with it

Since you’re in the tech niche, your online presence is already likely to be strong. Even so, now is the time to ramp up your search engine optimization efforts, take your social media strategy to the next level, and get confident with selling online. 

You might need to invest time in devising processes and training your staff, and money in acquiring the necessary hardware and software infrastructure. 

What next for the post-COVID tech economy?

 

Experts think we’re only beginning to feel the long-term effects of the pandemic and ensuing recession. These challenging events are forcing tech companies to rethink the way they do business. Those that can adapt will be the ones that survive and thrive. 

In summary, my five top tips for tech companies as we move into 2021 would be:

  • Look after your team and prioritize their wellbeing
  • Implement collaboration and communication solutions to keep everyone connected
  • Assume that travel will be very limited and focus on virtual events
  • Take a digital-first approach to business development

 

With these strategies and a forward-thinking, adaptable attitude, you’ll be well-positioned to survive whatever the post-COVID world throws at you.

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