What must companies do now to prepare for business after the Covid-19 pandemic? Sanjeev Menon of Lenovo shares his advice.
Sanjeev Menon is vice-president of global SMB business for the intelligent devices group at Lenovo. Based in Beijing, he leads the company’s SMB business transformation initiatives.
I spoke to him about some of the measures teams will need to take for successful business continuity after Covid-19 and why multitasking will be key.
‘Being insensitive to employee concerns and new preferred work styles can have severely negative effects’
– SANJEEV MENON
What are the most important things companies need to think about now for a post-Covid world?
SMB owners will be faced with many choices as businesses reopen and shelter-in-place orders gradually lift. Considering the right tools, technology and employee assistance to generate success will all be top of mind to ensure business continuity. It’s also important for SMBs to invest in an infrastructure that is scalable for in-office and remote working.
SMBs that want to create a productive work environment will strive to replicate the specialised office set-up at home for employees, maximising productivity and service delivery. This will include PCs, monitors and software to ensure a consistent experience.
Will they need to prepare for any particular challenges?
SMBs must have access to working capital to survive an extended period of downturn. The transition to a post-Covid world may be in a series of starts and stops. Hence, customers must be ready to deal with demand variability. This means building flexibility in organisation, processes and supply chain will be key to adapt to demand changes.
SMBs need to become as digital as possible for company growth. Companies must make sure services are available online even as physical store locations begin to reopen. SMBs must be adaptable for a digital business model, which is digital collaboration, digital customer experience and digital delivery of services.
What about mistakes they should try to avoid?
Being insensitive to employee concerns and new preferred work styles can have severely negative effects.
Organisations must remember that the way we work – and, more importantly, our general way of life – has been completely altered. So, work can never fully return to ‘business as usual’.
Companies will have to take a hard look at their digital maturity. If they try to implement the same technology in the same spaces before the Covid-19 outbreak, they could lose customers and face decreases in employee productivity.
What will be the most important skills for companies to have in their workforce post-Covid?
As our world continues to navigate the implications of Covid-19, multitasking can be a useful way to assist workers in their daily jobs. Multitasking can enable SMB workers to be more focused and efficient and can ultimately save time, whether they are working from home or not.
Despite the saved time, many are losing balance when working from home because the workday feels significantly longer. With the right technology operating at the fastest speed, employees can be better at multitasking and reap the benefits of increased focus and efficiency, which in turn can restore a greater work-life balance. Employee morale can improve as a result, too.
What advice would you give to companies that want to start preparing now?
It is essential that companies that want to start preparing remember to be patient and are willing to adapt to the shifting needs of employees and customers. It’s important to understand that everyone is experiencing Covid-19 together and some people may have qualms as it relates to returning to the workspace and workforce productivity.
It is also important to reimagine business models and processes, invest in digital transformation and build or augment digital channels.
Are there any resources you’d recommend for this?
Since digital transformation is paramount to business continuity, growth and enhancing competitiveness in the new normal, I would recommend a book by Tom Siebel – Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction.
The book talks about the confluence of four game-changing technologies – cloud, big data, AI and IoT – and what businesses can do to seize them as a strategic opportunity.