5 significant factors that will drive your post-pandemic businesses:

  • Real estate costs
  • Home working
  • Collaboration tools
  • Supply chain disruption
  • Leadership post-pandemic
Before coronavirus, the industry moved slowly to disrupt the status quo in terms of space requirements. It seldom challenged actual utilization and alternatives to fixed cost space, such as home working, co-working spaces and flexible desk practices.

But business is now rethinking each of the 5 traditional assumptions about space: finance, corporate real estate, facilities, HR and technology.

I strongly believe the functional silos of the past will now collapse – and fresh thinking will drive a smaller, more relevant real estate footprint.

Landlords are going to face demands for shorter lease commitments, rent reductions, greater flexibility in premise use – and they will have to react to the growth of flex space, which has driven the growth of co-working space in the last decade.

Why do we need flex space?

Flex space ranges from office space that can change dynamically to suit requirements, to more creative options. It can allow you to convert fixed office space into facilities that better serve your business and the local community.

Why should your office not also provide space for a food and beverage outlet, a community wellbeing centre or even training space for companies in the neighbourhood?

So, what could the new normal look like?

‘Normal’ used to be a relatively standardised approach on many leadership fronts, from staff engagement to client and supplier communication.

The new normal will be a lot more about a personalised approach to management. For example, this will mean developing support plans for home workers that reflect their broader needs, from wellness to technology support tools.

Out of adversity comes real opportunity

While this new normal will introduce new complexity, forward thinking businesses can use the opportunity to streamline processes, reduce costs, improve customer service and attract talent.

So, what leadership traits will you need to make this new normal a reality? I can think of three:

  • Courage – for confronting new realities
  • Vision – to see how the new normal translates into opportunity
  • Empathy – to grow and develop the right team. The new “followers” will be looking for courage and trust, not the old command and control structures.

So what will be different? Just about everything.

The new business normal is an opportunity to click the reboot button – a chance to tackle so many things that were not right with the old normal.

These range from the stress of commuting, to business models based on growth and cheap money, rather than sustainability and resiliency that serves all parties sustainably and preserves the environment.

The new normal should also be about taking the actions that serve our global community, not just national or sector interests.

If this pandemic has brought the problems of the old normal clearly into focus, we will have moved forward as humanity. That is my main hope – and as the Dalai Lama so perfectly puts it:

“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest opportunity for doing good, both for oneself and others.”