After COVID-19 Comes the “New Normal”

Our primary concern in these difficult times must always be the health and wellbeing of our families, friends and colleagues. We must all be saddened on a daily basis as we hear of the incomprehensible loss of life and the impact that every one of those losses has on those remaining whose lives they have touched.

We find the postulation of how and when this will come to an end most confusing largely because of the conflicting evidence seen from many sources. People speculate about ‘the exit plan’ and a phrase often used in conjunction with exiting is “The New Norm”.

Again, we are not sure what that means but a few things are becoming clearer:

The “New Normal” will clearly mean different things to individual businesses and at different resumption rates. In the Financial Services Sector, the Herculean task of preparing businesses for effective lockdown has shown what a remarkably resilient community we are when required to adapt our working framework. We saw it in 2008 as the global crisis hit; the changes required in relation to RDR and pensions liberalisation relatively quickly became the new order of doing business. This is, however, a very different set of circumstances imposed upon us by the often referred to invisible enemy.

It appears that many people prescribe to the view that thinking has moved on from DR and BCP to business planning, budgeting and future business shapes. It seems hard to envisage that we will not have learned lessons from this experience, and it is hard to contemplate our ways of working being exactly those which we left as we moved into lockdown.

Home working may not become the “New Normal” but it is hard to see why it will not become a more prominent feature of the way we work. Expensive rental space in large cities may play a lesser role in our corporate planning. The speed at which people will again want to get on crowded modes of transport will be a slower than anticipated process.

The budgetary impact on many businesses may be felt for some time to come as they readjust to the inherited impact of Covid-19. Discretionary spend allocation may be lower and targeted in different areas. Another thing fast becoming evident is that the pace at which things get done remotely is often accelerated, which may cause one to examine the internal committee structures that exist in larger enterprises. There will be no substitute for good governance but for sure, that governance model will evolve.

In previous blogs TORI colleagues have talked about businesses that have seen an uptick in the requirement for services. We can see this being the case for business consultancy services specialising in the type of capabilities that are currently being considered in many boardrooms. In TORI we have specialist practices and practitioners who deal with strategy, process optimisation and operational efficiency which will definitely rate highly amongst the key business considerations as every business is actively planning for the “New Norm”.