The novel coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for just about every type of business to deal with, regardless of industry. Fortunately, given that the problem has stretched on for several months, it seems that many organizations have adapted their operations to accommodate their current needs. However, it's important to note that with cases continuing to spike to record highs, no one is quite out of the woods yet.
That hasn't stopped companies from continually assessing their current situations and planning for what they will do to pivot into the post-COVID-19 world, according to a survey from West Monroe Partners. For instance, 55% of C-suite executives polled said their companies' workers are now primarily completing tasks remotely rather than congregating at the physical workplace. Additionally, about 1 in 4 are using PPE to overcome transmission risks when social distancing is not possible. These are trends that could continue for some time.
Yet 30% of respondents say this has created the single largest business challenge, especially in terms of organizational efficiency, they face today, the poll showed. Moreover, 40% say social distancing hampers productivity the most, just ahead of the 37% who felt work-from-home efforts are holding them back. In addition, 27% said job losses led to other workers taking on increased workloads.
Looking at the long term
With all of the above in mind, it's hardly a surprise that more than 3 out of 4 decision-makers say that COVID-19 is forcing them to reconsider medium- and long-term strategies, according to an Ernst & Young survey of 1,000 C-suite execs from companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. One of the biggest issues many companies face is that, as industries shift during and after the pandemic, emergent competitors are likely to be their biggest problem.
Already, 93% of respondents say they have been impacted by competition they did not see coming, and almost two-thirds of those that are performing well despite these issues say they foresaw such challenges before they actually arrived.
Optimism abounds anyway
Despite all these issues, it seems C-suite executives are feeling good about how well they've positioned their firms in recent months, according to a recent IndustryWeek poll. Only about 1 in 6 leaders say they expect to see sales drop in the next year, and slightly more than 1 in 5 anticipated that they would hold steady. That means more than 3 in 5 are anticipating sales growth for 2021.
At the same time, 43% of respondents said they foresaw a weak economy and reduced demand as their biggest challenge in the coming year, the report said. That placed it well ahead of the second-largest looming issue: attracting and retaining talent, cited by nearly 17% of those surveyed by IndustryWeek.
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