How Business Changed in 2020 and Will Continue to Change in 2021

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2020 brought many challenges, trials and changes to the business world. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many organizations to alter how they conducted their business operations. According to a recent survey conducted by AOE, 100 percent of participants changed their business operations or strategies in 2020 because of COVID-19 and 74 percent anticipate these changes to continue into 2021.

The survey, completed in December, was conducted online. Responses were received from the following technical industries: construction, chemical and industrial. Click here for a downloadable infographic with all survey results.

The most common change to business operations identified in the survey included arranging for some or all employees to work remotely, holding virtual meetings and events, and increasing the role of online training. Simply, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many operations online in 2020. Since many employees worked remotely, communication with employees became so much more important. In fact, approximately 45 percent of organizations reported communicating more with their employees during COVID-19 than during pre-pandemic times. Holding weekly virtual staff meetings, rotating staff coming into the office in small groups, checking in with staff members individually through regular phone calls, instant messaging, and virtual calls were ways that companies successfully kept their employees engaged. Almost half of employees who worked in an office setting prior to the pandemic have returned to the office. Most of those who have not returned to the office are planning on returning within the next year. (For tips on the Work from Home environment, visit our resources microsite)

Almost 80 percent of participants reported adopting new processes and strategies during the pandemic that have proven especially beneficial and will continue into the future. Adjusting strategic marketing plans and focusing on building relationships virtually by relying on social media, webinars and virtual meetings were changes to the marketing and sales process that are likely to continue into 2021. Along with being forced into a virtual realm, many companies had to revise product and service delivery processes while also cutting budgets. Many of these budget cuts were seen in marketing, sales, travel and training. The economy also greatly impacted businesses, forcing them to reduce hours and travel.

While 2020 is over, there are still many concerns regarding business in the new year. Although there is apprehension about the economy, companies also worry about maintaining business operations with smaller budgets, finding a qualified workforce and navigating the work from home environment.

Could your organization benefit from conducting a survey? Contact AOE today!

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