Security, hybrid work to mark the post-COVID-19 world

In a world that is learning to live with the presence of a pandemic, companies must invest in three key areas to ensure their future growth: security, technology and a hybrid work environment.

This is the main finding of the recently released report by market research firm Euromonitor International “Understanding Business Trends: The Voice of Industry 2021”, which contains the results of their annual series of surveys conducted. from professionals in 15 industries around the world who focus on exploring business priorities. . Typical sample sizes in each industry range from 250 to over 1,000, and these sectors include consumer electronics, consumer health, packaged food, luxury goods, travel and tourism, sustainability, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic beverages, retail, consumer foodservice, beauty and personal care. , home care, lifestyles, digital and fabrics and hygiene.

“This year’s priorities center on two of the most important stakeholder groups for businesses looking to grow and prosper in the post-COVID era: customers and employees,” the report reads. by Lisa Holmes, Senior Global Head of Surveys.

Store experience

On the customer side, the majority of companies are reinventing their in-store experience, as more and more people are getting vaccinated and are expected to flock to stores, hence the importance of safety.

Across all regions, around 80% of businesses consider mandatory face masks to be the most prevalent in-store safety measure (over 60% for Asia-Pacific), followed by the use of hand sanitizers and restricting who can be allowed inside at any time.

The rise of e-commerce has also shown consumers that security must be combined with convenience. In Asia-Pacific, nearly 60% of respondents cited door-to-door delivery as the main feature of any business. Contactless payments were cited as the second most important aspect (40% in the Asia-Pacific region). For businesses looking to bring customers back to their stores, technology plays a vital role in building their customer relationships.

Specifically, companies around the world are focusing on those technology investments that have been accelerated by COVID-19: tailored marketing or personalized recommendations (50% of business); expansion of mobile applications and platforms (nearly 50%); development or improvement of the omnichannel presence and improvement of the navigation on the website or on the site (both to more than 40% of the activity).

Finally, no business will be able to thrive in the midst of and after a pandemic without taking care of its employees, according to the report.

Flexible working

COVID-19 has forced employers to “rethink their attitudes towards flexible working”, with remote working now the norm instead of a temporary solution. Comparing the results of Voice of the Industry surveys conducted last year, the number of professionals expecting a permanent transition to some form of homeworking increased by 20% from April to October 2020. What it means , according to the Euromonitor report, is that a change to a “mixed” approach is more likely, the configuration varying from one company to another, even if they belong to the same sector. However, some industries, due to their nature, simply cannot adopt a remote or hybrid work setup and must perform their work onsite (i.e. restaurants, hospitals, retailers, construction sites) .

Yet businesses have now become more wary of future risks due to the pandemic and continue to focus on remote working, digital adoption and communication.

“By understanding what cross-industry peers are focused on for future investments and long-term strategies, companies can stay ahead of change, seize new opportunities to improve the customer experience (whether in-store) or online) and position employees for success in a changing work environment, ”the report states. INQ

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Norma A. Roth