Current situation which has been drawn by the COVID-19 outbreak makes tomorrow uncertain. In some countries, the situation is complicated, and many economists are forecasting an incoming global economic crisis or even catastrophe.
In times like this, most businesses try to prevent bankruptcy by cutting off the wages, reducing the employment and in general, trying to find savings in as many places as possible. It is a common strategy that can be compared to rationalised usage of supplies that we store in the pantry. On the other hand, the reduction of employment deepens the crisis as more and more people are unemployed, which lowers consumption.
Such an unfavourable environment can be an excellent opportunity to invest in the company. It does not have to be necessarily a financial investment. It can be additional time staff may have to work on the improvements in their workflow. It's worth considering for two reasons. The reduced employment usually means that team has to take over the responsibilities and duties which were carried out by other people. It means that they are overworked and with mixed feelings - unhappy to work more but happy to keep the job. Investing in new tools and solutions helps businesses to maintain the same level of productivity with lower employment.
A second reason for investing is simply this: if the operations are not that intense as they were before, it means that there is more time to look around and perceive the business from other perspectives. It can positively affect the whole company top to bottom.
Directors can refresh the business strategy and adjust to the changing environment and think of short term goals. Of course, crisis management will enforce them to do that, but after adoption, they still can find themselves in a less intense working schedule. Perhaps it's an excellent opportunity to look closer at the problems in their departments? Managers who are usually very busy and jumping between meetings can lower the pace so can prepare marketing strategies to reach more clients. Similar to directors, they can look at problems reported by staff and think about how to improve their results.
Daily, employees are too busy to think about what they could do differently, how they could reorganise the work, make their job easier. And what's more important, consult and discuss this with the management. In times like this, staff can spend more time on reworking processes and procedures and apply updates, test new tools. The managers usually tend to use this argument that there is too much work to try new things. Now, it's a better opportunity than ever.
Except for these two reasons, there is something more. If the business spends even little money on investing in the company or their employees during the time of crisis, it sends two messages. The first message can be received by the employees as "things aren't that bad, we are investing in improving our operations, means management knows something and everything is under control" which can work as a balm to stressed nerves of the staff. The second message can be read by the clients as "in the time like this they are investing, they must be running well". It can have a significant impact on the relationship between the company and its customers.
The investment does not have to be anything substantial. Investing in new software tools that operate in the cloud are relatively small costs. Many vendors offer monthly subscription plans which can be a game-changer. For some employees, it may be something they have been praying for months. Also, it can be a preparation to invest in something more exceptional. Business can use this time to prepare everything that is needed, so when the time comes, the crisis is over, the company is ready and in the front of the competition that hibernates during the difficult times.