Right now, a lot of people are focused on how to survive through COVID-19 and not lose their business. But thinking beyond the pandemic and preparing for life post-crisis is just as important. 

Many organizations have had to radically shift the way they do business, and the reality is that we can't just "go back to the way it was" after the pandemic is over.

To help your agency figure out a way to survive now and in the future, we’ve compiled a survival guide of 12 essential business practices to adopt post-COVID. These tips will help your agency get ready for business after coronavirus and help prepare for long-term business continuity. 

Learn to do more with less

COVID-19 has created mass shortages of everything from toilet paper to personal protective equipment (PPE). As businesses and borders have been forced to shut down, manufacturers and supply chains have struggled to keep up with demand. 

For the businesses that remain open, there’s also been a labor shortage to contend with. Many essential services are trying to keep up with unprecedented levels of demand, while also struggling against increased employee absences due to the pandemic. 

Assuming that these shortages will disappear after COVID-19 may be overly optimistic. By accepting the possibility of long-term shortages, you can prepare your business for the worst and optimize your productivity and efficiency at the same time. 

1. Hone your resource management skills 

Resource management will be key for business after coronavirus. Hoarding resources can lead to costly storage and waste issues. On the other hand, a just-in-time philosophy leaves you with little to no ability to handle sudden unpredicted spikes in demand or delays in your supply chain, as COVID-19 has shown. 

Check out our guide on planning resources for tips and tricks that will help you boost your resource management skills and increase employee adoption. 

Keep in mind when planning resources that 100% utilization is practically impossible. Even if an employee works for 8 hours a day, that doesn’t necessarily mean 8 hours of billable labor. You need to factor in breaks, meetings, administrative work, and other unbillable hours and tasks as well. 

The right resource management software can help you improve your resource planning, handle any incoming changes rapidly,  and ensure you have the resources you need when you need them. 

Case study: With Wrike, robotic system integration providers House of Design streamlined their workflows, requests, knowledge bases, and external collaborations to save about two hours per week per employee over the past three years. Off an average hourly rate per employee, they estimated this to be over $830,000 in cost savings and increased productivity.

2. Embrace automation

The reality is that resource management can only go so far when you’re faced with having to do the same level of work with fewer resources than before. 

You can use automation to complete activities that are routine, repetitive, or non-essential. By removing these tasks from your employees, you free them up to take on more valuable work, increasing their productivity and billable time

Many of your internal, non-client-related tasks have the potential to be automated. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our post on how to use automation to learn more about which tasks can be automated and how to automate them. 

Something as simple as an automated workflow can cut down on manual work, reduce the likelihood of errors and speed up work transitions all at the same time. 

Case study: Ogilvy, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, uses Wrike’s request forms and automated workflows to increase transparency and consistency while accelerating work. 

3. Improve time management

After improving your resource management and implementing automation where it makes sense, it’s time to look at time management. Helping your employees to boost their time management can increase their utilization capacity and productivity, and save money

Work time is often wasted due to unnecessary distractions such as social media or interruptions from co-workers with questions. Helping eliminate these types of time-wasters will free up your employees to log more billable hours

On other occasions, your team may be losing time due to task avoidance — i.e., avoiding unpleasant work because they don’t want to tackle it. This could be due to a lack of support, training, experience, or something else. Finding out the reason for the avoidance is often the first step to eliminating it. 

There are many ways you can help your team enhance their time management. An excellent place to start is by tracking where their time is spent in order to pinpoint areas for improvement. Read our post on-time tracking to see how it can increase your team’s productivity and profitability.

You can also consider setting up a time management calendar and incorporating some of our other time management tips to further boost your team’s efficiency and do more with less. 

Case Study: TGI Fridays improved their team’s time management through the implementation of Wrike project management software. The ability to see and track workloads and time spent on tasks allowed them to boost accountability and productivity. 

Preparing for business after COVID-19

Many predict that business after coronavirus will never be the same. 

Fortunately, the same tips that can help you implement disaster recovery will help improve the likelihood of business continuity. 

Improving your resource management, automating non-essential tasks, and helping your employees enhance their time management skills will all result in increased efficiency and productivity. Your agency will be able to do even more than before, despite potentially having fewer resources.