Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


In 2020, we witnessed the immense power of a microscopic virus that can’t survive on its own. The pandemic brought unprecedented misery, but it also pointed at our flaws and gave the human civilization a chance to start afresh. Businesses are leading the reboot wave and seizing this once in a lifetime opportunity to re-design business models with their own rulebooks for the long-term.

As businesses restart and plan their recovery, uncertainty has emerged as the only certainty, especially now, when a second more deadly second strain of the virus has appeared in the UK. According to EY, as the pandemic impacts persist consistently globally, a “saw-toothed recovery” is expected, which will give rise to new challenges for businesses. It is essential for businesses to imbibe flexibility in their business models to amplify their resilience. Here are 8 insights from EY to help businesses plan their business recovery in 2021:

  1. Reimagine and transform

The world has come to terms with Covid-19 and businesses have accepted that they have to reimagine their business models to be able to operate in the “new normal”. Businesses thus, need to transform quickly and transition seamlessly to the new ways of working by adopting the required practices – like remote working, employing automation and AI and ensuring adequate safety and hygiene on premise.

  1. Address customer anxiety

The pandemic has radically changed consumer behavior and buying patterns, many of which are expected to be permanent. For instance, 44% global consumers said they are likely to shop for grocery online as an aftereffect of the pandemic. Businesses must decode the changed realities of their customers and adapt accordingly.

  1. Maximize the potential of your workforce

Taking care of the wellbeing of your employees is now a business imperative. Rebuilding a fresh business model would require engaging with your employees, comprehending their needs and responding to meet their expectations. It would also ordain the ability to match the capability of your workforce to financial and other risk considerations.

  1. Keep an eye on the legal issues

Even with the vaccine in sight, the Covid-19 crisis is far from over. The economic downturn forced many businesses to take drastic steps and the trend might continue in 2021 as well. Businesses must keep an eye on potential legal risks and store crucial data that might be required to tackle legal battles that can ensue in near future.

  1. Learn from others who are ahead

The pandemic has reaffirmed the connectedness of the world. Businesses must keep a watchful eye on global businesses, especially the ones who have reopened a few months or weeks earlier, no matter their location. It can teach key lessons like assessing supply chains and prepare for possible virus spikes in the future.

  1. Enhance resilience and adapt new operations

The pandemic poses as many challenges as it brings new opportunities. A jarred economic recovery warrants significant changes in the operating model. Businesses today, have a chance to shift from a growth economy to a value-based economy. They must prioritize long-term value and resilience over short-term growth. Flexibility is no longer a business advantage but a crucial element to survive.

  1. Improve forecasting and scenario planning capabilities

Companies must take steps to strengthen their forecasting capabilities and enhance their scenario planning strategizing if they want to make smart financial decisions that are extremely crucial for business success in the post-Covid world.

  1. Identify apt divestments

During the 2008-09 economic recession, firms that were proactive about strategically divesting parts of their portfolio performed better than their peers. The same might be effective in the aftermath of the pandemic. 64% APAC firms that were part of a survey conducted by EY agreed that they might need to divest in order to reduce debt. Businesses must thoroughly review their portfolio and be ready with a divestment strategy.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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