CHANGE – an act or process through which something becomes different.
Sometimes it feels like the only topic of conversation these days is centred around COVID-19/Coronavirus. Unfortunately though, as we all know it’s a difficult one to avoid and with this week seeing the last remaining pupils entering back in through the school gates, the debate goes on!
Whilst its great to witness a new sense of “normality” for our young folk – be it inclusive of temperature checks, masks & bubbles seemingly floating everywhere, we are experiencing a slightly different normal in our business sector.
It goes without saying that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on our society and economy, & as the initial shock is beginning to wear off, it is evident that a lot of thought has been given to the style of economy in which we hope to re-emerge. The much talked of “V-Shape” recovery (a steep decline followed by a sharp recovery) hasn’t quite been the case, despite queues at shops suggesting that consumers are keen to spend after months of being kept indoors. Upon entering Lockdown, the Government had hoped for an almost deep freeze effect where businesses would simply pick up where they left off after the economical thaw, however things have changed after the past 6 months & more changes are emerging.
Both behaviours & practices have changed and businesses are experiencing this when it comes to serious issues like property, travel, communication and training. Online platforms like ZOOM, MS Teams and Facetime have proven that people don’t need to travel all over the Country (or indeed World) for meetings & conventions. Customers can be dealt with via email or phonecall & sales executives can still sell from their kitchen table.
The necessity for online retail giants like Currys/PC World and IKEA to be able to produce large amounts of laptops, printers & home office equipment shows the volume of people who are continuing their roles very seriously – but from home. Industry experts are already suggesting that our Cities could see huge changes in property & buildings and a glut of empty offices in future as companies downsize their need for space as the work from home habit takes root. Soon plans for new houses will emerge from architects offices with rooms labelled “Office” being just as important as the kitchen or bedroom!
Here in Northern Ireland the Executive has been urged to work towards helping businesses bring back the safe return of office staff after a survey by Belfast Chamber reported that just 5% of office workers in the city centre are now back at their desks. But what if we can never get back to the way things were Pre-Covid? What then?
At Dungannon Enterprise Centre we have noted a trend in recent months suggesting that the pandemic is also responsible for a surge in innovation & a desire for change and are doing our best to provide for this. Our Business Development Team are talking to individuals daily who want help and advice for some of their ideas & inventions. Our Exploring Enterprise Course starts next week and offers advice and mentoring to anyone hoping to increase working hours, change jobs or consider the self-employment route (there are still some slots available for anyone interested). We have launched “Evolve Dungannon” our business incubation programme, where a unit to operate your business from is combined with mentoring & guidance designed to help your business grow in the current climate. Plans are also in place for our new Co-Working Centre offering office space & conference/meeting facilities to meet demand for those who no longer require an office building or bespoke premises.
Indeed if anything Covid has helped abolish the old phrase that can kill off progress “we’ve always done it that way” and now we look towards “ a change is as good as a rest” as we re-evaluate, re-build & re-cover!
For information on any support or property available at DEC please contact us directly.