For businesses operating in the consulting space, 2021 represents a year is proving critical to long-term success. The pandemic has shaken up organizations in every sector, and many will turn to consultants for advice on how to emerge from the storm and navigate a path towards long-term viability and growth. The help they need is very different from the assistance they sought pre-pandemic, and so it’s vital that consultancies evolve to meet these demands.
Flexibility and agility are what can help make this happen, and technology can be the engine room that drives consulting businesses towards the ultimate goal.
These five key tips set out the way forward:
1. Response is essential
Now that there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel in the form of vaccinations, it’s no longer enough for consulting organizations to tread water and stand still. Those that do will quickly find themselves losing clients in what was already a very competitive marketplace.
Source Global Research has found that consulting in some sectors faced a far bigger impact than others over the course of 2020. The consulting market for financial management, for example, contracted by 27%, while the corresponding market for technology shrank by just 4%. This means that those companies who specialize in a sector that has been particularly hard-hit must be able to pivot towards other, more promising markets quickly.
Workspace and scheduling technology can support this through giving employees the time, space and flexibility they need to work whenever, wherever and however is required.
2. Customers expect service, whenever and wherever
Many organizations will have all or some of their workforce operating remotely, and in the months ahead, may be able to bring them back into the office on a partial basis. This does pose some operational challenges for the business, but from the perspective of the client, these challenges are irrelevant. If they’re paying for certain functions and services, they expect to receive them with the highest levels of professionalism, regardless of how and where consultants are working.
Cloud-based workplace scheduling, where employees can work from home and book an office workstation or meeting room for the times they need one, can make this ‘hybrid’ working approach seamless and improve the employee experience.
Each employee can control their own schedule, and move from home to the office and back again without any disruption to either them or clients.
3. Physical meetings remain important
While virtual collaboration is here to stay, face-to-face meetings in a physical environment still have a valuable role to play for every type of business. Building strong relationships with clients and being able to freely discuss and exchange ideas is far easier in person than it is on a video call.
Putting these meetings together when employees work flexibly could be complex, but workspace management solutions simplify matters. Meeting rooms can be reserved in advance, with the right equipment and catering needs booked at the same time. All relevant information can then be provided to front-of-house teams, who can then help the client upon arrival with check-in and directions to the meeting room, quickly and easily.
4. Champion agile teams
Now more than ever, it’s impossible to know what the future may hold. The last 12 months have shown that companies must be prepared for every eventuality, and that employees need to be able to come together quickly when new challenges or opportunities emerge.
Workspace scheduling solutions enable this by giving every employee full visibility of every other employee’s schedule: which days they are working, where they will be working, and which meetings they’re already booked in for. When sudden needs arise, groups can find mutually beneficial times and spaces to collaborate and respond in a matter of seconds. Creating this capability now ensures it’s ready to go when the unforeseen happens in the future.
5. Empower employees
Even through the difficult economic times ahead, consulting talent will remain a valuable and prized commodity. Attracting them and maintaining them is critical to holding an advantage over competitors, and to do so, businesses must empower their workforces with confidence, flexibility and trust.
Employees, and especially younger ones, increasingly value their work-life balance and so will favor companies that can support this balance when considering whether to move on or when looking for a new job. A workspace scheduling solution that lets them decide where and when they want to work, and gives them a choice of workspaces in the office to book whenever they need them, gives them the freedom that they are coming to expect from employers more and more.