PPDG understands industry leaders and the complex systems of Remote collaboration and automation are here to stay.
As COVID-19 took hold, business leaders around the world faced a series of high-stakes decisions. Confronted with a mounting global health crisis, they had to keep employees and customers safe, find alternative sourcing options, interpret shifting consumer preferences, and, in some cases, figure out how to stay afloat. Some of their decisions were quick fixes, meant to solve an urgent problem. But others have revealed capabilities and opportunities that might not have seemed possible before, and that could fundamentally change their company’s business model as countries emerge from various stages of the crisis.
Two key themes emerged among our respondents, when asked about their priorities (see Exhibit 1):
1. CEOs plan to make their companies more digital and virtual. They will digitize core business operations and processes, and add digital products and services.
2. CEOs plan to develop a more flexible and employee-oriented workforce. They will increase the share of remote or contingent workers, and expand employee health, safety, and wellness programs. Underpinning these emerging business models are several trends identified by respondents as enduring shifts, meaning CEOs expect them to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic ends. Perhaps unsurprisingly, respondents believe shifts towards remote collaboration, automation, low-density workplaces, and supply chain safety will have a lasting impact. Less expected were some of the changes caused by COVID-19 that CEOs view as temporary. For example, one-quarter of CEOs believe the trend towards climate change mitigation will be a short-term phenomenon (with another 28% not seeing any change when it comes to climate issues). And 43% think that the shift towards nationalism is temporary, despite the fact that populist and nationalist ideologies were on the rise before the pandemic.