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It’s well established that the last couple of years have completely changed the business landscape.

The challenges faced in terms of labour and physical premises were a trial by fire for many companies, and forced a period of rapid adaptation. Those that survived had to quickly adopt new processes, and make decisions without the luxury of time to think. At the same time, new businesses emerged to take advantage of opportunities in areas such as ecommerce, and benefitted from greater agility. 

While those challenges are a thing of the past, many of the changes are persisting. Many employees, having successfully worked from home, are still unwilling to go back. Demands are higher, and other factors (both local and global) are making the labour market more competitive. Ecommerce meanwhile – already on an inexorable rise – has only grown in importance. Despite surviving through the eye of the storm, many businesses are still being buffeted, and are unsure as to the best way to respond.

While it may not be what everyone wants to hear, the answer could be further changes, and greater investment in labour. In most cases, the changes made in order to survive the pandemic will not have been implemented as well as they could have been, and represent only one step on the path towards modernisation. Meanwhile, the current skills shortage only has one tangible solution: investing in training to support new employees, and empowering them to accelerate growth.

The post-pandemic panic 

For those businesses who successfully navigated the pandemic, the pace of change was likely uncomfortable. The concept of remote working wasn’t completely alien, but it hadn’t been embraced by the majority. Within a matter of weeks, many companies were forced not only to embrace the idea, but everything that came with it. Long-delayed digitisation happened almost overnight, as files were transferred to the Cloud, and in-person meetings were transferred to Zoom. 

The legacy of these changes has been largely positive, and in many cases was overdue. But the rushed nature of this transition means that it was often imperfect, or incomplete. The right software for individual businesses was not always adopted, in favour of what others were using. And the processes that came along with remote working were not always well refined. Now that the worst has passed, there is an opportunity to assess what worked, and refine what didn’t. Yet in many cases, this is being met by a weariness, and an unwillingness to change even further. 

This problem is only accelerating as businesses muddle through the post-pandemic age. Flexible working is being applied on an ad hoc basis, with some companies struggling to fill the office consistently, and employees coming in on different days. Others are losing staff to competitors, and struggling to recruit for in-office roles. Individuals such as Elon Musk and Boris Johnson encouraging a full return to the workplace have sparked something of a culture war with workers, who feel they have found a better work-life balance. In these cases, growth can feel like a far flung concept. 

Formalising new processes 

Post-pandemic growth starts with an appraisal of mid-pandemic processes. The rapid adoption of new ways of working – messaging apps, teleconferencing, file sharing and collaboration, file storage – wasn’t something many businesses could stop to intricately plan. These processes were implemented at short notice, and it’s a testament to the efficiencies they offer that it generally worked. But this shouldn’t be a cause for complacency. Now is the time to assess that success, and to adjust and formalise those processes. 

Process mapping is the way to achieve this. Rather than exploring new innovations you could make, process mapping focuses on recording and analysing the processes you already have in place. In the context of the pandemic, this allows you to formalise the new processes that you have put in place, but may not have fully documented. In doing so, you can apply your knowledge of those processes – and the data you’ve collected – to improve and build upon them. 

This is where training in process mapping is key. Process mapping introduces a management method known as PCDA – plan, do, check, act – as well as exploring the merits of various project mapping software like Microsoft Project. This basic methodology should underpin all of your processes, and drive continual improvement. Learning this and other process mapping techniques will enable you to map out all of the established processes in your organisation, and restructure them in a way that is consistent, efficient, and follows best practice. 

Improving project management

The other aspect of post-pandemic business that has proved disruptive is project management. While a variety of tools have been adopted to improve communication between sites and remote workers, these can create as many problems as they solve. Splitting messages across multiple different apps can lead to breakdowns in communication, with files getting lost in email chains or Slack communications, and a lack of clarity about people’s responsibilities and the status of tasks.

This change in the nature of project management and the role of a manager should be an impetus for retraining. Modern project management training encompasses these new developments, and gives managers the confidence to embrace these new methods of working, as well as the knowledge and ability to streamline them. In coordination with process mapping, an assessment can be made of the ways in which different  communication and productivity tools help or hinder project management. Applying this can help you streamline and integrate the apps you use, leading to more unified communications.

Whatever your existing level of training, project management training can help you to integrate the new resources at your disposal, both in terms of software and labour. The high turnover of staff that many businesses are currently facing is creating a skills gap, not just in junior positions, but also in management. Project management training can help to both create more rigorous processes for new employees to follow, and better equip managers to supervise and integrate those employees, ensuring that they are effectively meeting the goals and milestones set for each project. 


Taking stock of your processes and planning is important after any substantial change, let alone the upheaval of the last few years. While the situation for many businesses may not seem like it demands a rethink, present challenges with labour and a lack of disposable income reflect further challenges to come. If you haven’t already assessed the impact of the changes to your business through the pandemic, now is the time – and training may be the best way to achieve this. 

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Mark Fryer

4th August 2022

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