It’s common knowledge in the business world that one should expect the unexpected. However, actually putting in the effort to address these unexpected circumstances is much more difficult than just acknowledging them.

Sudden unfortunate events like recessions, pandemics, and natural disasters have the potential to negatively affect a business’s profits and even cause a company to go out of business. This is why it’s so important to plan carefully ahead of time and take the necessary precautions so that your team can survive and even thrive in difficult times.

Communication is key

Communication is a critical part of having a successful team, no matter the industry. Especially when things go south, having proper communication and trust is critical. This is why it’s so important that communication is a part of your company culture. Employees should be communicating with each other on a daily basis, whether they are in the office or working remotely.

On-site employees, specifically, should be conducting weekly team meetings as well as one-on-one meetings between each employee and their managers. For remote employees, proper communication involves regular video calls, utilizing a workplace communication app like Slack, and checking in frequently with your team to ensure alignment of goals and execution of projects.

Not only does communication ensure that all employees are on the same page, but it fosters trust among the team as a whole. If employees are able to build trust among one another, they will be able to fall back on one another when facing unwanted circumstances.

Effective communication can also make it easier for managers to spot issues in an employee’s performance early on. If managers can conduct regular check-ins, they can notice and address negative trends in an employee’s well-being and performance as they occur. This is ideal as opposed to waiting for issues to compile because, with added time, they can potentially affect the rest of the team and the entire company.

Lastly, as a manager, it’s important to communicate both the good and the bad with your employees. If something has gone wrong, being upfront and honest with your team is important. On the other hand, if things are going well, it’s important to communicate that they are valued and their hard work is appreciated.

Being clear in your expectations and the pride you have in your team’s results is essential to maintaining and improving upon their positive mindset; even in unexpected circumstances.


Read more: On designing a great L&D communication plan


Embrace remote work

One of the biggest obstacles a company may face as a result of unforeseen circumstances is the inability of their employees to work in the office. For some companies who may be stuck in their ways and committed to an entirely office-based work environment, this could be a large problem. This is why it’s so important for companies to remain versatile in every capacity and be willing to adjust to the innovation that will benefit the company as a whole.

In this situation, like the global pandemic we’re currently in, that innovation is technology, and its implementation has skyrocketed in popularity and necessity. Some companies have gone fully remote while others have a hybrid workforce consisting of both remote and office-based employees.


Read more: How to restructure your business for remote success


This arrangement has proved itself to be very useful during a company-wide unexpected circumstance like the COVID-19 pandemic and can also be useful for many other, smaller issues as well. Remote work capabilities allow sick employees to continue working without risking infecting others. It’s also helpful if employees can’t get to the office due to weather conditions, childcare issues, family emergencies, and more.

Most of the opposition to remote work comes from managers that worry employees will slack off if given the opportunity to work in their own space. However, studies have shown that employees are actually more productive when working from home. From many employees’ perspectives, many would rather have the option to work from home over the opportunity to receive a pay raise which speaks to how effective remote work can actually be.

Invest in the latest technology

As mentioned, technology is a necessary component for success in the modern workplace. It’s likely within the best interest of a company to be at the forefront of such impactful innovations and embrace new changes and technologies.

For example, video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have allowed both internal and client calls to take place anytime, anywhere. This is particularly important in companies that offer remote work to encourage all necessary employees can be included in conversations.


Read more: Top 5 ways L&D professionals can avoid Zoom fatigue


Employees can also benefit from Learning Management Systems. With the help of such software, L&D professionals can create training programs that allow employees to complete training modules at their own pace, without the need to hire an in-person instructor. This is also helpful in companies where employees work different shifts, such as retail and manufacturing.

One of the most beneficial aspects of technology is that it allows employees to be connected no matter what. In today’s business world, an effective connection can be the difference between surviving and thriving.


Read more: Connectivity is not connection: How to boost engagement in virtual training classrooms


Wrapping up

Unexpected obstacles are no stranger to the business world. However, there are many ways company leadership teams can lessen the negative effects of these challenges. If management on every level is proactive and is able to quickly respond to circumstances with effective communication, remote-work capabilities, and proper technology, a business can survive or even thrive in the face of adversity.

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