Dwayne Alexander forecasts four themes he sees as being key to driving business forward in the new financial year.
If you have already forgotten your New Year’s resolutions, many of us have another opportunity coming up with the new fiscal year on April 1. We learnt a lot throughout last fiscal, whether it was through the work we did with clients or our own lived experiences. Below is a brief snapshot of the four key themes we forecast as being key to driving businesses forward in the new financial year.
Technology continues to open worlds of possibility and productivity: I read/listened to the whole of Deep Work by Cal Newport while on my kayak. Technology has long been a buzzword in a number of arenas. From smart home technology that allows you to vacuum and boil the kettle with the touch of a button, to a hyper-realistic avatar that uses motion capture technology and an AI engine to translate content into sign language, the impact technological developments have had on our lives are undeniable.
This new fiscal, however, we should step things up in our own lives. How are we utilising technology to take back some valuable time for ourselves? Our company P&L is on Xero and all our important files are in Dropbox. Our emails are backed up in several ways in the cloud. We can choose to work anywhere or anytime. No mad dash to the office to do stuff.
In short, technology touches every facet of our lives, and we are likely to face more challenges that require innovation as the way we live changes.
We need to look after our health:
I put on 10 kilogrammes over the lockdowns last year– I was walking but I was eating the wrong foods and totally focused on survival of the team and helping our clients overcome their challenges. It is always worth investing in our immune system and health. Our work on the nationwide pancreatic cancer awareness campaign with the Gut Cancer Foundation taught us, on a personal level, that if you take care of your gut your gut will take care of you.
There will always be uncontrollable variables, but if we look after the things we have control over – like going to the doctor when something doesn’t feel right and fuelling our bodies with nutrients – we set our bodies to be much more resilient. So this new fiscal I will have health on the agenda. I have since lost the entire 10 kgs through a little extra focus.
Equally as important as our physical well-being is prioritising our mental health. Anxiety, depression and general unease have been widely acknowledged as a reaction to the stressors last year and this year many are still feeling the after effects. We can make the new fiscal our “mini-new year” and an opportunity to reset.
Human connection is more important than ever: Being isolated in our bubbles for an extended period in 2020 has highlighted how much we crave human voices and stories. Technology enabled us to dive deep into long-form content, and podcasts are set to become even more popular.
Covid has, however, also given us refreshed respect for our communities and our elders. The time old and young spend together is precious, and so is prioritising conversations about how we connect with each other – and how we can do better for future generations when it comes to human and civil rights, equality and diversity. Whatever we can do to support vulnerable communities – the time is now.
We need to rethink how we do business: 2020 was a shock to the system, seeing many businesses (by necessity) embrace work-from-home policies and resulting in exploring different ways of working, including a four-day week.
At the same time, consumer support grows for businesses that champion the community, family businesses are coming to the fore, and the Government’s climate emergency declaration will have businesses thinking about what steps they need to take to reduce their emissions if we are to become carbon neutral by 2025.
The way we used to do business is simply not going to be sustainable. What can we do with a fresh new fiscal to further these aims?