In the face of cost challenges and a need for more flexible resourcing models, off-shoring and outsourcing are being revisited, particularly in view of how successful remote and digital working have been.

As employees get used to remote working, businesses with large and costly offices in city centres are rethinking the role of the head office and how it can be used on a smaller scale to foster creativity and collaboration with ‘task based’ activities managed remotely, either outsourced or from home.

Home working needs to be well managed. The practices many are experiencing during the Covid are not robust. For example, many people do not have desks, supportive chairs or adequate lighting; issues are emerging that range from insufficient data security to poor connectivity. Effective models include clear policies, safe facilities and secure tools and efficient infrastructure. Effective remote working also benefits from training in best practices for conducting meetings and managing productivity.

Whilst this pandemic has brought some extremely testing times and a very sad loss of life, there is a lot we can learn from recent weeks and months. It has provided a unique opportunity to rewrite the retail rule book. The key is seizing the moment and making those lasting changes so old ways of working do not return – indeed for most retailers, they won’t be able to afford to sustain them so this is not just an opportunity, but an imperative.