Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

This Is What Separates a Thriving Company From a Dying One

How updating our old work models to optimization-focused ones can help us work more efficiently and achieve more growth.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The noise of bureaucracy. Some old traditions die hard.

The pandemic has presented a rapid change in our environment, forcing companies that want to survive to optimize and adapt. Necessity is the mother of invention, and now what differentiates a thriving company from a dying one is how well it can separate value from noise.

Much of that noise is bureaucratic practice. Though such practices were necessary in the past, many of these are archaic and have far outlived their time. Strict office hours, dress codes, slow decision-making mechanisms and quarterly reviews — these put employees under unnecessary restraint, which isn’t necessarily healthy for productivity.

At the end of the day, your clients will remember the value you delivered — not what type of office you delivered it out of. A founder’s goal should always be to put his or her energy towards creating exceptional and unique value; the rest is all noise.

Here's how the pandemic has cut through that noise and redefined successful workplace models. 

No more wasted energy on presentation

Much of our mental energy is dedicated to decision-making — even the most trivial things from what to eat for lunch to what to wear for work diminishes the energy we could be using to make more important decisions. To increase productivity, billionaire leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and John Paul DeJoria reduce the time they use to decide what to wear to zero. 

Your mental energy is like your currency. Reserve it to perform the most important things that are going to help you accomplish your most important tasks. Have a simple and set "uniform" to wear for all days of the week so it brings decision-making time on trivial things down to zero.

Related: These 7 Tips will Help You Get your Office Wear Right

Say goodbye to time-sucking commutes

Having an office to work in might be helpful, but a part of why it’s helpful is simply because we’ve built productivity around such a structure. For many, working in a small cubicle may not be conducive to their work output at all and, in fact, might be more distracting. Plus, commuting to work cuts down on the time we spend resting and recharging or being productive. Some of us spend over two hours commuting back and forth from work on a given workday. 

After the pandemic, companies were forced to go remote. Since then, they have seen a sharp decrease in expenses and a big increase in productivity.  It’s very realistic for people to create productive work routines that suit their lives as they work from the comfort of their homes. Having control of what our workspace looks like (sunlight exposure, desk accessories), having fewer distractions (chatter from co-workers) and being around family and kids can actually improve productivity, motivation, mental health and overall well-being. People that are satisfied with their jobs and work-life balance are more motivated to work harder and get things done at a faster pace.

The pandemic serves as a transitionary period for many companies, and many will never go back to the way things were done before. Hybrid and remote-work models will become more of the norm post-Covid.

Related: Don't Lose Good Employees to a Bad Commute

Embrace a diverse and competitive talent pool 

As companies went remote during the pandemic, hiring locally was no longer mandatory. Industries regardless of size employed more freelancers — from sales and ecommerce to finance and web development. This opened and diversified the pool of talent as companies could hire from all around the world. The growth of the freelancing economy inevitably created a more competitive environment, which promoted the elevation of creative and technical skills.

Higher demand for quality talent has made freelancing a lucrative career choice and caused people to hone their skills, resulting in more robust and quality services for companies. 

Stay ahead of the curve to safeguard success  

Markets are always prone to fluctuations, which means certain services come and go. Think about Facebook: When it debuted in 2004, it became the social-media platform, replacing chat apps (Skype, MSN). Within the next decade, it started to fizzle out — becoming the social media for “older generations,” as Instagram and Snapchat overtook the landscape. Facebook, now Meta, constantly readapts its services to accommodate the rapidly changing environment. Adding marketplace, currency, dating, acquiring Instagram in 2012  — the company tries to capitalize on every trend and utility when it comes to online social interaction.

Companies that want to stay ahead of the curve must find ways to repurpose their skills or risk dying out.

9-to-5 work hours are a thing of the past

The litmus test for whether you’re in the right frame of mind is this: Are you constantly checking the clock to see if it’s closer to 5 p.m.? If you are dying to get off work at a certain time or grudgingly getting up at the sound of the alarm clock, it might be time to reconsider whether your current job is right for you.

Having a strict work schedule with a measly break in between doesn’t necessarily equate to more productivity. If you’re unengaged at work, it doesn’t matter if you’re at the desk for 8 or 10 hours — it’s unlikely you’re actually going to perform tasks with passion or integrity. 

Having the flexibility to work from where you want and being allowed to take breaks when you want can help you reset and feel more motivated throughout the day. 

Related: How the 9-to-5 Came to Be and Why It No Longer Makes Sense

If you truly love what you do, no amount of hours can quantify what should feel like a “right” work schedule. If you’re constantly feeling like you want a vacation, it’s a sign that you don’t actually enjoy what you’re doing. 

The pandemic has simply been a stress test for how we’re used to operating in the workspace. It accelerated the adoption of necessary changes, forcing us to readapt and optimize in order to survive. Companies that refuse to adapt will inevitably lose to competitors that embrace the new normal. 

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks