Universally, January brings a clean slate and opportunity for new beginnings. How you start the year tends to set up a precedent of the year to come.
Researchers have identified that 60% of us set New Year resolutions every year. Whilst many of these include the usual suspects such as becoming a gym bunny and eating healthily, this is also a respectful time for businesses to decide on their goals for the year.
We don’t just mean the a-typical goals of turning over more profit or growing the team, but substantial goals that improve your business for the better going forward.
For 2020, there are some clear habits for all businesses to consider taking on board and we’ve happily provided a healthy sample of these in this post.
Focus on your digital platforms
This one has been in the making for some time now but it’s surprising how many businesses are failing to keep up with their user’s behaviours online.
The top one being to have a website that can be entirely used and interacted with on mobile. Yes, this may seem obvious but even sites that are responsive on mobiles haven’t always been specifically built for mobile interaction and use. For example, if product images have not been taken, edited and sized purely for mobile, resulting in a user not being able to view them easily, this will most likely put them off buying it. With sites such as Text Local highlighting that “62% of the British population use their smartphone device to purchase goods online”, missing out on this chunk of users could be detrimental to your company.
Another key area for 2020 raised by the SEO industry is responding to user intent through your content production as opposed to simply focusing on keyword search terms. It is worthwhile arranging a meeting with your in-house digital marketing and SEO team to better understand how to appropriately answer intent searches rather than primarily focusing on keywords.
Again, influencer marketing isn’t necessarily a new avenue for businesses to promote their products and services. Even so, there are various industries rising in the influencer world and fully receiving the benefits from this style of marketing.
On an international level, health and fitness companies are dominating the influencer market. With the ability to save your favourite influencer’s fitness workout posts on Instagram, it would be a wasted opportunity for active wear giants such as Gym Shark to not jump on this bandwagon. Whether you ask influencers to wear your fitness clothing in their videos or put up some posts promoting your vitamins and protein shakes, this can be a direct and personal approach to your target audience. In fact, Digital Marketing Institute stated that “70% of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities”, namely because they can relate to them.
Locally, independent food restaurants, markets and trucks are known to be highly successful as a result of using micro-influencer marketing. Taking the time to get to know the smaller influencers in your local area and the theme of posts they share can help you to tap into your local market with ease. Using someone with a trusted local opinion could mean it would only take one or two mentions before your food business becomes a popular hub for your cuisine of choice.
With the newest zero carbon goals set by the government, the race is on to accomplish this in time. One of the biggest adjustments will be fully sustainable businesses and there are still major developments being worked on before this is possible. However, there are numerous significant changes that businesses can start to encourage with their employees to make the initial steps towards being a sustainable business.
- The Cycle to Work scheme. Join thousands of other UK businesses in providing a bike to your employees. A tax-free benefit to motivate employees to cut out commuting to work by car or public transport.
- Clear recycling plan. By replacing individual waste baskets at employees’ desks with global bins segregated for general waste and recycling, employees are pushed to think more efficiently rather than conveniently. On top of this, you could move towards building scrap paper piles out of unwanted sheets, use these for meetings and to take notes as opposed to buying brand new notepads.
- Use the local milkman. The British public drinks 51 litres of semi-skimmed milk per head every year. 80% of drinking milk produced ends up in a plastic carton instead of a glass bottle. As a business, choose to support your local businesses by reverting back to the ‘80s and opt for your milk to be delivered by the local milkman. Housed in a glass bottle and delivered by an electric milk float, not only can we reduce the amount of plastic used but also carbon footprint, making your next tea round taste just that bit sweeter.
- Grow your own fruit. Maybe you’ve got a windowsill or large window space, or maybe even a rooftop or courtyard at your office. If so, use this opportunity to grow your own fruit and veg in the office instead of driving to buy snacks packaged in plastic from a nearby supermarket. Ideal produce to grow in the office includes lettuces, spinach, carrots, fruit trees, and seasonal fruit. Promote healthy eating alongside sustainable snacking.
- Donate unused computers and electronics. Even though an upgrade is inevitable in the workplace, it doesn’t make your previous models disposable by any means. Contact local schools and charities in regard to donating your electronics and computers to them, in most cases they’ll be delighted to receive these and will make the most out of them.
More flexible working
Despite the fact that flexible working has been possible in the workplace for a few years now, employees are asking for it to be even more so. Instead of set work at home days or days off, employees are demanding more control over planning their working week around what needs to be done. From different working hours each day, to working at home whenever this suits best, to moving between locations if you have various offices or commercial set ups.
Studies show that places of work where flexible working is accessible for everyone tend to retain their staff longer than workplaces that have set working hours, days and location.
Mental and physical wellbeing
For every business, both employee physical and mental wellbeing is an incredibly important priority nowadays. A few suggestions for improving these areas include adding sit-stand desks into the workspace, private working areas for staff to separate themselves from the busy office life, corporate gym memberships for employees, arranged social events outside of work for everyone, breakfast meetings once a month, growing your own fruit and veg in the office, and much more.
In particular, charitable activities have been known to enhance mental wellbeing considerably in the workplace. A prime example of this is Alsico who have donated uniforms to those in need in third world countries, hosted numerous “Bake Offs” in line with the BBC’s hit show, and took part in the classic Christmas Jumper Day. All of these events have worked towards one goal, raising money to improve someone else’s quality of life. However, in doing so, you may just find it improves one of your own employee’s wellbeing.
Incorporating just a few of these into your business should inspire a considerable uplift in employee attitudes and productivity at work.
Involve employees in the business
To this one you may be thinking “but they’re already involved, they work here”. However, by this, we mean involving them in company decisions.
Indeed, their job role may not state that they’re responsible for company decision making and this could be risky with some individuals, but there’s never any harm in getting outside perspective and new opinions.
Maybe you’ve been debating applying for an awards ceremony relevant to your business, or maybe you’ve got an upcoming campaign and are bored of the same approach you take to it every year. Ask the people who are working for the business day in day out and you may be surprised by some of the ideas and suggestions raised.
An example of this is Waitrose and John Lewis where all staff employed by these retail giants are partners to the companies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace
We’re all aware of the shift towards using AI more regularly for everyday tasks. Whether that’s using Google Maps to find the restaurant your meeting a friend in or asking Alexa to instruct you on how to make a risotto.
Artificial Intelligence has opened up a whole world of possibilities to make mundane tasks in everyday life simpler and this also applies to the workplace.
Case in point, Google Ads have observed user interaction with their ads in order to suggest relevant recommendations to your business and campaigns that will increase brand visibility on the search engine.
Other examples include banks using AI to check for fraudulent cheques and notes, recruitment centres pre-screening candidates to find the right fit for their jobs advertised and training new employees.
Albeit, we’re not looking to replace anyone in the workplace but by integrating AI in some areas, we open ourselves up to being more efficient and save time and money. Employees will be able to focus on more pressing concerns instead of mundane tasks that can be carried out by AI.
All in all, 2020 is looking to be an exciting and innovative year for businesses. Where the focus is on making sure customers and employees alike feel respected and looked after, whilst moving with the times and keeping ahead of the game in this ever-changing, ever-developing world.
About the Author
Emily Smith is a digital marketing executive at creative agency Nu Image. With three years’ experience in the industry, Emily is a dedicated keyboard warrior, focussed on producing engaging and informative content for a vast pool of clients. Having written for the likes of national workwear and travel companies to award-winning hairdressers and independent trade businesses, there’s no topic that she doesn’t enjoy sinking her teeth into.