Ensure agile working works for your employees
Hakeem Ajonbadi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, Birmingham City University (BCU)
“Given the pace and dynamism in technology, alongside the large part it plays in our daily lives, it’s important that organisations gain an insight into remote working experiences and their implications on employees’ work/life balance.
“There is a concern that platforms set up for remote and agile working – such as Microsoft Teams – could have a negative effect if employees feel like they cannot switch off.
“Organisations should intensify their efforts in facilitating human resource management strategies that could improve employees’ experiences, talent retention and ensure a competitive advantage.”
The future’s bright, the future’s green
Beverley Nielsen, Associate Professor, Centre for Brexit Studies, BCU
“If we hope to achieve a climate neutral world by 2050, we need to change the way we produce and consume.
“Furthermore, we have to ensure economic activity is achieved without any increase in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Businesses should carry out an energy audit and benchmark against other businesses that have been successful.
“Alongside this, organisations should implement lean production techniques, and recycle and reduce packaging.
“Don’t forget the importance of the supply chain – for example, 47 percent fewer emissions are created by manufacturing clothes in the UK rather than overseas.”
Supply chains will continue to be affected
Igho Ekiugbo, Lecturer in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, BCU
“There are a number of challenges the supply chain will face in 2022, including continued variants of Covid-19, labour shortages, inflation and government policies (such as their commitment to COP-26).
“Businesses should take advantage of the lessons learned over the past 20 months of Covid-19, so to strategise effectively for 2022. SMEs should look to create local sourcing options rather than relying on importing goods from China.
“Regarding the labour shortage, implementing incentive measures could be a short-term solution, but SMEs must look beyond this to attract and retain the best talent.
“Literary evidence shows that ‘innovativeness’ and being proactive can improve performance in times of crisis. UK SMEs must look to develop strategic partnerships to access these capabilities.”
Expect a better vaccination strategy to stop Covid-19
Erez Yerushalmi, Senior Lecturer in Economics, BCU
“In a recent study conducted by Birmingham City Business School with RAND Corporation, we quantified the cost of not vaccinating the poorest countries.
“We used a multi-country Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model, calibrated to the real-world. Countries are interlinked through trade.
“Our results are clear: even if all countries vaccinate excluding the poorest (who do not), the world continues to lose around US $153 billion per year, because the virus is a collective problem.
“Not vaccinating the poor costs the high-income and vaccine producing countries around $119 billion (our mid-range value).
“Based on key assumptions in the model, this cost could vary from $49bn to $230bn. The cost of procuring and delivering vaccine to poorest countries would cost around $25bn (Oxfam International 2020).
“Thus, a rational global strategy would be to purchase vaccines for the poorest because the benefit-to-cost ratio is around 1.9 to 12.6; with mid-range at 4.8. In other words, every $1 invested in vaccines for the poor is a return of $1.9 to $12.6 to the world.”
Automation will come to the fore
Mark Brill, Course Leader: MA Creativity, Making and Innovation Practice
“We’ve already seen machine learning systems that can interpret data and identify audiences or behaviours.
“The next 12 months will see that increase and although artificial intelligence in its true sense has not yet arrived, smarter systems will further automate much of the process of marketing.
“For example, we are not far from a point where an automated system can not only identify audiences but also write copy or even design communications.
“What is interesting about this automation is that it is accessible to even the smallest businesses.
“Platforms such as Hubspot offer easy access to increasingly intelligent marketing systems, whilst software such as Shopify will further automate the process of e-commerce.
“We will also see the ‘platformisation’ of the big digital platforms with Google, Meta and Amazon expanding tools for marketing technology.
“TikTok is undoubtedly the platform to watch for 2022. As the primary Generation Z social channel, there will be new marketing offers that will support brand engagement with this audience.”
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