It’s been a year and a half of uncertainty and upheaval. Across the nation, businesses are trying to get back on track although the COVID-19 outbreak is not yet over.What’s the new normal going to look like?
Here are a few ways that the global pandemic has fundamentally changed the way U.S. companies do business:
Businesses will have a renewed emphasis on continuity.
In good times, It’s easy to let the process of identifying and effectively managing potential risks slide. And the economy was booming as recently as early 2021. The U.S. was experiencing the longest period of economic growth on record — starting in 2009 — until it was abruptly and wholly stopped short by COVID-19.The outbreak has once again put the spotlight on being prepared for the unexpected and making organizations more resilient. As companies get back on track, they will undoubtedly be beefing up contingency plans, developing risk management programs, re-evaluating insurance coverages, studying alternative ways of doing business, diversifying supply chains, and making plans for a host of unexpected events. The global pandemic was a hard lesson in being prepared for the unexpected.
Telecommuting has taken hold.
The percentage of people working remotely increased dramatically with the practice of physical distancing. There’s traditionally been a lot of skepticism among business leaders about telecommuting and many have been reluctant to invest in initiatives that support remote work. But during the COVID-19 outbreak, many companies found that remote work was a success — employees not only are happier working at home at least part of the time (as countless studies have shown), they are as productive, or even more productive. It’s something research has supported, but experiencing it firsthand makes all the difference.
Many companies, including those in the construction industry, are now examining how remote work can fit into their business models going forward. For example, a number of construction firms have begun using digital technologies that, if needed, can reduce the number of in-person visits needed to a job site. Other contractors are offering office employees an opportunity to continue to work at home part of the week, even after the threat of COVID-19 has passed.
Companies will make innovation a priority.
There are so many examples in recent months of companies trying innovative new strategies to stay afloat — and succeeding. For instance, many distilleries shifted to making hand sanitizer, fitness studios pivoted to offer online classes, grocery stores expanded into hot meal pickup/delivery, and scores of other types of businesses found new revenue streams and customers by getting creative.
Companies had to learn — or revisit — how to be adaptable, nimble and innovative. And many succeeded in ways they never would have imagined. Those that have had success with new solutions to old problems are likely to continue to continue experimenting long after the coronavirus threat is over.
Video meetings and conferences will become more popular.
A necessity during the COVID-19 outbreak, virtual gatherings, like remote work, will likely outlive the global pandemic. That’s not to say that old-school trade shows and conferences are a thing of the past. It’s just that companies have realized the virtual meetings and conferences are oftentimes a viable alternative to meeting in person, can save time and money and have a definite place in business today.