The COVID-19 pandemic altered almost every area of our daily lives, particularly the global economy. Researchers estimate that worldwide monetary GDP loss will reach 76.69 billion USD in a best-case pandemic scenario.
The pandemic’s negative impact manifested itself in the closure of many businesses, massive layoffs, and interruptions in the supply chain, resulting in occasional shortages, especially near the beginning of the lockdown.
However, it has been two years since the first COVID-19 lockdown, and although the pandemic is still ongoing, we have also learned to adapt in some ways. Below are five lessons businesses had to learn to weather the COVID-19 crisis.
1. Prepare for the Unexpected
Barely anyone saw COVID-19 coming. Few establishments and institutions had a contingency plan for such an outbreak that overwhelmed our existing systems at the time, thus resulting in a global panic.
A lack of preparation and resources caused many businesses to let go of their workers and, in worst cases, shut down completely.
Businesses can never be too prepared, especially since they have a lot at stake. Proper preparation can help them maintain their standing and overcome financial distress when necessary.
It’s essential to have contingency plans for various situations, such as global pandemics, government shutdowns, and natural disasters, among others.
2. Many Tasks Can Be Done Remotely
Instead of closing down completely, many businesses simply transitioned to remote or hybrid working arrangements.
At first, many companies showed apprehension, as some believed a remote working environment would negatively impact employee productivity.
Two years since the pandemic started, many companies that transitioned to remote arrangements have continued operations. Studies showed that remote workers were as productive, if not more productive, than when they worked on-site.
3. Work-Life Balance is Vital
The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, the economic and the personal. It has overhauled the routines of business owners and employees alike.
People might have changed housing arrangements and gained additional responsibilities, especially surrounding families and households. Everyone had to stay indoors for an extended period, which changed people’s habits and affected their mental health.
Due to these changes, companies have been urged to prioritize work-life balance for all employees. As pandemic restrictions start easing up, people find the time to enjoy themselves more and prioritize life outside of work.
Companies that value and respect the personal boundaries of their employees are more likely to attract and retain quality talent.
4. Maximize Digital Channels
Governments worldwide have implemented pandemic restrictions primarily geared towards physical spaces and interactions.
For this reason, physical stores and offices closed down or had to entertain limited capacities. Many businesses suffered from this rule, as this meant not being able to meet clients and customers.
One effective response to this rule is moving operations online. This approach has become highly effective for stores, as they could set up online shops and continue to sell their products. Social media and websites are also great ways to promote one’s business.
5. Update Plans Consistently
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us to prepare for unexpected events and has even caused severe problems of its own. The economy has not entirely recovered, and health facilities are still overwhelmed.
It would be wise to take today’s situation as a wake-up call and update existing rules and contingency plans. Things are moving fast, and external situations right now are far from stable. It’s crucial to update company plans regularly, making sure to consider local and worldwide events as they unfold.
It has been a challenge for many companies to survive the past few years. Looking back and learning from our experiences will hopefully help decision-makers take the best steps forward.