3 huge lessons the pandemic has taught the business world
When you use a term like “the business world,” you’re covering all kinds of industries. You might be talking about a corner bodega or a Fortune 500 company.
These sorts of businesses would seem to have little in common. However, what has occurred over the past few months has shown the similarities between them in a fascinating way.
The pandemic that materialized in 2020 has been somewhat of an equalizer. That’s because it has impacted virtually all businesses in one way or another, even if they produce completely different products or offer entirely different services.
Almost no business endeavors have been able to carry on completely like normal, with Covid-19 ripping through the world. Now, the vaccine rollout is happening, but there are many pandemic-inspired lessons that businesses can take from these past few months, and it would behoove them to do so.
Let’s talk about some of the lessons the pandemic has taught the business world.
Considering an eCommerce model makes sense
If you owned a business that operated out of a brick-and-mortar location before the pandemic, you might have had all sorts of concerns related to it. For instance, you’d have to think about various insurance types, like premises liability insurance. This is an insurance variety that covers your business if a customer slips on a wet floor or something similar.
There are steps that brick-and-mortar business owners can take to prevent this sort of occurrence. Proper hazard signs are essential, as are orange cones to alert both customers and workers about a spill or a freshly-mopped floor.
However, some brick-and-mortar businesses had no choice but to go to an eCommerce business model if they wanted to stay relevant when the pandemic hit. Maybe you resisted online sales before, but once Covid-19 appeared, you realized that selling your products using an online model made more sense than you once thought.
Even once the pandemic is over, you might want to nix brick-and-mortar stores and stick to a strictly eCommerce model. By doing so, you don’t need to think about insuring your physical locations and risking premises liability lawsuits.
Company heads should allow employees to work from home
The pandemic also taught many businesses that they could function much better than they once thought they could with their entire staff working from their homes. On the surface, it seems counterintuitive. If your employees are all clocking in via their laptops while still wearing their pajamas, how much work are they actually going to do?
Well, quite a lot, as it turns out. Many workers who were able to clock in from home and work from their bedrooms or home offices for the first time loved the new setup. They no longer had to commute to work, which saved them both headaches and gas money.
Bosses often worried that they would not be able to monitor what their employees were doing very well if they worked from home. They feared they wouldn’t be able to conduct daily meetings if all their workers were at remote locations.
Those fears proved groundless in almost all cases. Technology was the answer to all of that. These days, there are all-inclusive workplace software suites. Some applications, like Zoom, allow bosses to conduct digital meetings if they feel those are still necessary.
Other bosses found that software suites can monitor employee activity just as well as in-person micromanaging could. They discovered that software could keep track of when an employee “arrived” at work and what they were doing throughout the day.
Like doing away with physical store locations, it seems likely that many companies will be okay with continued from-home work when the pandemic is officially over. If they try to go back to how things were, they might have a full-fledged revolt on their hands.
Companies discovered how fragile their business model was
A third lesson the pandemic taught many companies is that at any time, the world they knew could disintegrate right in front of them. It’s not hyperbole that many niches crumpled and folded when Covid-19 arrived. Those who survived were those companies and niches that were able to restructure and adapt.
On the surface level, the pandemic’s arrival was tragic. There’s no denying that many business entities had to fold, such as mom-and-pop restaurants that couldn’t move from a sit-down establishment to a delivery-only model. Other businesses couldn’t get creative enough to weather the enormous changes that were happening around them, and the federal government didn’t do enough to save them.
It’s sad to think about all those who lost their livelihoods because of the pandemic, but it did teach everyone an immutable lesson: everything is transitory. Any business, whether large or small, that was so set in its ways probably did not survive. Those who will still be standing when Covid-19 passes are those who were able to adapt.
Many businesses will evolve because of the pandemic. Think about the movie industry as an example. Warner Brothers partnered with HBO Max to release their entire slate of 2021 feature films on the streaming service. They realized that most movie theaters would not open again till 2021’s tail end, or even later than that.
Because they agreed to partner with a streaming service, HBO Max subscriptions skyrocketed. This is a perfect example of a business entity seeing the changes happening around it and knowing they had to change with it. They knew what was taking place was not ideal, but they evolved.
If they didn’t, they would have lost enormous revenue opportunities. As it was, they were able to get creative. Many other companies came up with alternate strategies as well.
The pandemic has shown the business world that nothing lasts forever, and flexibility is critical for those who want to not only survive but thrive. That’s perhaps the biggest lesson business entities can take from Covid-19: have a backup plan in place for any eventuality, or you could find yourself lost to history.