6 Lessons Businesses Learned from COVID-19 in 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the world we live in. Businesses have encountered the severest setbacks they have had to face in decades. While it dragged down global economic growth and development indices and broke the back of many a business, it has also provided much useful knowledge to the ones that managed to survive.
Let’s examine six prominent lessons out of many that the business world learned as a result of the pandemic.
Work-from-Home is Here to Stay
With the onset of COVID-19, the way we worked changed at lightning speed. One major change was the shift toward businesses going online and staff working from home across the world. Although accelerated by the pandemic, this is part of a gradual shift that was already in train because of the many benefits of remote work. COVID-19 expedited the process and emphasized that it could become the norm.
Unlike many things that appeared on the scene with the coming of COVID-19 and will disappear once the pandemic subsides, the work-from-home concept is likely to stay. It will continue paving a progressive path for businesses, thanks to the realization that employees can be more or less as productive remotely as they used to be in the office. Of course, the transition brings with it a number of challenges to tackle, such as cybersecurity concerns.
Cleanliness and Hygiene are Essential
Good hygiene can indeed save lives. This is not news, but previously the importance was only intensely felt in healthcare facilities and other clinical setups. Today, businesses have also grown to understand the necessity to maintain the cleanliness of surfaces, devices, and furniture in offices and commercial centres. This has led to a rigorous cleaning drive in airports and large business complexes, and small as well as large companies have taken it seriously and have been relying on professional, specialist cleaning services more than ever before.
No Economy is Secure
The economic recessions induced by the pandemic have not spared any country. Almost all countries in the world have felt the impact of COVID-19 regardless of whether they are classed as low, middle or high income. According to the IMF, we are currently seeing the worst economic situation since the Great Depression and a total GDP loss of 9 trillion dollars is estimated for 2020-2021. Many companies were forced to close down or scale back, and people lost their jobs the world over. The recovery is again going to take a long time, and businesses are in uncertain waters, in countries across every continent and at every stage of development.
Digital Systems are Invaluable
COVID-19 has also shown business the power of digitization. Even companies that previously had a lukewarm approach to modern technology have rapidly taken to and adapted to digitization. Companies have never felt the potential and convenience of digital channels so deeply. Hitherto purely offline companies now have an online presence.
Digital and online technology left no stone unturned in the wake of the pandemic. Communication, sale, payments, documentation, marketing, advertising – all areas of businesses have gone digital to a significant extent, revolutionizing the way companies conduct business.
Networking is Vital
The pandemic also taught businesses about the potential of networking. When all workers became compelled to work and communicate remotely from different geographical locations, even sectors that had ignored the benefits of networking started adapting to it. Professionals who attended only a few conferences and seminars before, have now stepped up their networking game.
Networking has expanded horizons for almost all sorts of businesses. Digital connectivity has significantly helped convergence and reduced inter-disciplinary gaps, thereby facilitating technological advancements and development. The pandemic has driven home the fact that networking is vital for faster growth.
Businesses can Adapt Quickly
The pandemic has also shown the world that there is nothing beats the business sector to adapt quickly to a changing environment. Offices were ready to close down for long periods and transform their hours and schedules. Food and other businesses shifted to a delivery model and others relocated and continued business as usual from temporary setups.
Shopping centres became COVID-ready in no time by taking part in safety campaigns, installing sanitization and safety equipment in their premises, and complying with regulations and developing new internal rules and processes. In short, the business world surprised itself and woke up to its potential to adapt to changing situations.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a number of lessons for businesses and the world. It showed the futility of many long-term plans and made companies reflect that relying on past experiences may not always work. These insights are welcome in modern times as the technology landscape has been rapidly changing over the past few years, already rendering long-term plans of many organisations useless. These lessons will be useful in guiding businesses to adapt to new and changing landscapes in the future.