COVID-19 pandemic has bitten deep into the businesses.
The result – the economies around the world are falling.
But here’s too, there is a ray of hope – despite the falling economies, there are many companies that have shifted their policies. It’s seen that many companies have resorted to providing sick leave to gig workers and low-wage hourly workers for the first time.
But the main question remains – after the crisis is over, will the businesses that survive make lasting changes?
According to the co-founder of B Lab, Andrew Kassoy, COVID-19 has turned out to be an opportunity on how both businesses and government can play an integral role in building a strong economic system, should ever the next crisis comes. The current crisis has already made it obvious – not only the businesses but even the communities and workers were unprepared for a situation like this. In just a matter of a few days, the unemployment percentage has gone up and the workers who were laid down were desperate to find alternative sources of income.
Kassoy further drives the point home, and he is certainly right – if only the companies were prepared for such a devastating situation, and if they paid their workers enough to have reserves, then, they would all have been in a different situation than what they are facing today.
For the businesses to retain their workers in the face of the next crisis, in the words of Louise Francis, who is the New Zealand Country Manager, she suggests that the businesses should consider experimenting and innovating new ideas – practically anything that a business can think of – virtual suggestion boxes or virtual planning sessions can be a great start. The focus of these sessions should be to identifying the areas that the business can improve on, along with the pros and cons, and hence, the need for an anonymous virtual suggestion box.
Because of COVID-19, many of the businesses are in hibernation, so, Francis suggests that now is a good time for the companies to superscale testing projects and which under normal circumstances would have taken months – though she is quick to point out that the projects – unless they solve an immediate and pressing concern – these projects are more likely to be deferred till the near future.
COVID-19 has bitten deep into the businesses. It's time for the business to check out which collaboration tools suits their needs best, suggesting that the companies should take some time out and figure out which tools are beneficial for them by real-life testing.
However, on the other hand, projects that are part of customer engagement or say, supply chain transformation, Francis mentions, that those projects are likely to get the green signal. Another area worth taking a look into will be contactless customer engagement, as Francis explains, as the companies who have invested in technologies that allow virtual events, and contactless options such as contactless delivery and even e-signatures – they will be retaining higher levels of engagement.
Projects based on security issues – business will need to focus on such projects as their workforce will be working remotely, so, it’s a must, Francis advises, that the companies will need to update their policies, more so, if they are implemented on an urgent basis.
According to Thomas O’Connor, who is a Senior Director and an analyst in the Gartner Supply Chain Industries, points out that there are many other suggestions that the businesses ought to look into during the time of COVID-19.
Focusing as a brand
During the current crisis, it’s of utmost importance for any business to focus on themselves – what they stand for and what do their consumers want them to see as. O’Connor suggests that right from their motto to their messaging, everything needs to be consistent – after all, it’s the foundation stone of any business.
But that doesn’t mean that the businesses should have to take advantage of the customers – as the senior SEO manager of Markle, Alexis Sanders puts it, the businesses should take note of the current crisis, and based on that, the businesses should review their content.
Transitioning to an online model
According to the principal advisor of EcoSystm, Tim Sheedy explains that it’s an online world today, and most of the people prefer to interact that way – so, he suggests that businesses should consider shifting to an online model.
The Director of SEO, Path Interactive, Lily Ray, also agrees with the same, as many of their clients have moved on to the online model, so, they are helping their clients to get adapted to that situation by opting to do so through video or by live streaming.
In the words of Pedro Dias, a former quality analyst at Google Search, and now the managing partner at ‘apis3’, added that the agencies, too, need to follow in the same path as the businesses – they should change their policies and adapt them to the current situation without harming the positive relationship that they have with their clients.
Looking out for smart opportunities
Even though suddenly shifting to an online model is not that easy, but Kim Voon, the CEO of Insight Online, a digital marketing agency in Auckland, advises that this is for the best – during such a crisis, it won’t do if the businesses are fussy. They should take on whatever projects that come their way – even the small projects will be a boon as it will help the customers and it will keep the businesses above water.
Even though the COVID-19 situation has given many businesses a cause for worry, according to Ray, there are many measures that the businesses can take so that they are not looking at a no-win situation. A business will only survive as long as it has demand, so, Ray suggests that the businesses should look forward to a suppressed demand shortly.
As Kassoy has rightly put it – it is all about changing the rules of the game, and coming out as the winner on the other side, but if we remain the same that we are now on the other side, then, we didn’t learn much.