From Surviving to Thriving, Businesses Must Adapt in a Post-Covid World
Many companies struggled in 2019 having operated through the troubled times of a US-China trade war, the destabilization in Europe caused by Brexit, tensions in the Persian Gulf, protests on US streets and the congressional impeachment of a US President. However, 2020 saw chaos on an entirely new level.
No one alive has lived through a more serious pandemic, one that has taken millions of lives and has affected hundreds of millions more. It started off in late 2019 with initial reports indicating that a potential virus was on the loose. The reports were serious, but from far away places, like in the US, many of us didn’t realize how contagious and deadly the virus would be.
The early months of 2020 saw the threat grow, but few could predict the disparate reactions from state and federal government officials. In late January travel restrictions went into effect. On February 3rd the Trump Administration declared a Public Health Emergency. Subsequently on March 19th California enacted the first Stay-At-Home order followed quickly by the state of New York. It was at this point that many businesses realized how vulnerable they were.
Suddenly businesses found themselves shut down, displaced or struggling to serve their customers in an environment never before seen or imagined. Consumer priorities changed, causing behavioral shifts and forcing some businesses to collapse while others exploded. It happened fast, and to survive businesses needed to quickly adapt to the new normal.
While speed is key, businesses must rethink their strategies to position themselves for long-term, stable growth. The post-covid mindset of workers and consumers will drive change. Employees who used to work from an office have gotten comfortable with working from home. Consumers who used to shop at retail locations have been introduced to the convenience of ecommerce. Perspectives have evolved, risk aversion became elevated and online activity dramatically increased.
Businesses must rethink and rebuild operational structure to create agility and resilience. Rethink and embrace the future of work. Reimagine competitive advantages. Coming out of this crisis, businesses must answer important questions about growth and sustainability.
Three factors will be vitally important: the ability to incorporate data and analytics into decision making, the creation of models which support both individual and institutional growth and learning, and the support of an inclusive organizational culture that fosters value for employees and their consumers.
Lastly, businesses must accept and invest in digital adoption and expansion. We were on that path already, but COVID has forced digital awareness and use far sooner than what was predicted pre-pandemic. An example is the education sector; schools cannot avoid the fact that they now must have the ability to support distance learning.
The world has changed and businesses that survive and thrive will be those which have adapted, quickly and effectively.
By: Jason Vernier