Make no mistake, the events of the next few days, weeks, and months will have a lasting impact on the global economy and society as a whole. Indeed, it’s naive to think that after Coronavirus security measures are dropped things will “go back to the way they were.” In other words, business leaders and professionals alike are going to have to adapt to a new normal thanks to the coronavirus. Here, we’ll outline some of the ways that this unprecedented occurrence will likely influence how businesses – and lawmakers – act in the foreseeable future.
The Rise of Remote Employment
Even before the coronavirus pandemic, remote employment was prevalent across the American workforce. In fact, a gallup poll from 2017 determined that over 40% of professionals worked from home at least some of the time. Expect that number to rise. Not only is remote employment benefits for employees – since they enjoy more flexibility and comfort working from home – but it’s also a net positive for businesses. A study from several years ago found that if businesses allowed employees to telecommute merely half of the year, they would save, on average, $11,000 per employee.
Naturally, the increased regularity of remote employment will cause ripples that many other industries will feel. Already, investors are seeing a boom for telecommunications companies, as well as businesses that offer digital communication solutions. What’s more, it’s reasonable to expect plenty of professionals to refurbish or improve their home office setup as a result of working from home for an extended period of time.
Still, we haven’t even touched on the challenges that managers will face coordinating team members who only communicate remotely. While this could prove problematic for some businesses, remote employment will almost certainly take a massive step forward in the months and years to come.
Compensation & Benefits
Universal basic income (UBI), once considered a political non-starter by many experts, has enjoyed a renewed surge in interest because of the coronavirus. What’s more, the federal government is even implementing a form of UBI – albeit a limited one – in the new $2 trillion stimulus package. (Most Americans will receive a $1,200 check from the government within the next few months.)
Whether or not UBI eventually enters mainstream politics is still a matter of conjecture. However, what’s more likely is that workers will begin to push harder for certain compensation and benefits from their employers. Roughly 25% of American workers currently don’t have access to paid sick leave from their employer. It’s almost unthinkable that that figure will stay so high in the wake of a global pandemic.
Furthermore, unions and workers’ rights organizations are going to insist on expanded healthcare services. This is something that was happening before the coronavirus, but the events of the last few weeks will act to catalyze movement on it.
Up until recently, many modern consumers had never struggled to gain access to basic household supplies or groceries. Thanks to industry giants like Amazon, order fulfilment on virtually every imaginable product or service had reached a zenith. Now, though, customers are seeing firsthand just how difficult it can be to purchase products that they need. This is going to alter the way they spend money and shop.
Plain and simple, businesses will need to learn how to connect with a consumer base that understands the difference between essential and non-essential products. Given that fact, it behoves companies that survive the coronavirus lockdown period to conduct studies to gain crucial audience insights regarding new customer perspectives. The nature of the customer-business relationship has been dramatically altered over the past few days and weeks. And it’s not done evolving either. It is important to note that consumers are also going to remember how companies reacted during this difficult time!
Some events are so monumental and disruptive that they change the very world we inhabit. Sometimes these are geo-political occurrences like World War II or the fall of the Berlin Wall. Or, in our case, a pandemic. Nevertheless, it’s important for business leaders to understand that old practices and ideals are not going to function with the same level of effectiveness in the past. This means new ideas and fresh approaches are required. The coronavirus isn’t going to cause the end of the world, but it is going to change the way we see it.