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COVID-19 has woven its way into the veins of society, stopping businesses in their tracks the world over.
This unprecedented event will go down as one of the most colossal global health crises in history. While it may feel difficult to extract much positivity from the Coronavirus pandemic right now, among the waves of catastrophe and uncertainty, there are glints of optimism to be found.
In times of hardship, innovation thrives, particularly in the business world. When events akin to COVID-19 occur, perspectives change and previously established trajectories forge a new path.
Here we consider the significant impact that COVID-19 is having on the business world, while looking for hints of optimism amid the chaos.
Optimism refuses to believe that the road ends without options. ― Robert H. Schuller
Change in the time of COVID-19
As cases of COVID-19 rise around the world, businesses across sectors are clawing to tackle a wealth of issues, from dwindling sales to supply chain snags.
At this time, it’s imperative that everyone remains commercially buoyant while staying safe and healthy. Which is why, when it comes to maintaining business momentum while prioritizing wellbeing, we are grateful to have digital technology on our side.
The virus has worsened forcing people into an increasingly virtual, hermit-like existence. As such, the eCommerce and essential supplies sectors such as supermarkets, domestic sanitation (Clorox, for instance, has seen a 1400% sales increase since the COVID-19 outbreak) as well as healthcare brands, are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand.
People need goods delivered to their door. Businesses that are able to oblige will continue to flourish throughout this period of chaos.
Most importantly, the unexpected nature of the outbreak means that businesses across sectors have been forced to reconsider almost every element of their core practices, models, and cultures—particularly when it comes to their employees.
In the US alone, an average of four out of 10 workers don’t have ample access to paid sick leave or similar employment benefits. Since the outbreak, however, companies and institutions of all shapes and sizes (both in the US and EU) have reconsidered their positions concerning paid leave and the provision of employee support and benefit packages.
It appears that the pandemic has started to transform business values exponentiallyand, in many ways, for the better.
Walmart, for example, has waived its attendance policy until the end of April as part of emergency measures put in place during the peak of the pandemic. And tech juggernaut Apple reportedly sent out an internal note to empower all of its staff to work from home during the outbreak while offering unlimited sick pay.
Times are tough but if nothing else, the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us that businesses across the board—especially those with forward-thinking entrepreneurial mindsets- are demonstrating an incredible level of innovation and resilience—the kind that will change the business world as we know it.
How COVID-19 will change modern business
At this point, it’s clear that there is some hope among the madness. Based on the recent responses and initiatives we’ve witnessed, permanent changes in process and attitude are coming.
Here are three core predictions for how the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to change modern business values for the better.
Trust-centric internal cultures
Company culture is perhaps the most valuable asset of any modern organization. It’s the blueprint that shapes the direction of all internal processes, values, and communicative initiatives.
The seismic internal shifts brought on by the coronavirus pandemic means that now more than ever, business owners and senior executives need to provide 100% transparency while placing trust in the hands of their employees.
Migrating to a remote workforce and finding fresh ways of communication and collaboration will ultimately foster healthier, more adaptable internal cultures — drawing new internal blueprints that will encourage innovation and recognize talent. It’s a colossal step in the right direction.
Creativity in leadership
Expanding on our previous point, professional life after COVID-19 may be a little more creative from a leadership perspective.
The magnitude of the pandemic is without doubt a testament to the fact that in business, transparency does prevail. Being upfront with everyone in an organization is the path to success.
By committing to creative, inclusive leadership, it’s possible to tap into talent across an organization and respond to issues as they arise with solutions that will serve to catalyze the success of the business.
COVID-19 has highlighted the fact that when we get creative as leaders, we can surpass expectations. Going forward, this is an approach that people are likely to celebrate across the business world.
On the other side of the commercial coin, COVID-19 has shown us that whether a brand or consumer, our health and wellbeing are interconnected.
As such, we’ve seen brands and customers working together, using shared values to help one another or more importantly, to help those in need.
A host of supermarket chains, for instance, have set up food banks to encourage customers in more comfortable positions to donate supplies while in-store in a bid to work towards the greater good.
In the UK, Tesco has opened its doors earlier to allow core healthcare staff and key workers to buy supplies for their families, asking customers to be mindful and prioritize the needs of those serving the nation during the outbreak.
This wave of brands empowering customers to be more proactive is likely to remain a trend moving forward, establishing a mindset that creates collaborative partnerships between businesses and consumers. And it is one that offers brand-boosting benefits to surpass the advantages of traditional approaches which focus on quantitative data and buyer personas.
At this point, to predict exactly what will happen as the pandemic dies down would be somewhat futile.
We are living in uncertain times, but as a budding business student, taking the time to understand the positive changes prompted by COVID-19 is important for your personal development.
Seek out the optimism hiding in the gloom, keep your finger on the pulse, continue your studies online—and when this is all blown over, success will be yours for the taking.
Speaking of studies. Read our guide to the benefits of online learning in the digital age.