One of the reasons why COVID hit businesses so hard is lack of preparation. Many people acknowledged the risks of a contagious outbreak in the years before the pandemic, but few companies really prepared themselves for the possibility. After a couple years of experience, most businesses have changed their attitude. Now, they need to know what the future may hold and what to expect next.
New variants and outbreaks can develop quickly, which means a full or partial shutdown could happen at any time while the pandemic continues. That means businesses need to have an official and definite plan for shifting into different gears if there is a major shift in infection trends or government containment requirements. Get infrastructure in place to shift to remote work, online ordering or social distancing as appropriate in your workplace.
Don’t get sick of COVID-19 testing just yet. Employers should keep these on hand for employees and encourage proper, prudent use of kits. Obviously you don’t want people testing all the time, but you don’t want to discourage testing when it might be needed either. Educate employees about expectations regarding personal accountability for monitoring exposure and seeking testing when appropriate.
It’s possible that everyone will go back to normal soon, but it’s also possible that it won’t. Business leaders and owners need to think about what they will do if the current pandemic situation continues for several more years or more. This kind of brainstorming and strategic development also doubles as preparation for other pandemics that may arise after COVID as well. At the very least, a substantial number of people will pursue higher levels of personal sanitation, social distancing, and other pandemic safety practices for the immediate future.
Despite the many negative consequences that COVID had on businesses, it did provide a unique incentive to innovate in certain areas. For example, adopting and embracing remote work has forever changed the way some professions and industries operate. Ultimately, this kind of change can really help businesses grow by removing some of the limitations that bound leadership’s thinking and corporate policies.
You can’t predict the future perfectly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be ready for surprises. No one knows exactly how the COVID situation will go or how long it will continue. All companies can do is make educated guesses and focus on being ready for the likely outcomes.
Bio: Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700