Corona Pandemic- A Boon or a curse to the business sector?
Every coin has its two faces and such is the case for the on-going Corona Pandemic as well.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, a large number of people died and are hugely infected around the globe. Educational institutions are closed, the healthcare system is overloaded, companies are facing a huge loss, stock markets collapse and millions are being spent to combat this pandemic. Directly or indirectly, COVID-19 is a huge stressor shaking up our psyche, triggering our fears and uncertainties.
Amidst the losses and the ill-effects, the Mother Earth got a precious and vital timeframe to heal itself. The satellite images from NASA are the evident proofs for the decline in pollution worldwide and the healing of the ozone layer. The cities are cleaner than ever and we witness the chirping of birds throughout the day. As the Monty Python song goes, “Always look on the bright side of life” let’s not forget those and make the best of what the crisis gives us.
In today’s fast-moving world and an overheated economy, time is often the most priceless and sparse thing we have. People have been often stacking weeks after weeks for social gatherings, entertainment means such as going to the theater, clubs, etc. and numerous other activities. Suddenly, all of that has come to a stop and people are able to give a much-required break to themselves and spend the valuable time with their loved ones and family members.
The lockdown around the world and the pandemic gave us the opportunity to work from home which meant flexible hours and better productivity. Many organizations suffer from slow procedures, complex bureaucracies and rigid hierarchies making organizational life less pleasant. The coronavirus has forced many of them to break through these rigid systems and act instantly. Employees are allowed to work from home without direct supervision and still, life goes on.
The pandemic brought an opportunity to the people to make use of social media platforms on a larger scale and digital media platforms flourished on a large scale as people were quarantined. Taking the organization to the digital platform presented innumerable advantages. For instance, in Wuhan, the cosmetics company Lin Qingxuan closed 40% of its stores- but the brand’s 100+ beauty advisors took to the digital platforms to engage customers virtually and increase the number of sales. “As a result, its sales in Wuhan achieved 200% growth compared to the prior year’s sales”, writes Harvard Business Review.
To combat bankruptcy, the most promising option seems to be a short-time work allowance. This approach, which has been tried and tested in Germany, compensates for the underemployment of the workforce through the same channels which are already used for unemployment insurance.
Epidemics and pandemics are hence both a standalone business risk as well as an amplifier of existing trends and vulnerabilities. In the long run, COVID-19 may serve as another reason- besides protectionist regulations and energy efficiency needs- for companies to reassess their supply chain exposure to outbreak-prone regions.
Businesses may also have to contend with intensifying political, economic, and health security risks. Beyond standard concerns related to business operational continuity, employee protection, and market preservation, businesses and countries should take a fresh look at their exposure to complex and evolving inter-dependencies that could compound the effects of pandemic and other crises. So is the COVID-19 a serious wake-up call for the entire world?