For some people, it seems as though Covid-19 is changing everything. In many ways, that is true. Think about the pandemic’s impact on education, the arts, politics, food supply chains, and dozens of other areas.
What we want to take a moment to focus on is what Covid-19 is doing in the business arena. You can’t deny that the pandemic is changing commerce, and some of those changes will probably stick around for a long time to come.
Here are just a few ways that Covid-19 is shaking up the way companies conduct themselves.
More People Are Working from Home
More people working from home is perhaps the most obvious difference in many company policies. Employers are required by law to provide a safe workplace, and some companies don’t feel like they can do that yet. Because of this:
- They’re allowing more individuals to work from home than ever before
- Some of them are changing their fundamental business models
Many companies didn’t want employees to work from home in the past. Perhaps some bosses felt like they needed to physically keep an eye on their workers to keep them on task.
The current situation has revealed that this is an outdated way of thinking. Many individuals in different niches can work from home perfectly fine. Their employers can monitor their productivity using apps.
It seems likely that regardless of when a vaccine comes out, and things “return to normal,” working from home is here to stay.
Increased Brand Value Focus
Before the pandemic, plenty of companies tried to promote certain values. They might have done so by:
- Doing food or clothing drives
- Raising awareness about different charitable causes
- Doing community outreach work
It’s good PR to have lofty ideals. As a company, if you emphasize your philanthropic efforts, then you can draw more customers to you. They’ll feel good about supporting you if they know that you’re giving back.
In the Covid-19 era, though, there’s more emphasis on this than ever. There’s a housing and an economic crisis, with so many out of work or underemployed. People are watching what companies do more closely than ever before.
Companies that have come up with meaningful initiatives to help people right now are doing better than those who are merely paying lip service. This is also likely to continue even after the pandemic has died down.
Customer Retention Focus
With business marketing, ROI matters above all else. Businesses have finite marketing budgets, so they need to invest in strategies they feel confident will succeed.
Some of those strategies have changed in 2020. Businesses have slashed their marketing budgets, and many of them are trying to retain customers more than they’re trying to attract new ones.
This is because traditionally, new customer outreach costs more than trying to retain existing customers. It doesn’t cost as much to send out an email blast to your former buyers than to devise a new marketing campaign.
Trying to pull in one-off customers isn’t cost-effective for most businesses right now. Instead, they’re appealing to their already devoted fan base. We will see whether this trend continues after the pandemic.
Some companies are also learning about outsourcing and trying it for the first time. Because working from home is now so widespread, many businesses are realizing that they can have remote workers handle a wide variety of tasks.
For instance, some companies once insisted that their workers be in the same city as their main headquarters, even if they worked from home doing something like IT. These business entities now realize that if they cast a wider net and allow applicants from different geographic locations, they can access a broader talent pool.
If there’s someone who lives in a different city and state but is a better candidate than those who live nearby, then it is in a business’s best interest to recruit them. That might even be true for candidates residing overseas.
The pandemic and remote work proliferating are forcing some companies to think outside the box, and it benefits them to do so.
The business world is always adapting. Technology does this, but so do unforeseen challenges. While the pandemic is a tragedy, it is also creating new business paradigms. It is forcing a shakeup that you could argue is long overdue.
When Covid-19 is no longer a pressing threat, it should be fascinating to see how much or little the business world resembles what it once was.