How Has 2020 Global Pandemics Transformed Businesses
If a movie and book enthusiast was asked to describe 2020, chances are, you might hear “Written by Stephen Kings and Directed by Quentin Tarantino”. The reason for this is that this has been one hell of a ride.
Apart from dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic, most of the entire world was thrown into a protest sparked by the death of George Floyd, an African American. So, along with the pandemic which required us to stay home, people had to deal with the Black Lives Matter protests as well.
With all of these happenings, a lot of our lives were affected one way or the order. An aspect of lives that was most touched by these happenings was the business aspect. From the Coronavirus to the black lives matter event, all of them in their own way affected how the business world operates.
Business as we knew it is no longer as we know it. The 2020 global pandemics (yes, pandemics, the “black lives matter protests” qualifies as one, judging from what sparked it and all that happened around it) transformed businesses greatly.
Let us look at how.
How did the coronavirus pandemic transform businesses?
Before the virus happened, businesses had a 2020 projection, everyone had a plan, a strategy in place for how the business will run. All was going well until the pandemic hit, and the solution that came up was that we all had to go into emergency lockdown. This meant businesses that were not health or food providers had to shut down, and even some food and grocery providing businesses had to shut down.
Here are a few stats on how businesses were affected and are still affected by the pandemic; research done by salesforce on small and medium canadian businesses stated that 30% of the businesses which closed down do not feel prepared to return. 44% said they could not meet up to the new safety and health requirements as they do not have plans in place for that. 20% said that the technology required to operate business post covid, they do not possess and 24% do not just know where to begin after all these months of shut down. It would seem the business world had moved on without them.
Now, while these negative effects hit these businesses, a transformation happened too. The aspect of smart work which required doing more and spending less was employed, as companies settled now for remote options. Staff members whose jobs could be done from the comfort of their homes no longer had to show up at work. Meetings that usually involved a few people in a boardroom could now include more people on Zoom.
Zoom as a video conferencing app, between March and April (peak of lockdown) recorded more than 300million meetings held. Companies realized that the time it will take them to beat traffic, get to meetings, practice social distancing, and carry out the meeting could be saved. All the participants had to do was sign up to Zoom and have the meeting.
Businesses were not prepared for this hit, and there was no amount of reaction or contingency plan that could come in place to properly mitigate the damage done by the pandemic on businesses. However, because of this, companies have learned now to be more proactive, rather than reactive.
Now, companies are learning to set in place a contingency plan that not only protects the interest of the business but the staff. The reason for this is that while businesses were struggling to save themselves, the employees were left in the cold. There was no plan for them.
Employees have been asking for remote work for a while, and it was seen as a plan that was not feasible, that has changed now.
How did black lives matter protests transform businesses?
After the rather controversial death of George Floyd, protests were held in every continent in the world except Antarctica. Over 60 countries got involved in these protests. Apart from America and Canada, some of the other countries which got involved include; Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Senegal, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Iran, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Israel, Armenia, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Sweden, United Kingdom, Norway…
It is safe to say that every country in the world, which had black people, had a protest. People suddenly forgot that they were required to stay home, donned masks, and took to the streets.
Racism was said to be a pandemic bigger than COVID-19. You may be wondering what businesses had to do with this. While some big businesses came online to show solidarity to the black lives matter protest, other businesses like Reddit, took more drastic decisions, with the co-founder Alexis Ohanian stepping down from his position to let a black person take over.
The protests gave an opening for inhouse racism in companies to reduce, as black people were stepping up. Black businesses got more publicity and sales.
More importantly, on tuesday 18th september 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the federal government, in conjunction with 8 financial institutions, have made available the sum of $221million, to help black businesses in the country. According to him, the pandemic had made obvious the systemic barriers that black Canadians were facing, and in a bid to create a recovery system that was both “inclusive and equitable for all Canadians” this was put in place.
This will make it easy for small black businesses to access the loans they need for their businesses to move forward, and reduce the struggle back people suffer in the business world.
It is safe to say now that, due to these protests, the business world transformed into something close to a conducive environment for black people to thrive easily.
While it is funny that it took near-disasters for these transformations to happen, the transformations did happen, and for that, the world has a seemingly small piece of this chaotic year to be grateful for.
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