Technology and Coronavirus Reshaping Business
Five Business Trends That Are Likely To Continue After Corona
The novel coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the world in just a few months, and with its onslaught, all sorts of creative ways have had to be devised in order to continue working, educating children, socializing, and maintaining some semblance of “normalcy.” The way that technology has been used to help businesses adapt to this crisis has been nothing short of revolutionary. Not only are employees, bosses, and coworkers communicating through Zoom and other similar platforms, but they are finding out just how much they can accomplish when the going gets tough.
While we are still in the midst of the pandemic and it is hard to envision exactly how it will end, that time will eventually arrive. And that means that businesses around the world will see just how much, or how little, they revert back to the way things were.
There are many different ways that businesses have been coping with the spread of the coronavirus, but I’d like to highlight five trends that have a good chance of continuing even after the corona crisis has ended.
People have been working remotely for the past two decades, but it had still not become the norm. Working from home or from places other than the conventional office had still generally been considered a second-best option, but today, that option has become many people’s only option. While balancing the demands of the workplace and the home can be difficult, many employees are suddenly enjoying the zero-commute time and the convenience of being able to work on their own schedule for the most part. In addition, employers are realizing just how much can be accomplished remotely. This manner of work has the potential to become the productive norm, and the situation surrounding the coronavirus may prove in the annals of history to be the turning point that made it happen.
All big conferences and events that were scheduled to take place from mid-March 2020 and on have either been canceled or made digital. While not all mass online events have been successful, the incentive to make them work now certainly exists, which means that a lot of time, resources, and money are being devoted to finding ways to engage participants. The ball has already started to roll, and the trend of online conferences is likely to continue even after the pandemic ends.
3D Printing and Local Sourcing
3D printing has been around since the 1980s and has been touted as an affordable way to manufacture parts and components, reducing the need to order items from other countries. 3D printing is highly adaptable and can be used for just about anything from jewelry to vital healthcare equipment. In the past, the local manufacture of supplies had not been much of an issue, since imports had been easy and affordable. Today, however, when the fragility of the global supply chain has become painfully obvious, utilizing local, affordable, and adaptable technology is crucial for businesses that wish to stay afloat.
Increased Focus on Customer Success
The coronavirus outbreak changed the focus of consumers’ needs nearly overnight. They suddenly became far less concerned with goods that they deemed superfluous or frivolous and far more concerned with what they deemed necessary for survival (toilet paper, anyone?). The need for education and essential retail products to be delivered directly to their homes required a shift from an older customer service paradigm to a newer model in which a company could more closely monitor consumer needs and be able to more rapidly meet them. While this concept is not so new per se, it had not necessarily been made a priority by many companies. That has now changed and is likely to remain that way.
Any Business That Can Go Digital, Will
If there is one thing that the coronavirus pandemic has shown us, it is the importance of being able to deliver products and services through digital means. While online shopping has certainly become more prevalent over the past decade, the digitization of a greater range of businesses will become all the more expansive. Companies that may have once prided themselves on their in-person experience will need to find ways to create that same experience online in order to stay relevant. Businesses that have not previously used social media will need to create an online presence quickly. Once digital communication channels and services have been created, they will not likely be discarded, rather upgraded further.
A Caveat About Where Technology is Going
Many countries have made use of the latest technology to help fight the virus itself. For example, robots have disinfected hospitals and delivered medical supplies, thus reducing unnecessary endangerment of healthcare professionals. However, the employment of technology to help keep people healthy has also come with a price. Legitimate objections have been raised to national and local governments using surveillance technology to enforce quarantine measures on citizens through cellphone signal tracking, drones, and cameras in the name of controlling the virus. The line between preserving liberty and acting for the greater good is a fine one, and governments would do well to take advantage of the ingenuity of small businesses and corporations to achieve as many of their objectives as possible without trampling the privacy of the individual.