There hasn’t been an industry that has been left unaffected by COVID. From manufacturing to retail, hospitality to healthcare, the pandemic has made us readjust what we value, alter our spending habits, and change the way we live and work.
In a recent study by the business consultancy firm RSM, they found that 85% of businesses saw a drop in revenue in 2020, and that key challenges businesses face have been related to financial and operating pressures. Equally severe workforce challenges have been encountered by the hospitality and tourism sector, as well as healthcare and pharmaceutical environments. In the first instance, the hospitality sector has seen around 34% of its workforce furloughed, whereas the demand for healthcare workers has grown dramatically.
While the true impact of COVID won’t be fully known for potentially years, in only 12 months it has affected business in a myriad of ways:
Technology and Telecoms
Unsurprisingly, the most immediate business impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been the disruption to supply chains. Given that China was the first country to effectively shutdown following the outbreak, this had a knock-on effect for supply chains around the globe.
As the world’s largest trader, exporting to countries around the globe this standstill had a far-reaching impact. This break in supply has caused many tech firms, including Apple, to reassess product development timelines.
The tech world was dealt another blow as a result of the pandemic when several of the most important conferences had to be cancelled, including the Mobile World Congress (MWC). The MWC is a key event in the connectivity industry, as it allows companies to share insights, predict trends, and forge new partnerships.
As people were told to stay at home they turned online. While consumers online shopping habits have been increasing in recent years, 2020 saw more and more people turning online. Even clothing sectors who have seen a massive downturn overall in sales, have seen a dramatic increase in online sales.
And with early reports suggesting that nearly a third of people expect to make more online purchases than they did before the pandemic, it’s imperative that businesses online offerings are fit for purpose, or they may end up losing out in the long-term.
Pre-pandemic remote working was virtually unheard of, with many businesses citing that it wasn’t possible for employees to work from home or out of office – and this stance has been left virtually unchallenged for decades.
However, following the closure of non-essential workplaces, not only have businesses found that their workforce can work from home, but they’re actually happier and more productive.
Not only will this adaptive way of working reduce staff turnover, but it could reduce business costs. Large office spaces will become a thing of the past, and businesses could reduce their overheads by relocating to a smaller location.