By | Dawn Castell
Call it what you will -Coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, the Rona- the global pandemic has hit a lot of businesses hard. Many have found themselves shuttered for extended periods, transitioning to new business models, or even facing permanent closure. Through all of that, some businesses have shown how to rethink their strategy, embrace the unknown, and move forward.
1. Donating Supplies and Support to Front Line Workers
Business during this time isn’t just about driving sales. Many companies are stepping up to help provide PPE, medical devices and other items in short supply. Automakers including Tesla, Ford and General Motors switched production gears and started making ventilators. Textile companies started putting out large numbers of medical masks. If you look at Salesforce history briefly, it should come as no surprise that the company shines brightly in this area. It provided Salesforce Care as a free tool for businesses to stay connected and streamline processes. In addition, it gave more than 50 million pieces of PPE to frontline workers to help in relief and care efforts.
2. Encouraging Teleworking Where Possible
The tech and social media industry is a perfect example of how companies can implement teleworking across a broad range of positions. According to this report from the BBC, Google and FaceBook asked all of their U.S. employees to begin teleworking in early March. As part of reopening plans, they recently extended those conditions through the remainder of 2020 for positions that can be done through telework. Twitter has jumped to the forefront of remote work efforts in a big way. They announced plans to allow some employees to telework as a permanent option, perhaps showing how companies can move forward into the new normal of running a post-pandemic business.
3. Rethinking Service Delivery Options
While you may not be able to sit down and dine at your favorite restaurant, you may still be able to get delivery or take out service from them. In fact, many restaurants have begun selling meal kits, groceries and essential supplies to help stay afloat. According to this Food and Wine article, even chains like Panera Bread, Subway and California Pizza Kitchen are jumping on board.
Restaurants aren’t the only ones who have had to change up service delivery. Nearly all U.S. schools closed for part or the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. Classes transitioned to online platforms like Zoom, Google Classroom, and others. Tech devices were distributed, wifi hotspots were installed and educators got really creative with lesson delivery. Cafeteria workers packed boxed meals to be delivered to the 30 million or so kids who rely on free lunch and breakfast at school to stave off hunger. In many areas, bus drivers passed them out at regular pickup and drop off locations.
4. Offering Alternate Assignments
Instead of laying off their current staff, many businesses are choosing to transition workers to new roles. From wait staff and exotic dancers turned delivery drivers to security personnel being put in charge of social media, people have been asked to rethink their roles within businesses. After all, businesses have been forced into a constant state of flux, and many positions just simply don’t exist anymore. Whether they come back or not will depend on how well recovery efforts go, but it is anyone’s guess at this point.
5. Ramping Up Protective Measures
While many businesses are asking employees to wear masks to avoid spreading germs, some have gone a step further. Costco and Menards are a couple of the businesses requiring customers to wear face coverings, while many are strongly suggesting it. Social distancing signage and marking are now standard in most stores, with one-way aisles to avoid passing too close to other shoppers. Plexiglass or other dividers have been installed at checkout counters and self-cleaning partitions may be the innovation that allows Las Vegas casinos to reopen in the future. Many businesses have adopted alternate hours, including special times for shoppers that are at high risk of infection with the coronavirus.
Every business has had to react in a different way to adapt to the changing landscape. Overall, most efforts have been designed to keep people working, increase safety and assist with front line efforts.