Over 1,000,000 infections, and 54,000+ deaths. Those are the COVID-19 figures as of April 3rd, 2020. The disease has spread to every continent and impacted 203 countries. In Italy alone, there have been 110,574 infections and 13,155 deaths. The whole world is alarmed and in disarray. People are fighting for toilet paper in supermarkets, and a man broke his leg after getting caught up in a shopping stampede in the UK. People are stockpiling food and cutting on unnecessary spending while many are working from home. Stock markets all over the globe have crushed, and oil prices are seeing an all-time low in 18 years. The world looks like a madhouse. The pandemic has impacted businesses in many ways that governments are in shock and are looking for ways to stimulate markets and their economies. This article looks into how the coronavirus has impacted businesses all over the world.
Companies are laying off employees faster than COVID-19 is spreading. Because of the pandemic, governments all over the world are implementing lockdowns in major cities and, in some cases, in whole nations. For instance, China and Italy have experienced a total lockdown. As a result, tourism has been the most affected industry because no one is traveling. The fear of getting infected is real. So many tourism companies were the first to lay off employees when the shutting down of borders and cities started. Toward the end of March, Tourism Calgary laid off 60% of its employees.
All the other industries have also been impacted in some way. Bird, an electric scooter startup, has laid off about 406 employees since the pandemic began. Air Canada and Indigo have laid off 16,500 and 5,200 workers, respectively. Sungevity had to let go of 400 workers. This is just the tip of the iceberg as many companies have done the same, and more are making lay off plans.
Companies want to save as much money as possible so that they can spend less, operate for longer, and survive the pandemic. Many firms are furloughing employees instead of laying them off. This means that staff members will be temporarily on leave until the crisis ends. Scandinavian Airlines, Marriott International, GE, and Macy’s are some of the companies that are furloughing thousands of employees. This makes a lot of business sense. And because companies want to resume as fast as possible once the pandemic is over, furloughing is a good option for businesses.
But is this option favorable to employees? Yes and No. Yes, because no one wants to be unemployed. There is comfort in knowing that once the storm passes, there will be a job to go to. No, because unemployment means no income, and people need to pay their bills. To solve this issue, governments are coming through for furloughed employees. The UK government is paying all furloughed employees 80% of their salaries for up to 2,500 pounds. But this will last for three months only. The US government is following suit by funding companies to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. Sweden, France, Denmark, Australia, and China have offered similar stimulus packages.
Working Remotely and Using Remote Software
Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and Google have one thing in common at the moment. They are implementing remote work policies at scale. COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of workers to work from home. While millions of freelancers have been doing this for over a decade, it is the first time in history that every company is considering having their employees work remotely. Marketers, accountants, secretaries, and all other workers who use computers to do their jobs can now work from home. Whereas the pandemic might leave factory workers, construction employees, and other manual laborers without jobs, professionals like doctors, psychiatrists, and consultants can use technology to offer services to their clients. But what technology?
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello, and Skype are some of the tools of collaboration that employers are using to maintain teamwork during quarantine and what service professionals are using to serve their clients. Microsoft Teams and Slack are useful chat apps that teams can use to maintain constant communication among themselves. They are also efficient when it comes to project management, which is an aspect where Trello excels as well. And what about Zoom and Skype? Video conferencing at its best; Zoom and Skype enable employers and employees to video chat and maintain cohesion during remote working. These tools have also proven useful in telemedicine. Cloud computing has made all this possible. Check https://bizdig.co for cloud solutions to help your business in any environment.
Disruption in Supply Chains
Due to the current ban on travel as well as countrywide lockdowns, supply chains are being disrupted. For instance, many industries depend on Chinese factories for raw materials and stock for their businesses. This is because China is the leading manufacturer of most goods in the world, with 33% of all manufacturing done there.
Due to the lockdown in China, many businesses face a shortage of stock and raw materials because factories in China have been non-operational. Examples of big companies that have been impacted by the lockdown in China include Nissan and JCB.
Due to massive layoffs, consumers will not have money to spend. Also, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing consumers to cut back on expenditure so that they can save for an uncertain future. Economies are built on consumer spending, which means that there will be a drop in economic growth this year. Businesses are having a hard time remaining afloat, and some will even file for bankruptcy.
From layoffs and furloughing of employees to supply chain disruption and recession, businesses are undoubtedly facing a hard time this year. At least technology is one thing companies are thankful for. Because of tools like Zoom and Slack, employees don’t need to show up at work. This prevents the spread of the pandemic and ensures that businesses keep running. Many businesses are, however, unable to keep employees in their payroll, even remotely. But at least many governments are doing their best to see to it that their citizens have a payslip and businesses continue to operate in the short run. But the uncertainty is still there. With the first human vaccine trial projected to take place in 5 months, what happens in the long-run?