The worst came to pass earlier in April when the United States overtook Italy as the country with the most deaths from COVID-19. Even if you follow the most optimist of analysts, there appears to be worse to come. The Fed has already announced a $2.3 trillion stimulus package for businesses and households. Yet still, the question remains: how will companies fare after the country reopens?
We’ve all seen the disastrous effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on American businesses across the country. With millions of workers filing for unemployment benefits, the current circumstances will test the strength of the American economy in a way it’s never been tested before. The Great Depression of 1929 and the Global Recession of 2008 are comparable events in history. Still, the COVID-19 crisis has a unique feature no economic disaster in history has had: there’s no clear end in sight.
The novelty of the crisis meant no government or corporate could prepare for a pandemic of this scale. Despite this, we must keep exploring the possible ways to bring life – especially business life – back to normal.
The question now is how prepared American firms are for dealing with a post-corona economy. In the first part of this two-part series, we’ll be looking at how your business should prepare for the post-corona world.
Let’s get started.
Preparing for The Post-Corona World
Although COVID-19 is a pandemic like no other, the ‘powers to be’ must now do all they can to make sure regular service resumes very quickly once this crisis is over.
Much like dealing with any disaster, different actors need to play their part to bring things back to normal. In the case of COVID-19, the two main actors are the government and private corporations.
The Government’s Role
We must give credit where it’s due. The government, or rather the Fed, seems to have taken the essential steps to curb the crisis. Including:
Offering a Stimulus Package
The Fed will be injecting a whopping $2.3 trillion into the economy to keep the wheel turning. This money will be distributed among businesses and households alike.
Lower Interest Rates
Lowering the interest rate is another great tool in the hands of the Federal Reserve to ease the pressure of economic downturns on businesses. Lower interest rates ensure people have easy access to money, and employers can afford to pay wages despite lower demand for their goods or services.
This term means that the Fed has started buying government bonds, and the government can use the money to subsidize various sectors of the economy.
In light of the steps above, few can argue against the government’s resolve to fight this pandemic. Now the corporate world needs to step forward and make a statement of intent as well.
Here’s what businesses need to do to prepare for the post-corona world:
Ensure Business Continuity
This will be an uphill task for companies whose services are deemed ‘not essential’ (tourism, restaurants, entertainment) or require extensive social interaction (education, retail).
But it is doable! For the latter type, there are two workarounds:
1) Work from home
2) Establish an online presence.
The good news? Several such businesses are already taking these steps, and the results so far have been promising.
Abate the Cash Crunch
Business leaders need to take prudent steps to keep a potential cash crunch at bay. Ensuring business continuity might not be enough, so companies need to make use of the government’s relief packages efficiently.
Blindly firing employees can seem an easy way to keep the bottom-line on P/L statements unscathed. But only the most blinkered leaders would take such steps.
Nobody can say for sure how long COVID-19 will last. But if a company fails to protect its employees now, it may never be able to compete with one’s who stand by their workers, once the epidemic subsides.
These steps will help your business prepare for the post-Corona world, but they’re just the beginning. Check out part two of this series for the next steps your business should take to prepare for the new normal.