Analysis Economics Market Overview

Business Disruption Caused by the Outbreak of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic that is traversing the entire globe has heightened internet growth, and we now find ourselves propelled in the future sooner than expected. This is well evidenced with most businesses in March 2020 finding themselves catapulted to 2025 within one month. The occurrence of this unforeseen phenomenon has spelled doom for most businesses.

However, for companies that do all or most of their operations through the internet, this has seen a period of immense growth, and they also offer services right to your home. One good example is hairdressing, which is one of the few businesses that need not worry about the long-term impact this pandemic will have on their operation. This fact is based on the number of self-administered haircuts that are happening through Zoom calls since the plague outbreak. 

How did the Coronavirus Affect the Different Businesses?

The outbreak of COVID-19 has fast-tracked most businesses’ day of reckoning, with some companies struggling a lot during this period. This includes podcast producers and video streaming services who are finding themselves rushing to add bandwidth, plus grocery and restaurant delivery companies not being able to increase capacity at a fast enough pace.

Additionally, online exercise equipment is now being offered by purveyors right to your attic and basement for you to break a sweat while in your home. For businesses such as department stores and mall operators, this pandemic has allowed them to have a snippet of how things will be in the future. For gym operators, clients who get used to working out from home may reduce how often they head over to the gym. The same goes for corner stores and small hotels which might cease operations due to the takeover by the 24-hour pharmacy or “cloud kitchen.” Nevertheless, this plague has still led to the thriving of some of the businesses that offer remote home therapies and medical diagnosis. 

job losses and recoveries from recessions
Source: Business Insider;
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics via FRED

Due to this plague, some institutions have changed how they operate in an effort to keep this running. This includes large financial institutions that are now allowing their brokers to do trades while at the comfort of their homes. Educational institutions, from prominent universities to elementary schools all over the globe, have now adopted the kitchen table and bedroom in place for the classroom and lecture hall. This also applies to hardware and software companies that are now trying to protect their workers from cyber-attacks amid a growing of security firms, which are observing for any suspicious operation in an abandoned workstation. 

What Does the Future Hold

Once business operations start to reopen gradually, the entertainment and business travel industry will have suffered a serious dent. This means that the multi-city roadshows, which are considered as an integral part of the stock offering, might be a thing of the past. The same goes for taking trips back and forth to China for around six times every year, with this number most likely needing to be halved, and video calls, in turn, get to be used a lot more frequently. Moreover, hotels and airlines will suffer for a prolonged duration, and thousands of commercial planes will either be sold for parts or get sold at fire-sale prices.   

Source: CNBC
Data: Flightradar24

Furthermore, managers will start to question whether there is a need for team members to meet in one place. They will instead be more lenient to the idea of a team member not needing to come to the office to showcase what they are working on at the moment. This, as many have discovered, would lead to improved productivity thanks to fewer social interruptions at the expense of companionship.

If you doubt whether video calls can be just as effective as personal meetings, then you should remember how the email critics argued that it would not capture the spirit and tones that an answering machine message delivered. However, this does not mean offices will cease to exist, but that future managers might be more open to the idea of their employees choosing to work from home. As a result, this would then reduce the demand for commercial office space, thereby affecting the industry permanently.

Path to Recovery

Consumers in the Western world have fewer savings compared to those in China, meaning it will take longer for them to regain their confidence. In addition to this, China’s response to this global pandemic was more effective, unlike the delayed and incompetent measures taken by the US and other western nations. Due to this, a whole generation is getting to experience firsthand what happened to their grandparents during the Great Depression. Beijing is also likely to take more measures to improve its domestic consumption due to its trade war with the US, COVID-19, as well as the desire to cultivate homegrown technology. 

Are There Any Lessons Learned?

Yes, there are two lessons this outbreak has taught political and business leaders. These are; 

  • Organizations can actually move a lot faster than it was previously thought.
  • Persons who dismissed the outbreak of COVID-19 have seen the consequences of ignoring scientific warnings about humanity’s greatest menace, that is, climate change.