Adapting business with ever changing restrictions and shifting landscape. What is the new normal? How can we recover economically post COVID-19? Will we ever be post COVID-19? Feels like we are stuck in some kind alternate reality or Groundhog Day.
We know there were some heavy causalities after the first lockdown with the hospitality, and entertainment industries hit particularly hard. You just cannot have a pint with your mates virtually nor can you share a meal then go and watch a west end show. When you think of the supply chain for all these industries it was not just them that felt the impact. We know of course some pubs and restaurants were able to adapt and start a take-out service but as humans it is the physical pleasure of breaking bread together that we all want.
There were declines in all the main UK industries, construction, manufacturing, and services. The services industry which includes hotels, food, and beverages relies on people to cross its thresholds and people to facilitate this industry, so lockdown and social distancing restrictions have been catastrophic. The entertainment industry has also suffered with theatres closing and aside from a brief panto season, some have not opened their doors in over 10 months.
There were some businesses that were able to pivot and slightly tweak their offering to reach the new online target audience. And in turn whilst doors were closing, some 85000 new ones were opening online. The fashion industry for example has really embraced online commerce finding creative ways to make up for clothes stores being closed. With an increase in online activity, it surely follows that digital transformation has taken place rapidly. Some businesses have accelerated plans that were already in place, but they would need the technology and digital systems in place to make that shift meaning the likes of Google have reported robust performance during the pandemic.
If your business was a face-to-face endeavour then ok, you cannot see clients right now, but they can still benefit from your expertise. YouTube videos, how to blogs and even Tik Toks in its bite size tutorials on everything from hair and makeup to baking are being consumed in their millions daily. If you can translate what you offer to the online space, then you can still build an audience and a market who may sign up to memberships or even courses.
There will never be a substitute for chinking glasses with your friends or sitting in a theatre as the lights dim in hushed anticipation and we will get back to that. But there are some changes they will stay and arguable they are for the better. Moving business to the online space has brought massive benefits for some. Flexible working patterns for parents and the end of the arduous commute for others have reduced stress levels and increased incomes. Remote working has another global pay off; a reduction in carbon emissions which benefits everyone.