The COVID-19 outbreak has paralyzed everything. What’s next for businesses?
What is COVID-19
According to the Federal Government, Canada has reported more than 324 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and Ontario has 145 alone. Talking about it may seem overwhelming for some people, but in order to prevent it, let’s give a closer look at what the Coronavirus really is. According to the World Health Organization (W.H.O.): Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
How is COVID-19 affecting the economy?
For now, the measurable impacts are small on a national scale, but they will substantially impact regions and industries across Canada. China has been the most affected country, with 3,208 deaths and 80,860 reported cases. As the world’s largest importer and manufacturer, China’s economy has become relevant for many global companies, as they rely on Chinese assets.
McKinsey & Company has predicted a “ripple effect” from supply chain disruption, which would slow down the production of familiar goods. If a business relies on a coronavirus-impacted country for production or has a significant overseas customer base, the outbreak could have a substantial negative impact on its sales and manufacturing.>
With several countries depending on China, the economic forecast seems harsh. As such, the disruption on China’s consumers and production will have broader repercussions on the global economy through weaker foreign affiliate sales, tourism spending and imports, as well as disruptions to global supply chains.
Some changes we may see:
As the number of individuals self-isolating and social distancing rises, it is apparent we will see changes in their day-to-day behaviour and patterns. As time passes, we will see the following changes:
- Increase in online traffic; more people will be on their phones. This includes researching about the virus, connecting with loved ones, working, etc. We predict Google campaigns will also become more effective during this time, due to high web traffic. It might be a good time to start brainstorming on marketing and catching up on items you left on the backburner.
- Being stuck at home can get boring, especially on the weekends. We will see a rise in streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu and more! Restaurants, bars, and the entertainment business will be hit hard.
- Businesses will push towards employees working from home. Video platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and TeamViewer will power businesses whose work can be done remotely.
- Increase in online shopping. With fewer people leaving their homes to shop, we will see a rise in eCommerce shopping from companies such as Amazon , eBay, and Kijiji etc. If you sell products and services and you do not have an eCommerce website- now is the time to start to think about creating one.
- Fewer people may leave their homes for grocery shopping. This may lead to an increase in subscription service food companies such as Uber Eats, Clean Meals, Hello Fresh, etc.
- As mortgage rates are being pushed down, a surge of people will start refinancing loans to drive down their monthly payments. For people who have just acquired new office properties, now it’s a good time to refinance your payments and mitigate debts more easily.
As the number of people staying home rises, we will see a drastic impact on companies in the following industries; restaurants, film distributors, airlines, alcohol and more. This can be a difficult time period, but we must take advantage of the resources we have available in order to boost our online impact.
How can you take care of your business?
As an employer, you should:>
- Protect your employees: Some companies are actively benchmarking their efforts against others to determine the right policies and levels of support for their people.
- Stay close to your customers: Keep in touch with your clients by letting them know the online services you offer, or if your office schedule is being affected. Doing an email campaign to inform them about your business situation, will approach you with your customers.
We understand some people such as factory workers, nurses, doctors, and police officers, have to continue to go to work. Here we listed out several recommendations that can help getting around with ease.
- Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitizer when possible
- Try to avoid hand shaking, touching your face
- Practice social distancing, stay a minimum of 1 meter away from people
- Disinfect common areas, such as telephone, door handles, computers, etc
- Stay at home when you are sick
Coronavirus might be a turnover for many industries and even for the world’s economy, but we will come out of this situation stronger than ever. We have seen heartwarming videos of Italians singing on their balconies, fitness instructors leading gym classes from their homes in Spain, and civilians designing postcards aimed at helping people to look after their neighbours if they are self-isolating. A little bit of love goes a long way! Company’s employees are recommended to stay informed about how the COVID situation evolves. The forecast can turn out to be favorable. We urge everyone to stay safe and take precautions!