The COVID-19 pandemic has created waves in every industry since it first emerged. More than a year later, many businesses are still feeling the effects. While a few industries have experienced a boom during the pandemic, most have dealt with reduced revenue, supply chain issues, and other problems.
So, how are things going now? Which types of businesses have seen the most impact from COVID-19, and which are mostly back to business as usual? What can we expect post-pandemic businesses to look like?
Even with more than a year of hindsight, we still don’t know for certain what the future will hold. However, we do know how businesses are getting along moving into the end of 2021. Here are some of the changes that have occurred in the last year.
Supply Chain Shortages
With lockdowns occurring all over the world in 2020, production slowed down immensely for a while, even in essential industries. Since China was the first region to be hit hard by the virus, many factories were forced to temporarily shut down, leading to shortages. This has led to a lasting ripple effect, and many businesses are still struggling with supply chain issues.
On top of that, consumer habits changed and demand for certain goods went up during the pandemic. Panic buying and stockpiling, bored people at home, and more time for activities like home renovations shook up the supply chains in many ways. We are still seeing inflated prices and scarcity on many items even late in 2021.
Rural Hospital Closures & the Public Health Crisis
Nearly every region in the world has been impacted by COVID-19. Even people living in rural areas can contract the disease, and with the public health crisis, many rural hospitals have been unable to meet demand. Some hospitals have even had to close during the crisis.
Hospital closures have hit the healthcare industry hard. They have had to push back elective procedures that provide revenue and struggle to keep up with the influx of COVID patients. With rural hospital closures, urban hospitals have additional burdens and patients must travel long distances for care.
HR: Remote Work Facilitation, and Crisis Management
Even businesses that can operate remotely have not escaped fully unscathed. Human resources departments have struggled to develop new COVID-friendly policies and to balance a hybrid work setup. Facilitating remote work can be complex and many HR teams were not prepared for a crisis of this scale.
Moving forward, it’s likely that more businesses will create crisis management plans for HR and implement remote work infrastructure for their post-pandemic businesses, even if most employees end up back in the office for the majority of their work hours. After being caught off-guard, many businesses are rethinking how their daily operations function, especially as we now have the technology for effective remote work.
Relief, Recovery, and the Race Against Time
Small businesses were hit especially hard during the pandemic. Many did not have much in the way of cash reserves and struggled to find relief or funding options during the lockdown periods. Unfortunately, even the businesses that have survived are facing a long road to recovery—if they can stay open at all post-pandemic.
Industry has a lot to do with how businesses are or aren’t recovering quickly. It’s a race against time for many small businesses to keep their doors open until the full recovery has been realized. It is estimated that some industries won’t recover for at least 5 years, which could push some businesses to the breaking point.
The good news is that as of February 2021, just 2% of small businesses in the United States closed due to COVID, according to SmartAsset. Still, revenues have dropped and many businesses are still not out of the woods yet.
Supporting Your Favorite Businesses
Right now, the best thing you can do to support the business community is to buy from your favorite small businesses as much as you can. As the economy slowly begins to recover from the COVID-19 disruptions, local businesses need your support more than ever. By supporting your favorite small businesses, you’ll be putting money back into your community, benefitting your neighbors, and helping the economy recover from a devastating blow.
Guest Author Bio
With a Bachelor’s in Health Science along with an MBA, Sarah Daren has a wealth of knowledge within both the health and business sectors. Her expertise in scaling and identifying ways tech can improve the lives of others has led Sarah to be a consultant for a number of startup businesses, most prominently in the wellness industry, wearable technology and health education. She implements her health knowledge into every aspect of her life with a focus on making America a healthier and safer place for future generations to come.