As we were ringing in 2020, it’s safe to say that almost no one could have imagined the novel year that was virtually at our doorsteps. Like a monsoon, Covid-19 arrived, and with it a plethora of changes to not only how we live and work, but how business is conducted.
Quarantines and lockdowns became a way of life, forcing companies to transform how they operate. Office staff, sales reps, and others who were considered non-essential workers began working from home. In-person meetings and sales calls became a thing of the past, replaced by collaboration tools to boost the efficiency of virtual teams.
Even though we’re a year into the disruptions caused by the virus, the economic fallout is still being felt in virtually all corners of the world. According to a Harvard Business Review report, the downward forecast includes a 13 to 32% decline in merchandise trade, 30 to 40% reduction in foreign direct investment, and a 44 to 80% drop in international airline travel.
Although the impact continues to unfold, one has to ask: could businesses have been better prepared, what lessons can be learned, and are there any opportunities that can be realized from this once-in-a-century global pandemic?