The impact COVID-19 would have on businesses was unprecedented with some industries suffering more than others.
It will come as no surprise that the sudden outbreak of COVID-19 as well as its rapid spread will change the way we work in the future as companies and organisations will want to be more prepared should a similar crisis ever happen again in the future.
However, whilst having a contingency plan in place is important, a plan doesn’t necessarily effect the daily operations of a business or its workers until an event occurs and it is important to understand how the way we work in the future will be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Perhaps one small silver lining from this incredible disaster as it will gives businesses a unique perspective on how their business coped with such a situation, providing them with data and insights that could better prepare them for such an event, should it ever happen again.
How is COVID-19 impacting different businesses?
The impact COVID-19 would have on businesses was unprecedented with some industries suffering more than others, especially those heavily reliant on physical labourers.
The construction industry, for example has faced large labour shortages, supply chain issues and financial pressures which threaten the survival of smaller companies. These issues extend to the workers who are being furloughed or temporarily made redundant.
This has led to companies making drastic changes to their contracts for customers and clients such, which as impacted in longer time frames for completion, longer payment ties of debts and the implementation of specific clauses regarding COVID-19 such as termination rights.
However these contracts are subject to both parties agreeing on the outcome as well as UK law which set out guidelines that dictate how and when contracts such as the ones discussed can be terminated in the event of a supervening event such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further measures are also being put in place due to government intervention that aim to encourage the self employed especially in labouring occupations such as construction and plumbing. The self employment income support scheme aims to grant these businesses 80% of their profit up to a cap of £2500.
COVID-19 could also impact the ability to train workers especially in regards to health and safety and other qualifications essential for certain forms of work as these training sessions often take place in large groups which are forbidden under the social distancing rules set by the government.
These issues spread across multiple businesses with non essential shops such as game stores and technology outlets being forced to close as well as manufacturers having to change production to aid the national efforts against COVID-19.
How will the way we work change as a result of COVID-19?
The way we work in the future will perhaps never be the same due to the events plaguing businesses currently. It is likely that new business contracts will have more specific clauses dictating what will occur should a supervening event occur that means a contract cannot be completed as agreed.
It is also likely that businesses will invest more heavily in technology where possible which will make it easier for operations to be completed remotely. This could lead to a rise in remote working software and video conferencing technology which have all been experiencing increased demand in recent weeks as workers are working remotely, in accordance with self isolation guidelines.
It will also mean that employees are trained on these types of software as part of their job should they need to use it for a remote working purpose as businesses attempt to ensure that all their employees are able to communicate during prolonged periods in which working from home isn’t optional.
In extreme cases rather than just changes to contracts and additional training the result of such a large pandemic could lead to a reduced amount of office based working with smaller organisations utilising remote working as part of their daily operations should they be able to.
Ultimately, whether COVID-19 changes the way you work or your business operates in the future will be dependent on how you have been affected by the current COVID-19 outbreak and it may be suitable just to have a sufficient contingency plan.
However, it is likely that businesses, such as those in the construction and tourism industry, will take more significant measures when creating new business that will ensure they are able to withstand the effects of a supervening event should one occur in the future.
The tourism industry in particular, which has been hit hard by the Coronavirus, may have to completely re-shape the way in which businesses work in this industry, as the lockdown has proven to be detrimental to many brands who can no longer operate under the current restrictions and guidelines provided by the Government.
Going forward, many industries will have to reflect on the damages caused by the pandemic and come together to create some sort of solution, should this ever happen again. As technologies and the internet advances, perhaps virtual methods will be the better option for many businesses.