This discussion board is devoted to the likely aftermath and long term consequences of the coronavirus for business and society. We will be posting some reading material related to this topic in Module 12.
Effects of the Coronavirus Outbreak on Business and Society
The coronavirus outbreak has not only led to a massive loss of life globally but also altered social and economic structures in a manner that will persist for a long time. As the pandemic continues devastating communities across the globe, wealth has emerged as the best defense against catastrophes. Wealthy individuals have invested in systems that allow them to work from home to minimize interactions and avoid contracting the virus (Bonacini et al., 2021). Less wealthy individuals cannot afford to stay at home because most of them rely on daily wages to meet their basic needs. Additionally, low-income earners might not avoid interactions because most of them live in places with crowded housing. Moreover, Covid-19 has increased the health burden on low-income earners while decreasing job opportunities. Therefore, the pandemic is likely to exacerbate the economic inequality in society because the rich are amassing more wealth while the poor are suffering from high unemployment.
Besides increasing inequality, the pandemic will transform working habits in the future owing to company responses to regulations aimed at curbing the virus’s spread. At the onset of Covid-19, governments established regulations to restrict people’s movement. These rules have changed business practices, promoting working from home and demonstrating the importance of technology in the corporate world. The change from working in offices to operating from home is likely to be permanent because most employers are beginning to question the purpose of a workplace. Over time, companies will establish effective policies to facilitate working from home, making it the new norm in business. Likewise, organizations will embrace technology more to serve customers who have shifted to online shopping to decrease physical interactions.
Bonacini, L., Gallo, G., & Scicchitano, S. (2021). Working from home and income inequality: Risks of a ‘new normal’ with COVID-19. Journal of Population Economics, 34(1), 303-360.
ong Term Effects of COVID-19 on Business and Society
As we can and have seen, there have been and will continue to be long-term effects on how COVID-19 can and will impact business and society moving forward. Businesses will likely see a resurgence of possible re-closings. Depending on where you’re located in our country, many businesses that were able to re-open may have to close again due to sparks in new COVID-19 cases. While it seems more people are no becoming vaccinated, the likelihood of this is still very evident. Many companies have learned from initial closing that employee communication plans are extremely important and have since been developed. Best practices for closings and how to communicate those to employees are essential (PAYCHEX WORX, 2020).
Sadly, businesses must decide if furloughs or even permanent layoffs are necessary. Companies should be aware of the WARN Act which has federal, state and local mandates on how to go about this and it’s suggested that businesses should consult legal advice on how to proceed with this if necessary. Businesses must know how to contact unemployment agencies in the event that layoffs are immanent because workers are entitled to this benefit. Companies should also make their employees aware of possible support programs such as specialized trainings that displaced workers can get involved in to make them more marketable in the workforce.
As you can see, there is a lot of burden on businesses to do the right thing as they should. While most of these things listed protect the worker, sadly, there isn’t much that is there to protect the business owner. As we’ve all seen since this pandemic began, many businesses have closed their doors because they simply no longer can stay afloat and pay employees and keep the businesses open. The destruction of small businesses in America has been one of the most horrific losses this country has seen in recent decades.
PAYCHEX WORX. (2020, September 9). Preparing Your Business for Long-Term Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from https://www.paychex.com/articles/human-resources/preparing-business-for-effects-of-covid-19