What is COVID-19 and How Has It Affected Us?
COVID-19, a term used to describe the pandemic happened in 2020 all over the world.
The most searched word at the moment and the dreaded word in almost every one's mind.
So what is COVID-19? and what has it done to change mankind thus far?
COVID-19 or Coronavirus as we initially called this virus, or some people referred to it as Wuhan Virus, since it was from the City of Wuhan in China.
Effects of COVID-19
Because of this virus, it changed a lot of things in this world,
- force human to make changes, and
- discard their usual lifestyle,
- some businesses even had to change their mode of operation, and
- some were forced to close down being badly affected by this.
Governments all over the world initially treated it as just another flu type of virus and some were ill prepared for this, eventually every country decided to follow China's way of dealing with this pandemic by locking down the whole city.
Lock Down, Restricted Movement Stay Home Order, Circuit Breaker
To deal with the human traffic so as to curb the spread of this COVID-19 pandemic, there are so many names or terms used, such as:
- Locking down the city,
- restricted movement,
- stay home order or
- circuit breaker as Singapore decided to have a more subtle name for their action.
One of the lock down effect was the closing of border, and this restricted the movement of people from one country to another, even for country with proximity like between Malaysia and Singapore, which was linked by a causeway,
One the busiest border crossing in the world, whereby at least 300,000 used the causeway to move either way between the two countries, it was practically deserted during the MCO (Movement Control Order), the term used by Malaysia, and Circuit Breaker, the term used by Singapore.
Industries Affected By Lock Down
The first industry badly hit by this closing of borders is the airline, most of the airlines decided to cancel their flights, and have the air crafts grounded, the only flight operating was mostly the cargo plane, which carried the essential goods from one country to another.
What To Expect Post COVID-19?
Now people are talking about post COVID-19, what is going to happen, and what can we learn from it.
SARS had some impact on human.
When at the height of it, people were talking about being hygienic and so on.
Cleanliness was the top priority, even in some restaurants, they would not have the cutlery on the table until the customers were at the table, places like Pizza Hut used to have the fork and knife on the table, even though there were no customers, but during SARS, they decided to keep all the forks and knife.
And now COVID-19, the situation was worse, restaurants had to close and only allowed takeaway.
Luckily with the advance of technology, and the emergence of APP, people can now order food online, and APP to search for food delivery, and most of the food outlets decided to work with the delivery companies, this is to ensure they still have customers during this challenging time.
Work From Home
Work from home became a norm for most of the companies.
This may become the norm even after post COVID-19, this will definitely affect the office building owners, as their office rental incomes may be badly affected post COVID-19.
Once the lease period expired, some companies may review the need, and decide to cut down the size of the office space, since most companies have already had ample practices during the lock down, and work from home for few months, this will help the companies to save quite a substantial amounts on rental payment for office space.
With the reduced office space, less electricity consumed, less office stationery used, the productivity of the staffs may improve also, it may also help to improve work life balance, especially in Asia countries, whereby working long hours in office is the norm.
Adapt & Innovate
Business will have to adapt to the new norm in operating their businesses, after learning from the lock down and making changes during the lock down, if the businesses are not prepared to deal with the new norm, they will be phased out post COVID-19.
The one which can adapt faster and be prepared during the lock down, and hit the ground running after the lock down, will be the one which will gain more and achieve a greater height.
“Times and conditions change so rapidly, that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future” – Walt Disney
Even though times are bad, and difficult for most of us, especially those in business, when COVID-19 affected every one in one way or another, however, this not the time to cry and whine about it, so much uncertainty about the future, and how to survive in this uncomfortable situation, we have to start taking stock of the situation, and learn something from this, the earlier we accept this, and move on and start making changes, innovate and adapt to the new norm, the earlier we come out victorious and stronger, to face the challenges ahead.
To move forward, we need to make profound changes, and move out of our comfort zone and innovate.
In scientific term, as stated by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn, a concept called Paradigm Shift, which means a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline.
We can relate the changes we need to make to survive COVID-19 as a paradigm shift, since we need to make a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of ways we do our works and live our life.
What Businesses Should We Do In Case We Want To Start A New Business?
During the lock down or Circuit Breaker as in Singapore, only certain businesses are allowed to continue to open, the rest needed to work from home or shut down completely.
Businesses involved in food and beverage, basic groceries, logistic, medical supply, health care, waste management, transport and telecommunication business are still open during the lock down.
Food stalls, fruits stalls, vegetable and meat sellers are doing brisk business during the lock down.
Super markets and groceries shops are also doing good business during the lock down because people still need to buy the necessities.
Restaurants, coffee shops and hawkers center operated in the following manners:
- can only cater for people who buy foods for take away, and
- no dine in is allowed, and
- this created good business for delivery people.
For manufacturing entities, during COVID-19, it is obvious that those involved in health care and medical supply businesses are in great demand.
Factories involved in manufacturing surgical masks, disinfectant, gloves, medical PPE, ventilators and medicine were operating during the lock down.
On the other hand, those in other types of manufacturing which are not essential would have to stop operation.
We can see from this lock down, what types of businesses still need to operate, and no need to take forced rest.
What Types Of Businesses Are Badly Affected?
COVID-19 affected Hotels business badly since the borders are close, travelers could not cross over from another country, if the lock down last few months, the hoteliers will have problem surviving unless they have a lot of cash reserves.
What about Transport business like taxi and buses?
Fewer people were taking the transport because of the stay home orders, they will only ferry the people who are in the essential business.
As mentioned earlier, one of the badly hit is the airline, no cross border traveling mean the airline need to ground their planes and in the case of Singapore Airlines (SIA), SIA re-designated some of their crews to help out in hospitals, to attend to those who were not in emergency medical care, this is to enable the professional and trained nurses to attend to COVID-19 related cases.
What Can We Look Forward To Post COVID-19?
1. Change of business model
If the business wants to survive post COVID-19, what do they need to do?
- They need to innovate and
- adapt to the new norm, and
- adjust the business model,
- take action and
- create results
- instead of stand still or
- shut down completely and
- blame the pandemic for the chaos.
2. Prepare for the future
In time of crisis like what COVID-19 has created, it is important that business people
- show some better character in this high stakes challenge, and
- focus on objectives that can produce results.
And here I quote the Singapore Minister favorite words – to think two steps ahead, we also need to set long term goals in order to meet the uncertainty and challenges ahead.
3. Embracing new digital solutions and technology
This is the time
- to review and
- analyze what we have been doing, and
- make adjustments and
- so that we can be well-prepared for the future and
- no time to whine on the losses and
- lost opportunities.
4. Have a good game plan
Post COVID-19, we must have
- a good game plan
- so that we can focus on our primary objectives and
- focus on our secondary objectives,
- prioritize key initiatives and
- take action
- to ensure we meet the clear targets despite the uncertainty and so many unknown factors.
We learn along the ways, and make amends, so that we do not lose our focus on the task ahead.
Just like what Sir Winston Churchill said “ Don’t let your crisis go to waste!!”
You may also wish to read and learn about COVID-19 in my post, please HERE
If you have any questions or wish to share your experience on this topic.
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I would be glad to get back to you and thank you for your feedback, comments and sharing of your experience.