A little over a month ago, it was business as usual. The economy was strong, the stock market was at or near all-time highs, and unemployment was at stunning lows. Then COVID-19 began to rapidly spread across the globe and dominate the media.
Everything changed, and at lightning speed.
Within a one to two-week period, millions began filing for unemployment, many companies froze their hiring, and those who were able to began working remotely.
The impact to how we do business was immediate.
In a time where partisanship continues to dominate my Facebook feed, where fear is rampant in most and complacency in the rest in regards to the current health care and economic crisis, and where negativity is literally everywhere, I’d like to point out some positive ways companies are adapting to our current situation.
Growing Trend: Curbside Pick Up & Delivery
Small to medium sized businesses are experiencing enormous hardship amidst the nationwide COVID-19 social distancing measures. For those that provide somewhat essential services, curbside pick-up is a growing option.
For those that don’t, it’ll get there.
My old employer–a regional Harley-Davidson dealership in Washington State–has been offering curbside pickup for motorcycle parts, albeit with a reduced staff.
Businesses are still taking orders, they’re just fulfilling them differently. Unfortunately, these changes likely require reduced staff. But it could also lead to employment opportunities, especially in urban areas where quick delivery could be an option.
Case in point: a friend on Facebook shared a photo yesterday of an order he placed, delivered to his door by Easy Street Records in Seattle. he got two LPs and a handful of CDs.
An Immediate Change for Restaurants
Restaurants that can afford to stay open are transitioning, ramping up takeout and delivery models. I got three notifications yesterday about MOD Pizza offering free delivery through Thursday of this week.
Others, like Legacy Hall here in Plano, are creating geo-targeted social advertising campaigns to communicate about curbside takeout availability.
Online Grocery Shopping is Expanding
Online grocery orders are finally here, and they’re expanding to more grocers as well. While the industry has struggled to take off, outside of light success at Amazon, it’s now changing real-time.
At Kroger yesterday, I saw multiple employees with carts, picking orders for customers who placed them online, by phone, or at the curb.
It was exciting to see the change, providing expanded employment opportunities for workers and filling a now essential service. Not to mention, Kroger and others are offering bonuses, raises, and expanding paid time off for its workers.
Video Hangouts Are Now Mainstream
Once a thing for nerds and freelancers, video hangouts are suddenly a huge thing. I’ve attended a few myself. People are flocking to create Zoom accounts and host friend and family game nights. Others are jumping on the Netflix Party bandwagon.
A contact I have in New York City was diagnosed with COVID-19 and has had nightly family game nights as she’s mended. Others have binged Tiger King on Netflix as a group using the Netflix Sync service Netflix Party.
And for those of you just hopping on this bandwagon, here are three hot tips for video hangouts:
- Don’t forget to mute yourself if you’re not actively talking.
- Wear pants. Everyone will see you in your underwear when inevitably you stand up to stretch.
- Make sure to bring your Conference Bingo card…
Businesses Are Stepping Up
Amidst all the negativity, all the shortages of medical supplies, all the fear, and all the desperation, there are rays of hope. Good things are happening.
Here are a few of the businesses jumping onboard to make an impact:
Estee Lauder, Diageo, and Pernod are among many makeup, fragrance companies, brewers, and distillers helping make hand sanitizer.
Ralph Lauren, Gap, Prada, and other fashion retailers are committing to make face masks and health provider garments due to the current shortage.
Ford and Dyson are just two of many companies that will help make ventilators, along with private parties who are 3D printing ventilator valves to donate as needed.
Some hotels in New York, like Four Seasons, are opening their doors free for health care providers so they don’t have to potentially expose their families.
Starbucks is giving free coffee to front line health care responders.
I’ve seen it in others–this renewed effort for self-care. I’m also experiencing it first hand, being in a new and unfamiliar place where I’m also stuck at home a lot of the time.
I’ve committed to doing the things I love. I’m committed to setting and achieving goals. Here are some things I do to ensure I stay on top of who I am and who I want to be:
Cooking: Try new recipes, cook fun meals, share favorite dishes. A friend shared a simple 4 ingredient flatbread recipe on Facebook the other day. I made it my new pizza crust.
Health & Fitness: In the past two weeks, I’ve rediscovered my love for bicycling. I have just about 60 miles under my belt in just over 10 days, and I plan to keep riding as long as the parks remain open.
It’s Time to Focus on the Good
As a society, we get caught up in the negative. We hyper focus on the bad things we see in the news, get extremely critical about political parties that aren’t our own, and shame people who view things differently or don’t abide by our own personal set of morals. In times like this, it’s even easier to get sucked down that rabbit hole. I just wanted to point out some of the good I’m seeing reported out there in the world.
With social distancing now extended through the month of April, these trends are likely to keep growing.
What trends are you seeing? What good would you like to see come out of our current situation? Let me know in the comments below.