The COVID-19 pandemic has hit most, if not all, countries hard. Businesses have shut down, and people's livelihoods have been affected negatively, and still, the future is uncertain. Australia is no exception, mainly due to the country's connection with the Chinese economy
However, Australia is one of the countries that has recorded a significant step in suppressing the number of corona cases over the past months. For instance, the country has had slightly over 7,400 new infections and 102 deaths, which is quite low compared to other developed nations.
Since May, Australia has had plans to ease the lockdown measures following prospects of 'flattening the curve.' However, in recent months, a rapid rise of infections has raised public concerns on the sustainability of the plans to ease the lockdown.
For instance, Dr. Brendan Murphy, the Chief medical officer in Australia on 13 June, pointed out that Victoria was recording a high community transmission rate. Presently, Victoria has been reporting an average of 18 new infections every day for the last week. This can be attributed to the lack of adherence to the set restrictions measures.
What is the State of the Numbers?
Australia has recorded the highest number of infections in the past two months. However, it has not still surpassed the peak experienced in March. Victoria now has more than 100 active cases of coronavirus.
While these are contracted in a fortnight, the situation in March was different - there were 100 new cases each day. During that period, a few hundred people were admitted to hospitals in different parts of the country, with a 25% increase in daily infections.
Even though the infections are currently rising, Australia's numbers are still below those of most countries all over the world. According to the World Health Organization, there are over 180,000 daily cases of new infections globally.
Impact of Coronavirus Outbreak on Businesses
The coronavirus pandemic is considerably a transformative global event. As the majority of individuals barely grasp the status of this pandemic, it is no secret that the business world has been highly affected. Presently, the future of businesses remains uncertain.
A large number of business leaders have to grapple with the reality of shutting down premises, staff relocation from their homes, and carrying out experiments on what ways are working out for them. Additionally, companies have to deal with the need to reduce their workforce as a means to lower operational costs.
Today, more than 1 million people are feared to have lost their jobs since the pandemic broke out. The employment of numerous staff in most Australian companies has been disrupted. For example, Woolworths has stood down 3,800 workers temporarily. The majority of small businesses, such as hairdresser shops have been closed following the announcement of the social distancing measures.
Generally, COVID-19 has had adverse impacts on the business and employment environments in Australia.
How can businesses adapt?
With all such issues, is it possible for businesses to remain afloat? Numerous business individuals are concerned about COVID-19's impact on the business landscape, even past the crisis. The main questions revolve around the use of emerging digital approaches in workplaces to help businesses remain sustainable post the crisis.
Here are several tips that can help businesses adapt for the future.
Create Business Continuity Plans
The majority of businesses in Australia have no continuity plans. Well, none imagined that a pandemic like this one would affect them as it has. With there being no guidelines, business survival is becoming not certain. While continuity may seem unimportant at these hard times, this is the most appropriate time to adapt the right continuity plans for your business.
Build a Strong Online Presence
Consistent success has made most traditional businesses more complacent. The majority of them have not worked on building a strong online presence based on the perception that customers can still find them through the old-fashioned way. However, the current situation is demanding an immediate change.
With most individuals doing business online, it is becoming the norm. Organizations that have remained with their traditional approaches to finding clients are being pushed to adapt to the online world of doing business.
The journey to building a strong online presence needs a clear plan. Therefore, organizations should engage IT experts to get the right foundation from the onset. You can make a list of top software companies in Sydney or the whole of Australia and sample them one by one to find one that best addresses your needs.
Adopt a Better Employee Dynamic
Employees in most industries have been working from home since the outbreak of the coronavirus. Even though working remotely has been there for some time, it is only now that more organizations are seeing its advantage, especially with the social distance restrictions. Remote work is highly advantageous in the long run, but there is a need for businesses to get into it with a new employee dynamic.
The remote work dynamic may be challenging for most organizations, especially where supervisors feel that employees are not working well, so they hold unnecessary meetings. A lot of significance needs to be placed on the output as opposed to the attendance.
Having the right systems and processes in place will ease the operations of most companies. For instance, organizations should adopt better platforms of communication, collaboration, sharing of files in real-time to make remote working seamless for everyone and affordable in the long run.
Post COVID-19 Recovery Process
The following are the most important steps that businesses in Australia will follow through the recovery process:
Reaction: whereas disruption of personal and professional lives has occurred, businesses are simultaneously affected. Uncertainty and volatility continue to permeate society. In such conditions, the focus should shift, ensuring limited damage to livelihoods and lives, as every business owner struggles through the unprecedented storm.
Resilience: it is expected that towards the containment of the spread of the virus, or the availability of a cure or vaccine, businesses will lose control. The majority of consumers will start returning. Nevertheless, at this stage, a large number of people will be constrained by recession fears, investment losses, and lost wages.
Recovery: the consumer and investment sentiment improve as anxiety passes. However, all organizations would follow the same recovery plan. The major factors determining the path that each business takes will depend on the capacity to minimize damage from the recession severity, length, and reaction stage, and the post-COVID-19 crisis. Moreover, the willingness to adapt will be a key factor in the success of the recovery plan.
New reality: several enduring phases will still be there past the recovery stage. At this stage, a majority of the behaviors learned from the pandemic will be central to the businesses' operations.
There is no doubt that the outbreak and spread of the coronavirus have had significant impacts on businesses, and lives not only in Australia but also in the whole world. Whatever the outcome of the crisis is likely to be, there is a need for businesses to get the necessary lessons, be highly resilient, and well prepared for future disasters.
For businesses to maintain resilience at this time, there is a need to adopt an organization-wide view, which focuses on commercial, operational, financial, and communities. Even with such an approach, business leaders should employ the right systems and processes in place to ensure the sustainability and continuity of their businesses.