Ideally, change is a process that is meticulously plotted out in a blueprint of exacting step-by-step detail. Yet it’s the unanticipated gusts of change — and, more specifically, how we respond to them — that showcase our adaptability and instinct of survival. Whispers of those changing winds could be heard in the first months of 2020, but no one was quite prepared to how swiftly the storm of the coronavirus pandemic would upend business as usual. Still, despite the chaos, there were shining examples demonstrating that a little ingenuity remains the cornerstone to success.
Kicked to the Curbside
The restaurant industry took a massive body blow when indoor dining options were completely shuttered. Yet instead of shrinking in the face of financial devastation, many owners made a brisk heel pivot toward curbside pickup and delivery services to weather the shifting tides. The quick adaptation to an alternative kept many in the industry afloat and allowed them to continue to meet the needs of patrons until limited in-house dining options returned. And for those still wary of gathering in crowds of any size, delivery and pickup options remained a safe harbor.
Expending Online Offerings
Small retailers have always honed their edge on the personalized and custom service for patrons that can’t be found in big-box offerings. Yet when COVID shut the doors of these establishments, many small-business owners found the incentive that gave them the push to new opportunities online. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the coronavirus prompted a 44% spike in online sales over 2019, and smaller retailers began to take their first steps into the world of digital sales — with many business owners finding that the years spent crafting exceptional customer service proved to be a key in e-commerce success.
Finally a Use for that Home Office
Instead of just being that extra storage area where random boxes get tossed until they can be properly put away and off-season clothes get piled until you make room in the closet, home offices actually got dusted off used for their original intended purpose as many businesses implemented work-from-home initiatives for employees. To the surprise of many employers, productivity did not diminish when the taskmaster wasn’t constantly looking over their collective shoulder. In fact, some found that a remote working option increased focus among staff — which says a lot about the time spent on water-cooler gossip.
Age Has Its Benefits
For an unfortunate spell, grocery shopping in the pandemic world was a bit akin to the fictional post-apocalyptic dystopia typically reserved for the “Mad Max” films: shelves more bare than an Artic landscape, widespread hoarding of the most mind-boggling consumer goods and just an all-around every-man-for-himself sentiment. Thankfully some major chains decided that the restoration of a little sanity and compassion was in order. The creation of special shopping hours for one of the most vulnerable populations allowed seniors to purchase their necessities safety and without the additional layer of madness from the masses.
It’s Like Recess for Adults
Health enthusiasts tapped into their inner child during the pandemic, using the lockdown to rediscover the joys of being let loose outdoors to roam free at recess. However, instead of getting their allotted daily regime of exercise through kickball and tag, they returned to running, biking or other activities that can be done in solitude. For those more comfortable in the group setting, gyms and fitness centers provided simulated outlets through livestreamed group workouts or — if space permitted — moved entire in-person classes to the socially distanced safety of an outdoor parking lot.