As businesses adapt to the pandemic, product shortages, time delays, and new efficiencies may emerge.
Ever since sheltering in place began, many offices have adapted to remote workers. Customer service, order fulfillment and other departments coordinate projects from homes. For service industries like writing, programming, or consulting, this is pretty much transparent. Virtual collaboration software keeps employees connected.
Businesses that ship physical products must either warehouse them at home, go to the office to fill orders, or use third-party fulfillment. Such adjustments can require more interoffice courier fees. This may affect product prices or shipping rates. Constrained inventory can lead to backorders or the need to temporarily offer alternative products.
Some remote workers must split time between multiple job functions, assisting children who are remote learning, and caring for other household responsibilities. In these less-than-ideal circumstances, customer phone calls may ring longer, have extended hold times, or require voice messages. Multiply such minor inconveniences by a network of suppliers and a need for more patience is necessary.
There is no clear end to the pandemic. Nor can anyone say what getting back to “normal” will look like. Employees and customers will adapt to new ways of doing business for many months or perhaps years. Potentially some efficiencies and cost savings may emerge. It is interesting to ponder how many companies will continue working remotely, at least in part, after the pandemic.
- The pandemic forced a massive remote-work experiment. Now comes the hard part. cnn.com/2021/03/09/success/remote-work-covid-pandemic-one-year-later/index.html Retrieved 13 Mar 2021
- Photos by Garett Mizunaka and Leonard Beck from Unsplash.