With businesses facing unprecedented times, the pandemic is impacting supply chains, capital markets, and business operations. The business landscape has become precarious due to the uncertainty of vaccine rollouts and emerging variants of the virus. Faced with cash flow constraints and payments, a lot of businesses would have gone down the bankruptcy route had it not been for financial help provided by many, but not all countries’ governments.
A lot of businesses faced multiple operational challenges. Quite a few employees were not prepared to work from home due to lack of reliable IT equipment or IT infrastructure not being ready. Some areas had poor or saturated internet connections. Some staff were not able to travel to work due to travel restrictions or illness. People who were able to work remotely from home faced additional challenges like lack of personal space or parents having to take care of underage kids while working.
Rapid digitalization and a hasty rush towards automation can create risks. The reduction of on-site labor can expose businesses to unforeseen financial and ethical risks as socially aware customers and workforces worried about job losses become willing to take their talents elsewhere. According to a survey, workers across demographic groups have reported a missing sense of connection with colleagues.
There has also been the prevalence of mental health issues, and of women being more concerned than men about increased household responsibilities .One out of four women in a study reported becoming unemployed during the pandemic because of a lack of childcare. In August 2020, CNN ran the headline: “ Working mothers are quitting to take care of their kids, the US job market may never be the same.” COVID-19 could undo decades of meaningful progress towards gender equity.
Several types of business have been particularly vulnerable to cashflow problems stemming from the pandemic. These include businesses with low cash reserves that were already struggling with profitability and sectors such as those in tourism, hospitality, air transportation and entertainment. Production cuts and travel restrictions have also affected industries such as mining and oil and gas.
Some businesses had to decrease the number of employees through layoffs and furloughs. These changes had an impact on the operations of the business as they tried to compensate for having fewer employees. Staff cuts had been the first line of defense against financial devastation.Furloughs became unavoidable at an orthopedics clinic in Greenville when doctors in the area stopped performing elective surgeries.
Supply chain difficulties have hit some sectors harder than others. Industries that rely on goods shipped from elsewhere have faced difficulties. 30% of U.S>. building supply imports come from China. Construction companies were among the first to experience severe supply chain slowdowns. Even customers shopping on Amazon noticed an increasing number of sold-out items.