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As news of the COVID-19 vaccine hits the headlines, businesses find themselves in an exciting position. Nearly a year after countless businesses had to shut down and change their operational models, they can now begin thinking about what comes after the virus. This may even include permanent transitions and changes for businesses.
That time, which won’t be until a significant enough portion of the population is vaccinated and community virus spread is virtually eliminated, could be as much as a year off, but it stands as a beacon of hope. It’s also a reminder that some things will never go back to the way they were before.
Rise of Hybrid Environments
In addition to adding new transitions and changing how we do business, the COVID-19 pandemic has done a great deal to transform our vocabularies. Words that weren’t especially relevant now appear in our day-to-day conversations. One of those newly popular words is “hybrid.”
In particular, we’ve seen the rise of hybrid classroom and hybrid workplaces, and as employers have made clear, the hybrid office is here to stay. Some staff will continue working from home, while others will return to the office. Over time, this may allow some companies to reduce their office footprint and put them in competition for the top talent, regardless of location.
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First Line of Defense
Safety and hygiene have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds for months. We all bought masks, picked up new office cleaning routines, and bought all the hand sanitizer on the shelves. These habit transitions are, of themselves, neutral and went a long way towards preventing illness when people did need to interact in person. They’re also the kind of habits that people tend to become more casual about over time. However, as the threat declines business will slowly relinquish some of these norms.
One other change we’ve seen across a wide-range of businesses in the name of avoiding disease transmission that many businesses have installed glass screens at major points of contact. For example, checkout counters and reception desks. These are likely to remain in place. They are becoming a common sight in grocery stores and accounting offices as they are in banks and medical centers.
A Spirit of Imagination
During the first weeks of the pandemic, many businesses closed down entirely, whether because they thought the closures would be short-term or because of local bans on non-essential businesses. After a time, though, many found ways to adapt with new transitions, conjuring new, creative takes on their original business models, and, best of all, loyal customers followed them.
Since then, countless businesses have spoken to the value of this creativity. It has allowed them to think about how they serve their communities in new and exciting ways. That spirit of imagination is here to say. It’s also ultimately what will transform Main Street and usher in the businesses of the future.
Many professionals have stressed that there is no “going back” to life as it was before. However they believe we’re entering a time of moving forward, which will require embracing the new and different. Surely we’ll miss some of what we leave behind. However, the good news is that there’s a lot to look forward to.
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