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In the Third Wave How Should Businesses Prepare Themselves?

OPINION PIECE: Ratish Pandey Business and Executive Coach

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COVID ushered in what will be recognized as the world’s worst financial catastrophe, affecting people from all walks of life. The pandemic’s breakout has been problematic in particular for India’s manufacturing sector. The second wave only exacerbated its problems, putting a severe toll on it financially and emotionally.

The rising poverty rate and receding middle class highlights the pandemic’s severity. According to the Pew Research Centre, the first wave forced 75 million Indians into poverty and this is reflected around the world.

Not surprisingly, the unemployment rate has swept into double digits. According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) statistics, the unemployment rate abruptly increased in the second and third weeks of May 2021. 

Aside from the losses, the pandemic, however, taught us many vital lessons and coached us in transforming and adapting to survive with the changing reality. After an unparalleled economic downturn in 2020, people and industries were hoping to go back to normal as life was before COVID this year but are now again trying to fight the same challenges as before but this time with the omicron variant.

 As we enter 2022, we can see the arrival of a third wave. So the real question now is, have we learnt enough to be prepared for it?

The industrial sector, which was struck severely by the pandemic and significant increase in input costs and saw a significant outflow of skilled force, has been implementing SoPs and contingency plans and making plans for other issues. One thing that’s come to light from this chaos is that if you can figure out the patterns and work your way around them, you may have a chance of winning the battle against the Coronavirus.

One of the better example for this would be the Indian Agarbathi industry, which primarily employs women, has recovered approximately 90% of its pre-COVID revenues, owing to consumers’ ongoing usage of agarbathis for worship, well-being, and aroma. They observed the consumer behavior and paved their way around it, which led them to a road of success. Here are a few aspects that you must introduce to your business if you haven’t already that will help you achieve a similar response in terms of success while battling the third wave of covid-19

Remote working- your new lifesaver 

Temporary shutdown of offices and other institutions is one of the most initial and visible signal of the spike in coronavirus cases. If not addressed with practicality, this can sadly result in permanent closure, as has been the case in the past.

Modern problems require modern solutions.

Remote working was a forced adoption when Coronavirus first raised its head. Now it’s a matter of readjustment. Wisdom lies in having staff that delivers on results, not one battling illness. So a timely decision to move teams to work from home may be the first step.

Less panic, more planning!             

Having a well-thought-out strategy to fall back on during times of upheaval is one of the most important things you can do. Devise a lockdown emergency plan. Businesses must know how to resume operations while prioritizing the safety of their employees and dealing with the aftermath of the lockdown and its immediate consequences. Decisions around if and how employees will return to offices or visit client locations while preserving social distance norms, or if a hybrid model needs to be adopted supported by adequate training on how to function effectively. 

Explore ways to build-in agility in the supply chain, make it flexible or scout for new suppliers. Reduce stocking and plan for a quicker turnaround supply chain to reduce inventory costs and overheads. Learnings from the previous lockdown must be noted and worked around to succeed. 

After all, no one knows your business as you do!

Assess your capacity and resources.

Change the way you do things in terms of health and safety. You’ll have to alter your health-and-safety procedures and norms for employees and customers. Customers are more aware and contentious. Employee’s responsibility weighs heavier on you. Accountability is the key for the organization in times like this. These initiatives may mean increased expenses; organizations need to compensate them by putting on hold certain recurrent operational costs. For example, explore if your landlord will let you postpone your rent. Are there communications costs that can be reduced? A line-by-line examination of your spending items is necessary to determine where you might save money in the short run. Saving every Rupee is crucial. Create a budget that eliminates extra costs and focuses solely on the necessities. Given the unpredictability of the pandemic, it is wise to watch expenses, a must to extend your runway to the max.

Next, plan for the recovery period of your cash flow. Minimize you Outstanding’s, ensure timely recoveries from customers. 

And at last, believe in yourself and your organization.

Author: Ratish Pandey linkedin.com/in/ratishpandey

Disclaimer

This article is part of the MEA HR Contributor Series. The author is an expert in their field and contributes to MEA HR & Learning. We are honored to feature and promote their contribution on our website. Please note that the author is not employed by MEA HR and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect official views or opinions of MEA HR.