Coronavirus is at the forefront of everyone’s mind, whether you’ve been directly or indirectly affected by the virus, we can agree the world has taken a hit. Family and working life have changed drastically throughout recent months and the uncertainty of not knowing when this will end has got us all agitated.

While we all react differently to the current crisis in our personal lives and cope on different levels, businesses are also feeling the strain. Essential commodities are seeing a drop in sales, despite programmes offering ideal solutions to remote working problems. The HR software market is still strong though and Cezannehr.com are providing information to help others through it as well.

source:foreignpolicy.com

It’s no secret that plenty of businesses are struggling at this time, but exactly what are these problems companies are facing during the pandemic?

Sales

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The fundamental baseline of any business, making sales, whether that be from stock or services, is the reason most companies exist.

Retail stores are witnessing a huge hit on profits, government guidelines currently mean that any non-essential stores, such as fashion and electronics, are to remain closed until otherwise stated.

Similarly, service providers, such as beauty salons and hair stylists are predicted to be one of the last locations to reopen. The impossible ability to socially distance from clients while providing these treatments is leaving business owners anxious over the future of their enterprise.

A recent study suggests a staggering half of UK retailers could result in closure if this pandemic continues over the coming months and guidelines and restrictions are not lifted.

However, it’s not all negative during lockdown. Grocery stores are seeing a huge rise in food sales, initially from the ‘stockpilers’ at the beginning of the crisis. These sales have continued to grow as more of us are cooking at home due to restaurant closures, limited deliveries and added free time to create meals from scratch.

Online sales are still strong and retail businesses are witnessing just how crucial e-commerce stores are. With furlough in place for so many employees, the government has not only safeguarded jobs but also ensured that the public are still spending to some extent.

Primark has learnt a harsh lesson during this time, the clothing giant is a staple of highstreets and has refused to move their stock online. They have not seen a drop in sales from £650m to £0 a month.

Other outlets, such as Aldi, who previously did not offer an online service, have moved stock onto their website to continue sales and protect the organization.

Remote Working

source:newscientist.com

A large number of businesses have been able to continue trading as before, but the largest difference is the absence of shared working space. More of us than ever are now working from home and while some employees are rejoicing in this new working style, business owners have had to adapt and change at an extraordinary pace.

Productivity and motivation can waver during this time and managers are having to invest time, money and resources into keeping employees focussed and happy.

Not only are businesses now having to juggle the demands of clients in a crisis alongside remote working staff, but they are also constantly having to come up with innovative solutions for new problems.

Managing payroll, timesheets and holidays has been revealed as one of the most common obstacles. Administration teams no longer have easy access to staff members and shared paperwork is almost impossible at this time.

Cloud-based HR systems are proving a solution to the pandemic. Companies that are looking for an easy solution for management tools during the lockdown and having to reinvest in new products to manage staff remotely.

However, few are purchasing new software and instead utilising systems they already have in place. Spending on software, even if essential at this time, is proving low.

Travel

source:pxfuel.com

Although public transport is available and roads are open, non-essential travel is highly discouraged. While many will argue travelling for the sake of their work is essential, others may not.

This poses issues with clients and suppliers. Despite modern technology allowing the most versatile forms of communication, sometimes there is nothing we can do to replace the face-to-face meetings.

Visiting suppliers to sign off and choose new stock or materials is not an option at this time and businesses are not always willing to take the risk ordering something that has not been seen in person.

Not only can this impact stock levels, but suppliers are also now missing out of numerous sales and leaving warehouses overstocked.

Business pitches, although still conductible over video or phone call, aren’t always as effective as before. Sales teams are losing out of potential clients due to this and leaving targets unmet.

Uncertainty

source:newscientist.com

A common theme with every business, the uncertainty of how and when this will all end has left aspects of our working world on pause.

Even the most affluent businesses at this time are reluctant to continue with any recruiting processes for fear of the unknown. Workers are now looking for new career opportunities more than ever before, due to loss of jobs or using this opportunity as a chance to change their careers.

The job market is more competitive than ever due to this, at the same time it is having to adapt to new processes for interviews and inductions with social distancing set in place.

Promotions, bonuses and career progression have been placed on hold for many employees due to the uncertainty of where the business could be in a few months time. This directly affects more than one element of a business, although cost saving in the short-term, morale within the workforces is dwindling and can be a cause for anxiety and stress at home.

Whether businesses will be deeply affected in the long-run stems down to how quickly this lockdown will be lifted, new infection numbers and how the public react to spending when everything is ‘normal’.

With a recession truly likely at the end of the summer, it’s time for businesses to think ahead and try to adapt to this new obstacle.