Things You Should Know
OK Business World, We Can Do This
March 16, 2020.
That’s the day it hit me, COVID-19 was going to disrupt the business world unlike anything we had ever seen before, and our firm would need to make some quick adjustments to survive this incredible storm.
It has been a hellacious 6 weeks.
But it seems clear now, that the worst is behind us in living through the COVID-19 Pandemic.
We now have a better understanding of what the COVID-19 virus is, and in most areas the curve is flattening which has enabled the USA to avoid hospital overload, sans New York City.
The initial fear of mass deaths in the hundreds of thousands thus far has been avoided.
We are far from over in the battle against COVID-19, but as a society we are better today in terms of understanding and managing through this pandemic than we were just six weeks ago.
As an economy it is impossible to say that we are better off today than we were six weeks ago if you look solely at unemployment numbers, a lead indicator in describing economic health. Also, GDP has shrunk and the stock market has been turbulent.
But the most important economic indicator that I view as important is employer and consumer confidence. Employers drive the economy through hiring and investment and consumers drive economic activity with spending.
Based on my interaction with companies and consumers, confidence is better than it was on March 16th and it continues to improve each day.
Also, people are gradually becoming more comfortable with the adjustments that have been made in their daily lives.
As recently as a few weeks ago I was bit obstinate in putting a mask on when leaving the house, it fogged up my glasses, and it was uncomfortable. And it just seemed weird walking around in a mask. Those who know me well were not surprised by this, as I’ve never enjoyed wearing even the simplest of costumes on Halloween, just not my thing.
But now, it is no big deal to put a mask on when running out for groceries and everyone who is shopping is wearing masks as well.
OK, we can do this America.
We are adjusting to a new normal.
Americans are ready to work and want to work to provide for themselves and their families.
There is no way that we are ready to move forward to life as we knew it before COVID-19.
It’s way too early to congregate, or go to ball games, or concerts or any type of event where there is a large gathering of people in close quarters.
But we can get back to being productive at our jobs, conducting business, and opening up the economy gradually as long as we do it intelligently.
Manufacturing companies are already making physical changes in their facilities to accommodate workers, including removing every other seat in their lunchrooms, removing sinks and faucets that don’t promote social distancing, reworking manufacturing processes to keep people 6 feet apart, etc.
They are also marking locations on the floor, for people to stand when punching in to time card or vending machines.
And perhaps the most important aspect to intelligently opening the economy is accurate and readily available testing kits for people to see if they have been infected by the coronavirus. This is critical because many carriers are asymptomatic, and it will also help society understand where the pockets of infections are located.
The federal government just announced some promising news regarding testing kits, with $25B allocated for it in the next Small Business Package that goes before a congressional vote this week.
Individuals need to take seriously the disciplines that have been learned over the past two months as it relates to limiting the spread of the virus, coughing into sleeves, wearing masks and gloves, washing hands thoroughly and regularly, and keeping our distance from others when out of the home.
But as far as intelligently conducting business and opening the economy, the American business world is ready and willing to move forward.
And it won’t be long now until this happens.
We are ready.