The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted consumer behavior across various industries. In turn, business owners, from those operating brick-and-mortar stores to large global corporations, had to develop innovative solutions to respond to the changes. Nobody predicted how drastic the effects the pandemic will bring to society, but there’s nowhere else to move but forward. While some are still trying to recover what the world was before, many are embracing what the post-pandemic economy will look like and are already bracing themselves to face it.
As Arizona-based venture capitalist, Ashton Eugene Thomas said, “If we had learned one thing from the pandemic, it’s that literally, everything can change at the blink of an eye.” Thomas is just one of the many industry leaders who are making improvements to their systems to cushion their companies and employees from potential crises in the future.
The pandemic also affected the workforce. While there are still a few businesses employing their people on site, many business owners have opted to have their employees work from home, keeping them safe from the health risks. The change also made many companies realize that they do not need the traditional setup to operate anymore. They can have employers working remotely from virtually anywhere on the planet.
But despite the advantages presented by the digital space for “pandemic workers,” there are many who failed to keep their employment after the massive retrenchments during the onset of the pandemic, mainly because the nature of their jobs required them to be physically present, which was generally restricted anywhere. Economic leaders across Florida are already coordinating with government leaders to address the state’s 4.7% unemployment rate and substantially decrease statistics and get people back to work.
“How the economy opens up will be crucial,” said Thomas. “To open up, the country will need employees to fill the countless number of jobs that will be created.”
Mask mandates, physical distancing protocols, and the enforced pandemic dining etiquette also affected the national economy as those from the food industry were called to close their doors to the general public. But with the ongoing vaccine rollouts, restaurants, cafes, and hotels are now anticipating a comeback. While business owners are eager to reopen their stores, they are also struggling to find employees. Experts predict that the lack of enthusiasm from the workforce to work service jobs is partly because owners fail to provide them with a “living wage.” Therefore, the food and hospitality industry, despite being allowed to operate in full capacity, is projected to struggle due to the minimal workforce.
In response, food businesses and retail establishments have popped signs asking for customer patience as they strive to cater to the ongoing economic boost. Austan Goolsbee, an economics professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and former economic adviser to former President Barack Obama, recently told NBC News to expect, “Worse service in affected industries—wait times at restaurants, retail, housing renovations, and the like.” Despite the unemployment rate, experts are predicting that the percentage will drop soon after employers understand the need to increase wages.
In an interview, Jeffrey Miron, director of economics studies at the Cato Institute, said, “The worker shortage will go away because wages will rise. And then consumer prices will follow.”