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Counting the cost of Covid-19

Empty shelves in a supermarket

Empty shelves in a supermarket

I read somewhere that a major TV station was closing shop and had asked all its employees to write resignation letters before the end of the month.

That is about 50-plus workers who will be losing their jobs and will soon be on the streets hunting for new employment places. Many small businesses have closed or, rather, folded during this time of Covid-19. Many people have lost their jobs and source of livelihoods.

A lot gets to be said about the health cost of Covid-19 in regards to the number of deaths, standing at a staggering 2.72 million out of the 124 million cases reported globally, according to the World Health Organisation.

Little conversations get to be had about the economic cost, which is reported to be 0.4 per cent of a global GDP of $86.6 trillion dollars or $3.5 trillion. That has been a result of closed businesses thanks to the lockdowns, which in turn have led to a loss of jobs.

Very many small businesses are struggling to find capital to start over again since the capital they had accumulated during that time has been depleted. This has put several small enterprises out of business indefinitely, which has had a huge impact on the economy and the job market.

Many businesses have been forced to work with a smaller workforce as a measure of surviving the hard times. A business that, for example, had 50 employees and was forced to work with half that number (25) sees no need to go back to working with 50 staff. As such, businesses have reduced their wage bill and office space costs. This embracing of the new way of life has affected the individual economics of many people.

With all those losses, both for business and individuals, how would one navigate their way out of this in this new post-Covid-19 era?

It should start with physiologically coming to terms with the situation. The loss of a job or business can be detrimental to one’s mental health. Many are struggling with depression and anxiety, among other things, because of this new sad reality. The ability to mentally embrace this and look forward to forging a new path is a positive start.

Small business owners have to embrace the internet economy. For all those who thought the internet was a luxury that could be foregone, now is the time to start looking at it in a new way as the global economy moves to e-commerce.

According to Digital Commerce 360, Covid-19-related boosts in online shopping resulted in an additional $174.87 billion in e-commerce revenue in 2020. If it weren’t for the bump in online sales from the pandemic, the $861.12 billion in e-commerce sales wouldn’t have been reached until 2022. This trend is predicted to continue, meaning any small business looking to remain relevant has to get into the internet economy.

People need to learn new skills and adapt to a new work culture that will see more telecommuting, which is basically working away from office and still remaining productive. Digital skills are a must as businesses embrace technology more than before to circumvent the bottlenecks created by Covid-19. Those who will fail to adapt to the new normal will get left behind for good. 

The author is a business management and investment consultant with YOUNG TREPS.

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Comments

0 #1 Ronald 2021-04-01 13:15
If only this information could go to Matia Kasaija. There is a lifeline in the proposed 20% midterm access for NSSF contributors.

A lot of people have lost their livelihood. The likes of Kasaija and the NSSF MD dont understand this because well they will continue getting their pay. So unfortunate!!
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