As we ended 2019, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was already among us — though most were unaware. It was not yet holding the world in a pandemic’s grip.
While I write this near the end of 2020, there are reasons to be hopeful about finally easing the effects that the pandemic has had on the world. One vaccine has already been approved and begun to be administered to essential workers like hospital staff as well as residents of long-care facilities. Those familiar with the distribution and administration plans for the COVID-19 vaccine predict that by early April, it will be available to the general public (those without underlying conditions or essential status). Assuming that the predicted timelines hold true, by “the start of the third quarter of 2021, we should be in good shape,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told CNBC in mid-December. While the national news media reports that some Americans plan to refuse the vaccine, I hold out hope that enough will become vaccinated to ensure herd immunity.
Certainly, if 2020 has taught us nothing else, it is this: Just as it is important to plan, it is important to remain flexible. Companies nimbly shifted to staffs suddenly working remotely, interruptions in the supply and delivery chain, difficulties accessing raw materials, and pivoted to produce new product to meet COVID-19-driven, untapped demand. At the same time, some production lines had to be quickly shuttered or transitioned to new products. By and large, we met each of these challenges. The skills developed in a time of need can continue to pay dividends as the world settles into the “new normal.” What does that look like for your company?