As we have all seen from the happenings of this strange year in 2020, there are a number of negative effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives, and millions of people that have lost income streams and jobs. These are serious and depressing news stories. Then there are the other issues that may be related to people that are tired of being quarantined in their homes that they take risks that they don't realize when they return to the "public lifestyle". So, what are the positives so far from this pandemic? I started to think about this the other day and came up with several positives when I thought about how ReliAscent has reacted to the pandemic. I'm sure if you stop and think, you will realize the same in areas that are close to you.
The first thing I thought of was the increased focus on communication. In our 21st century world we are constantly increasing our capability to communicate with each other and yet it seems that good communication is a lost art. With the pandemic, we were forced to communicate using new tools and learn how to use these new tools more effectively. I'm speaking mainly of video conferencing. It has been available for some time but I don't think was used effectively until everyone was forced to work from home and this became the main form of communication. I know at ReliAscent we have used tools like GoToMeeting® and Microsoft Teams® for years but mainly to share screens of computer data. We have learned to become more efficient at these tools and incorporate video conferencing at the same time to enhance the communication and message. With daily news broadcasts and live TV shows such as the Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live and others leading the way, the country is learning to communicate more effectively. Is it a "finished product"? Of course not but I would say effective communication has taken a giant step forward in the last 6 months.
Another positive that I see is the ability for industry to quickly adapt to society's needs in an emergency. We see companies like Ford Motor company switching automotive production lines to making needed medical equipment. Or the specialty ski manufacturer in Utah that retooled their production line to make PPE masks. Or the brew pub in New York City that switched from brewing batches of craft beer to cooking up disinfectant. There are many more examples. The speed at which the US industry was able to adapt to these needs and produce products that were critical was impressive. At ReliAscent, we were able to adapt and help small businesses as well. We can look at a few companies that came to us needing help to price large contracts to respond quickly to the government's needs to respond to areas of the Pandemic. In one recent incident, a company needed to quickly price and respond to a request for proposal from the government for a $125M contract to help feed people in need. ReliAscent was able to flexibly adapt and help the company secure this contract and therefore help the government fight the pandemic. In addition, ReliAscent was able to quickly come up to speed on the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) to help companies that were in need of temporary funding to keep the company running. This continually changing landscape now includes an almost daily changes in the requirements for forgiveness of the loans for the companies (to help them survive) and ReliAscent has been able to change focus and stay up to the latest information on these programs for our clients. So rapid adaptation to changing needs is another positive from the pandemic.
These difficult times will come to pass one day (to quote a favorite line from my mother while I was growing up) but I really think we need to focus on the positives. We should celebrate the public servants and the essential workers that have kept our country alive and helped many of us in need. We should celebrate all the positives that come out of this, especially the positives close to each of us individually. And finally, we should try to not focus on the negatives as they too will come to pass.