So much about the trajectory of COVID-19 is uncertain. News reports predict outbreaks will end in 2021, while epidemiologists say the virus may become endemic, like colds or the flu. One thing is clear: business is changing, possibly permanently. Solutions such as Earned Wage Access (EWA), automation, and flexible work arrangements may be in all our futures.
While no one has a crystal ball, the view from June 2020 suggests five ways your business will change:
1) You will need to offer online options.
Even with businesses reopening, customers may be uneasy participating the way they used to.
Almost one in four Americans polled in April 2020 reported they might not feel comfortable going back to malls for six months or more. One-third of respondents said they wouldn’t feel comfortable traveling internationally for at least that long.
Offering online services, pickup and delivery, and e-commerce options will increase your ability to woo these customers to your business.
2) You will feel pressure to automate.
One way to maintain social distancing is to invest in robotics and automation. With about 42 percent of jobs lost in the pandemic expected to be permanent losses, businesses are already experimenting with possibilities, including drone delivery, AI room service, and robot bartenders.
3) You will adopt flexible work arrangements for the long term.
Some estimates suggest that 25–30 percent of the American workforce will work from home at least part time by the end of 2021. Some already do, and businesses are motivated to extend the trend: during lockdown, work-from-home arrangements saved employers more than thirty billion dollars daily.
4) You will come to see EWA as part of the “new normal.”
As health care, grocery shopping, and concerts went online during the pandemic, customers became used to instant access. Waiting for anything now seems quaint and unnecessary, so shouldn’t employers offer their workers instant access to wages?With EWA,you can align payroll with current on-demand business models.
5) You will meet new personnel challenges in the online workplace.
Offering feedback, maintaining employee engagement, and building a culture come with unique challenges in the online workplace. Keeping workers engaged with telework may mean offering more attractive perks, such as more flexible work arrangements, strong feedback, EWA, and other benefits.
Offering instant access to wages is one way for you and your employees to gain some control in these uncertain times, a meaningful way to pivot to a post-COVID business model. Browse PayActiv case studies to see the difference EWA can make across industries.
 Alyssa Meyers, “When Consumers Say They’ll Feel OK about Dining Out and Other Activities,” Morning Consult, April 10, 2020, https://morningconsult.com/2020/04/10/consumer-expectations-normal-activities-comfortable/.
 Jose Maria Barrero, Nick Bloom, and Steven J. Davis, “COVID-19 Is Also a Reallocation Shock,” Becker Friedman Institute Working Paper No. 2020-59, University of Chicago, June 21, 2020, https://bfi.uchicago.edu/wp-content/uploads/BFI_WP_202059.pdf.
 Kate Lister, “Work-at-Home After COVID-19—Our Forecast,” Global Workplace Analytics, https://globalworkplaceanalytics.com/work-at-home-after-covid-19-our-forecast.
 Lister, “Work-at-Home After COVID-19—Our Forecast.”
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