- For many nations, the huge life changes brought about by the pandemic restrictions led to FOMO being replaced by FOGO – the Fear of Going Out.
- New Zealand followed the pandemic guidebook adequately provided by the scientist and doctors and is still battling to combat the spread of virus after the two new cases reported on 16 June 2020.
- Embracing remote work and virtual collaboration were the most impactful measures employers pursued to address the complexity of the public health and economic crisis.
- New Zealand government followed effective communication coupled with economic stimulus measures to support the citizens and businesses.
On 8 June 2020, New Zealand became the first nation in the world to be 'COVID-19 free' with no active COVID-19 cases in the country. New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern led the battle of COVID-19 with uptight lockdown and her firm, vigorous, and timely strategies.
New Zealand began a phase of renewed life after the removal of lockdown and eased restrictions allowing people to step out of their households and expand their social ‘bubbles’ to reconnect with family and friends.
However, New Zealand was brought to a halt after its twenty-four days track of being coronavirus free region and reported two fresh COVID-19 cases on 16 June 2020, possibly from overseas returned New Zealanders. The Government and authorities did warn the public of return of cases once overseas New Zealanders return.
As at 2:08 pm on 3 July 2020, COVID-19 cases in New Zealand stood at 1,530.
An interesting watch: Stupendous Recovery from COVID19 New Zealand puts up a great SHOW!
Let’s go through three tips that Kiwi Businesses followed to manage the lockdown scenario:
Adoption of Online Models
COVID-19 pandemic led to a situation so unusual that not even the ones who prepared a plan for doomsday could have had a plan in place. Before 25 March 2020, when most of the kiwi companies were asked to shut their doors to contain the spread of the COVID-19 across the nation, a virus had not been part of forecasting of companies.
Businesses immediately turned on their heads, with any company that didn’t have a robust pre-existing digital presence in the form of e-commerce or m-commerce suddenly felt a critical need for one.
Amid lockdown and social distancing norms, various consumers practised their retail therapy online and adjusted with the new ways of digital shopping.
The growth in online buying encouraged various businesses to move to an online marketplace and emulate with the trend to reach a broader consumer base.
You must have heard about Kathmandu Holdings Limited (NZX:KMD), a wholesaler and retailer of footwear, clothing, and equipment for adventure and travel.
Well, during 18 May to 28 June 2020, the Company witnessed an upsurge in the online platform sales of Rip Curl same store by 151 per cent and Kathmandu same store by 78 per cent on pcp.
Did you read; Ignoring Retail Stocks? You May Miss the Boat!
Working from home, the new normal?
Working from home is the new, transformed operational model of businesses based on higher flexibility and remote ways of working. Companies adapted to remote working very quickly amidst COVID-19 induced lockdown to minimise business disruption and maintain business continuity.
Remote working had moved the white-collar workers from office spaces to their own private comfort space at home, thereby, offering numerous benefits such as less commuting, shorter breaks, and greater focus.
Furthermore, this new shift in working had provided businesses with resilient and transformed ways to engage with the business environment and deliver value.
The business environment has transformed considerably. The question is whether this long-term change is yet to be seen? Both companies and consumers have adapted to a new normal, which emerged with new opportunities as well as new challenges.
Connectivity has never been so crucial to Kiwis. Staying in touch with the workmates virtually had been vital for nation’s wellbeing and the economy as they weather the virus storm.
A growing list of businesses added their weight to remote working and more flexible working arrangements, assisted by technology and video-conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Slack and Google Meet.
Demand for digital and cloud services were evolved amid pandemic as organisations were exploring methods to keep themselves operational in times of lockdown and embraced new ways of working remotely.
Do you know, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) had unveiled its plans to expand its data centre trail with the launch in Aotearoa, New Zealand? This new addition would enable its customers to access cloud services, inclusive of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, Built-In Trust and Security.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic situation, digital payment services had also witnessed a positive push as people were looking for contactless transactions which were safer and did not require physical contact.
Several payment types such as contactless methods (PayWave), digital payments online and on top of that ApplePay and Android Pay available on phone facilitated the payments during the lockdown period.
Did you read: Online Boom – Kiwi businesses that have benefitted
Effective communication at all levels with the people and businesses.
The Government maintained effective communication before the implementation of lockdown by sending emergency text messages to all the residents of the nation with an explanation about the lockdown.
The Government made clear, precise, transparent and resource backed information that helped the citizens and businesses to enrich their knowledge about lockdown measures and levels.
Economic stimulus measures to support businesses
Of late, Revenue Minister Stuart Nash said that the COVID-19 Response (Taxation and other Regulatory Urgent Measures) Bill would serve beneficial to the businesses as they would be refunded over NZD3 billion.
Businesses were also supported outside the tax system with ~ NZD12 billion as wage subsidies, meaning affected businesses would receive support directly from the Government to keep their staff on.
On 5 June 2020, Minister of Finance, announced an extension for the Small Business Cashflow Scheme and the Wage Subsidy Scheme until 24 July 2020, allowing firms with additional duration to access the low-cost loans amid COVID-19.