Back in April last year I wrote an article on “Restarting your business will feel like juggling while running a marathon” and it still feels like this nearly nine months later.
Since many of the ideas from back then feel even more important right now, I wanted to share a summary and few new thoughts on the question “When will we be back to normal business?”.
Let's be clear, there will not be one day on which we return to normal. We will continue to run a marathon for quite a while and we will need to juggle quite a few challenges while we run.
Over the last few months, there have been a number of very encouraging developments. First and foremost, the arrival of vaccines is a clear game changer. Faster and more widespread testing capabilities help track the spread of the virus more accurately.
We have also learned that summer temperatures seem to help to reduce the spread of the virus.
So actually, in Q2 we could experience the positive cumulation of more and more people being vaccinated, spring / summer temperatures, further advances in testing and treatments and, as difficult as this is to say, also an increasing population being immune after an infection. And since the exponential curve works both ways, this could lead to a quicker end at one point in time than we might be able to imagine from today's perspective.
Until then we need to further monitor the R factor and I wanted to briefly repeat my analogy with a car here: If R, or “Rt” at any point in time, was a car, travelling a speed of 1, the disease would spread at constant speed, with the same number of new cases every day. But we want to hit the brakes and only a Rt significantly below 1 and declining, will produce the leeway for politicians to open up again:
Opening up too early carries risk of a quick and overwhelming next wave. And as I wrote earlier in the year, easing of containment measures MUST therefore come with strong testing and will only be possible, when four parameters are met in a country, state or region:
So business leaders should continue to work with their best data scientists and analysts to build a model specific to their company, to understand, when the above criteria might be met in their region(s) and how vaccination is progressing.
So let's hope that we are not told at kilometer 41, that we actually have to run more than a marathon. We made it so far and many businesses have not only demonstrated resilience but have also reinvented themselves considerably. So this will pass and if we continue to do our homework now many businesses will emerge stronger.