How Proactive Companies Thrived During the COVID-19 Pandemic

By Varun Talluri (‘23)

The picture symbolizes how Google was prepared for and able to overcome COVID-19. Image courtesy of Forbes.

Ordering items from Amazon, attending classes via Zoom, binge-watching your favorite TV shows, and staying at home. Due to the recent pandemic, this is a reality all too familiar for us. As soon as we thought that things were starting to get back to normal, Thanksgiving arrived and people travelled for the occasion.  In addition to the already rising COVID-19 cases in the United States, travel during Thanksgiving likely led to further spread of coronavirus and has once again brought a sense of fear to the general public. However, the news of vaccines has eased the worries of the general public and many are hopeful for stability in the economy in the coming months. As the future looks hopeful for many businesses, let’s look back on two companies that were able to weather the coronavirus. Although these companies seem like dominating figures in the market, everyone can learn an essential skill from them: the ability to create an effective plan

Amazon:

As stores and restaurants have been shut down all across the world because of the coronavirus pandemic, an already flourishing sector has experienced further growth: e-commerce. So, it should come as no surprise that Amazon, the leading e-commerce company, took many decisions to sustain the drastically increasing demand. As businesses struggled during the coronavirus pandemic, many workers have been let go. According to Statista, the US unemployment rate skyrocketed to 14.7% from it’s previous 4.4% unemployment rate in March of 2020. On the contrary, according to CNBC, Amazon has been taking measures to increase their labor force as  “The company brought on more than 175,000 new warehouse and delivery workers between March and mid-April to be able to fulfill customer orders. Amazon added 36,400 people in the three months ended June 30, bringing its head count to 876,800, an increase of 34% year over year”(Palmer 1). Furthermore, the same source mentioned how Amazon implemented various cleaning methods, social distancing precautions, and increased testing for the safety of its workers. Needless to say, Amazon was a very strategic opportunist when dealing with the coronavirus and quickly made adjustments to best maximize their profits.

Google:

Another company that took various precautions in preparation for this pandemic was Google. In fact, Google has a team known as Google’s Growth Lab which specializes in creating action plans for events like the coronavirus. According to Think With Google, the team created an action plan in which Google reflected upon the needs of the consumer when prioritizing what areas the company should focus on. As a reward for their proactiveness, Google saw a huge spike of people using their services and soared on the stock market with revenue in the first quarter of about 41.2 billion dollars — almost 5 billion dollars greater than their 1st quarter revenue last year. However, Google is not impenetrable and was forced to make sacrifices due to the pandemic. According to the Washington Post, Google is planning to slow hiring and stop construction of most offices. Although the company has faced some setbacks, Google has minimized the consequences of the pandemic and was able to benefit from it as well.

All in all, these companies both made the most of these difficult times by implementing a plan. Even though Amazon and Google had very different responses, their changes were systematic and well-thought out, allowing these companies to flourish. The companies mentioned above reaffirm the importance of planning and how, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

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