TMCnet Feature
April 22, 2020

Heidi Zaransky Shares What Companies are Doing to Cope with COVID-19 Losses

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many businesses are looking to stay upright while their revenue goes down. And it's not just less revenue, it's less staff to handle demand. While some businesses are being forced to shut down altogether, others are turning to downsizing and laying off employees to continue operations. A survey near the beginning of March found that about a quarter of employers planned to downsize if the situation became worse.

Heidi Zaransky owns a leasing company, which is the largest of its kind in Illinois, that provides financial products and advice about transportation needs to Fortune 500 companies. She shares what companies are doing to cope with losses due to COVID-19.

Finding Ways To Continue Operations

There are some types of companies that are being hit harder than others, notes Heidi Zaransky. For example, restaurants have had their dining areas shut down in some states, so they have turned to take-out and delivery instead. Some states have even allowed restaurants to serve take-out alcohol with the food as a way for them to earn back some of their lost profits.

Meanwhile, some of the top food delivery services offered to waive fees to restaurants and even take on restaurant workers impacted financially so they can stay afloat until the pandemic is over.

The travel and tourism industry has also been hit especially hard, as countries close borders to non-essential travelers. But while the big airlines are taking a hit, smaller private jet companies are reportedly saw an uptick in business.

Meanwhile, less travel also spells trouble for hotel chains that are normally seeing a healthy stream of bookings. But while some chains are waiving cancellation fees and lowering rates (especially at the luxury level), data cited suggests more than 650,000 hotel rooms were vacant across the country as of April 9. Hotels are responding by laying off positions such as bartenders and valets to make up for the shortfall.

Remote Workers Surge

Companies that cannot have their staff convene in a workplace during the pandemic have turned more heavily to remote work, explains Heidi Zaransky.

While this presents unique challenges to companies that are not used to having staff work remotely, such as beefing up cybersecurity, there are some indications that those working from home might actually be more productive and that there may still be a shift towards remote work when the virus crisis is over.

More Attention To Cash Flow

While the financial stress piles up, many companies are looking more closely at their cash flow forecasts, making allowance for important expenses that can't be avoided. Some companies are offering discounts if paid in cash or if invoices are paid quicker, adds Heidi Zaransky.

Meanwhile, some businesses have become more apt to log their liabilities and losses from COVID-19 so they can have a better chance of turning to insurance or getting compensation down the road.

It's Not All Bad News, says Heidi Zaransky

For companies that already rely on delivery (including those who deliver food), they may be helping gig economy workers by hiring more to meet online ordering demand, explains Heidi Zaransky. For example, online shopping giant Amazon said it has already hired 100,000 workers, with plans to hire 75,000 more. 

Package delivery jobs rose steadily in March, as did demand for those in the storage and transportation sectors. Meanwhile, for essential services such as grocery stores, more people are being hired to help out at warehouses and even to bulk up front-line checkout staff.

And while big automakers have essentially been shut down during the pandemic, some of them are finding a new purpose by using their production capacity to produce ventilators for coronavirus patients, which requires workers.

There are about 22 million Americans out of work according to recent reports, but some companies have offered furloughs to staff. This is when a company will temporarily suspend jobs of some staff (without pay), with the expectation their job will continue at a later date.

While America waits to get back to work, some companies continue to find ways to survive and even thrive during the lockdowns, notes Heidi Zaransky.

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