Any business with onsite operations had to make adjustments in 2020. Every worker, from those in offices sitting behind desks to manufacturing professionals to home service technicians to retail and food service workers, have had to adopt new processes and procedures to maintain a safe, healthy and productive work environment.
Those changes have necessitated the adoption of a lot of new or innovative tools. Some of them, like masks, aren’t particularly technological in nature. Others, like apps or a greater emphasis on e-commerce, wouldn’t have been possible just 10 or 20 years ago.
Curbside Pickup and App Check-In
Curbside pickup is one of those social distancing tools that wasn’t commonly used until relatively recently. For the past couple years, businesses like Walmart, Target and BestBuy have allowed customers to make purchases online and go to customer service counters in the store to pick up their purchases.
Restaurants have been doing something similar for as long as people have had phones – curbside pickups are essentially carryout orders but for everything from groceries to electronics.
A variation of curbside pickup is even being used for more service-oriented types of business. People with pets can drive to their vet and wait in the parking lot until it’s their dog or cat’s turn to go in. They set their dog or cat down in their kennel/carrier outside of their car, get back in their vehicle, then the veterinary tech comes out, picks up their pet and takes it inside. Then the same happens in reverse and the pet owner leaves.
Phone stores like Verizon and AT&T have adopted a similar process where customers can make appointments online, wait in the parking lot until it’s their turn, then go inside.
Many of these curbside and app check-in solutions have been facilitated by either specially designed apps or through existing text messaging platforms.
Telemedicine has been around for years, but it never really caught on quite like it did during the pandemic. Analysts project growth of about 64.3 percent in telehealth services in 2020, with a five-year annual compound growth rate of 38.2 percent. Studies suggest about 80 percent of physicians were offering some level of telehealth in 2020, especially for services like prescription renewals and post-discharge follow-ups.
Businesses of all types have been able to maintain some degree of normalcy during shutdowns and prolonged periods of working from home thanks in part to the ability to continue having meetings. Teams can still speak face to face and have strategy meetings as frequently as need be, they just don’t do it in the same room around a conference table.
Anyone with children and students in college know that video conferencing isn’t reserved for businesses. Video conferencing has seen huge growth in educational applications, with thousands of schools at every level adopting some type of video conferencing to get the 2020 school year started off at something like a normal time.
Zoom, maybe the most familiar name in the video conferencing space, expects revenue to grow by 200 percent and profits by 300 percent in 2020.
While not COVID-related, additive manufacturing, maybe more widely known as 3D printing, has made the manufacturing industry exponentially more accessible to SMBs. It’s especially been a boon for entrepreneurs in that entire assembly lines don’t need to be retooled to produce a limited-run product, making small-scale production more feasible for smaller producers.
3D printing has also dramatically changed the way all types of manufacturers, big and small, have been able to prototype. The slow and expensive process of creating prototypes of any product using traditional die and mold methods requires making new molds and extensive milling and machining for even small changes.
Product designers can now easily produce several different options or make small tweaks using 3D printers. Prior to additive manufacturing, making alternative options for testing would be considered an exorbitant luxury for small businesses and entrepreneurs. Now it’s just a matter of tweaking a 3D model and waiting for the product to finish printing.
While not necessarily a new technology, coworking spaces are generally considered to be a recent trend in workplace environments. The coworking business has been growing since 2005, and more rapidly in recent years. Pre-COVID predictions suggested nearly 1,700 new coworking spaces would be opened in 2020 alone.
Ultimately, projections suggest coworking spaces will only see about half the growth previously predicted for 2020, but they are still expected to grow about 21 percent yearly from 2021 through 2024.
The pandemic hasn’t altered the benefits of coworking spaces. Like additive manufacturing, coworking space allows entrepreneurs and SMBs to compete with nationwide industry leaders in that they enable small operations to nearly match capabilities for a fraction of the cost.
Businesses that may have had hiring constraints due to space limitations or cost concerns can use coworking spaces to rapidly hire and house new workers for a low, flat monthly fee.
Enjoy the Benefits of Shared Workspaces in Tempe
If you’re a SMB or entrepreneur that is looking for an affordable alternative to entering into a commercial lease but don’t want to sacrifice amenities like onsite gyms or high-speed internet, MAC6 may be a great home for you and your employees.
Call (480) 582-2200 to book a tour of our coworking campus.