The pandemic is shaping literally everything we do. Why? Because – unlike any previous catastrophe (well, except for climate change) – it is pervasive. You can’t escape it – not forever. Sure, if you’re lucky, you can bunker off to your private island, perhaps even live off the land for a while. But the virus is airborne (as many viruses are), and is spread quite effectively around the world by air movement big and small. It will find you – it’s more a matter of what do you do when it finds you.
So why this digression? Because…most of us don’t have a private island. Most of us will keep working away at our job boards and recruiting sites. We will have to live with the virus. If we’re lucky, someday a halfway decent vaccine will appear; in the meantime, we have masks and wipes.
But what do we do when the virus affects our business? I don’t mean the immediate effects, which we’re all dealing with – double-digit drops in open positions, vanishing recruitment budgets, and the like. I’m talking about how the virus could wipe out certain parts of the economy. For example: will restaurants ever recover? Will diners ever feel comfortable enough to return to indoor dining en masse? We know that the likelihood of infection goes up in confined spaces, with lots of people and air recirculation. That kind of sounds like a restaurant, doesn’t it? And remember, outside dining only gets you so far – think about eating outside in Buffalo, New York, in January. Umm…no thanks!
Just imagine – you’re one of the thousands of job boards and recruiting platforms around the world that has focused on restaurants – and now you’re looking at a world where that sector may be reduced by half – or more.
What do you do?
Maybe you start listening to those whose job is the future. A good futurist might be thinking, ‘Well, people still like to socialize and eat, and they want to get out of the house – so how could they do it without getting sick?’. Or she might be thinking, ‘Automation is the answer – less staff, lower costs, easier to make the numbers work with reduced seating.’ Or even, ‘Sit down is going to be only for the uber-rich. The rest of us will have to settle for fast-casual drive through.’ Each of those answers have different implications for staffing – and for what your job board or recruiting service would need to provide. You as job board operator can’t predict which way things will go – but you can start preparing alternatives.
Or…you can jump out of your niche and into a new one. But – and I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell you this – that jump will bring new risks.
Food (ahem) for thought.
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