By Evan Hackel
A front-page article in The New York Times today reports that a crisis is about to cripple office rentals in most major American cities. More and more people are comfortable working at home. More companies are realizing that they can save a lot of money by letting their employees do exactly that. And large office buildings are in trouble, scrambling to find ways to replace their rental income.
What a period we are living through. Every day there is another world-changing trend to consider.
What further changes will we see during the recovery that lies ahead, and how will they affect our way of doing business?
Some of the changes to expect will be pretty obvious:
- Our businesses could be facing less competition because other companies have closed
- Vacant, available real estate will be more abundant
- We will have more leverage to negotiate with landlords
- We will have the advantage of tapping into a large workforce of people who will be eager to take jobs
- We will consider hiring employees who work for multiple companies, maybe even our competitors
But there are subtler changes to think about too. Here is one of the most important trends that is taking place.
Successful Businesses Will Offer People Ways to Socialize
People who have been working from their homes are already looking for ways to establish and maintain personal connections with other people, often on a much higher level than before. Some examples include:
- Fitness and health clubs are going to become more popular, not just because of the need for fitness, but because of the need for people to socialize and connect.
- Restaurants are already finding new ways that allow people to socialize. One example is Painting with a Twist, a chain of restaurants where people can enjoy wine, socialize, and create paintings and crafts.
- Businesses of all kinds are offering classes, podcasts, informational sessions where customers can connect and share meaningful experiences together.
I would encourage you to find ways to hold events, host private parties, and become a place that offers customers a chance to get out of their homes, meet other people, and have fun.
Consider Trying Loyalty Programs Too
During the pandemic, we have seen that many home delivery applications offer loyalty programs to repeat buyers. After customers have ordered a certain number of times, for example, their next order is either free or significantly discounted. But loyalty programs can be used by all kinds of businesses, not only those that deliver.