<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >COVID Two Years In: How We Should Be Looking Forward</span>

The COVID-19 pandemic caused chaos and created uncertainty across the business world. Two years in, we’ve seen a lot of change not just in how we handle illness but in how we prefer to work. Unfortunately, with a resurgence of cases in many countries, we may start to see mask mandates and other preventative measures return. Though Europe and North America are believed to be in the endemic phase, cases are expected to surge even more this winter with many countries already seeing spikes. The COVID tracker shows the U.S. with around 92 million cases while Canada has around 4 million.  


With the addition of Monkeypox, which currently has about 41,000 cases in the U.S. and about 1,500 in Canada, and the expectation of other rising illnesses in the future, we need to consider how we should be preparing for future pandemics. 

Sectors That Felt the Biggest Impact

Some sectors, like tourism and hospitality, saw a disproportionately negative effect, while others have thrived like never before during the initial pandemic. This has raised the question of what types of businesses, jobs, and skills will be the most competitive post-COVID. If you’re thinking of starting a business, expanding your company into a new sector, or changing your business model, pay attention to these thriving industries.

Unfortunately, there are many industries that may have thrived during the pandemic that are not continuing to grow. With inflation on the rise, several sectors are seeing a decline with many forced into layoffs. Tech layoffs are on the rise worldwide with large companies like Netflix, Hootsuite and Shopify cutting large percentages of their staff. Some cited overhiring during the periods of rapid growth during the early pandemic.


Download our whitepaper "7 Tips to Help You Hire the Right PEO" today!


The entire healthcare industry, from diagnostics and pharmaceuticals to telehealth, has been essential in the global fight against COVID-19. Innovations and investments in healthcare have exploded. For example, the use of telehealth is now nearly 40 times greater than it was pre-pandemic, and 2021 saw historic levels of investment. This sector is poised for continued growth as governments now have the financial incentives and public support to invest heavily in preparing for potential future health crises.

Cloud Computing

The remote work experiment necessitated by the pandemic led many companies to ditch their offices for good. Others are incorporating more remote opportunities for their employees, like permanently hybrid work environments. Employees who aren’t in the office still need to access internal documents, so these companies are turning to cloud-based platforms and apps to store and share information. The industry is expected to grow by nearly $500 billion by 2025.


Like cloud computing, cybersecurity is going to be more important than ever. As more companies embrace technology and distributed workforces, they will need to protect their data with secure networks. Security and privacy are critical when employees are handling sensitive data both inside and outside the office. With the average cost of a data breach rising as high as $8.86 million, it’s no surprise that cybersecurity is continuing to rise. 


The pandemic forced even the most apprehensive non-digital shopper to recognize the convenience of e-commerce. COVID-19 accelerated a trend that was long underway and will likely only continue to grow. If there’s a way for you to put your business online, do it now before you get left behind. Even with the world open once more, people are loath to give up the convenience of e-commerce.


Going hand in hand with e-commerce, the logistics sector is growing rapidly to keep up with advances in technology and globalized supply chains. The early days of the pandemic highlighted the fragility and complexity of global supply chains. As a result, businesses and governments have ramped up investment in the logistics industry to avoid future disruptions to essential industries like healthcare, food, and agriculture.

Delivery Services

The pandemic has changed how we shop forever. Whether it’s food or grocery, the demand for delivery services exploded during the lockdowns and beyond, and many continued to rely on them as restrictions fluctuated in 2021. The professional services sector, which includes these types of delivery services, has continued to grow seeing a +117% PD change from January 2020 to January 2022. 


Regardless of your sector, flexibility and adaptability will help you reform, restructure, and transform your business to thrive in the “new normal”. A professional employer organization (PEO) may help you drive the growth you’re looking for.

Preparing for the Next Pandemic

COVID numbers are on the rise once more and we can’t rule out the potential for future pandemics. If the COVID lockdowns taught us anything, it’s that we need to be better prepared for the unpredictable changes in world health. 


One thing to come out of the pandemic that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere is the expectation for flexibility in the workplace. A study found that 65% of those who worked remotely during the pandemic wanted to continue working remotely, with 31% wanting hybrid options. 


Gartner believes the future is hybrid. With 75% of hybrid or remote knowledge workers having increased expectations of flexibility in the workplace, we can’t help but agree. Today, 73% of employees want flexible work options while 83% want the option for hybrid work arrangements.


We’re not the only ones who agree. A recent study released by AT&T stated hybrid work will be the default by 2024. The hybrid model is an excellent option for employers and employees and it keeps companies prepared for forced remote work should future pandemics cause similar lockdowns. 

Canada is seeing a shift away from the office even after most companies have returned to work as normal. There are plenty of resources for employees and employers on how to prepare for remote, hybrid, and flexible work.  


Companies need to prepare beyond simply prepping for the next COVID wave. It is important for employers to have plans in place to protect their employees during pandemics. Remote work is simply one part of this, though organizations should have a detailed plan on what to do should forced remote work be implemented again in the future.


As one of the largest professional employer organizations (PEO) in North America, The Payroll Edge can help you expand even in uncertain times. Make us part of your growth strategy, contact us today.