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covid-19 benefits

COVID-19 Benefits

By Jason Watson, CPA

Posted March 21, 2020

Here we are on March 21, 2020. Many of us are sequestered in our home trying to figure out basic life matters like food and budgets, and having where the heck do we go from here thoughts. Amidst all the chaos, granular yet annoying death toll updates and financial uncertainty, we wanted to take a moment to turn to the future and imagine life on the backside of COVID-19. The good side of COVID-19. The benefits of COVID-19. Huh?

Family Time, Good Side #1

A lot of people are stuck at home; no activities. No distractions. No rides to the mall. Teenagers unable to work at Baskin Robbins. Relying on Domino’s pizza (don’t forget their amazing brownies). Time to break out Yahtzee and toss some dice! Every night becomes family night. Perhaps after all the crazy we can re-acquire our love for the basics of family time and fostering familial relationships. We’ll probably slip back into just being busy, but it is nice to dream a bit.

Better Education, Good Side #2

Students are having to pivot to an online learning environment. For some, this was already the norm. Many classes are held online, especially at the college level. But now K-12 schools are scrambling to become online educations experts. This is awesome. Perhaps in high school, students can take a class online and not be stuck in school for so many hours. Perhaps students can get a jump on college classes while attending high school. Snow days? Gone… fire up the tablet or laptop, and webex with your teachers.

In our current digital era, to think of sitting in classrooms with textbooks seems amazingly archaic. COVID-19 is demanding a new way of life… and a new way of education. The hurry-up solution after a few tweaks might become a permanent one. Think of teenagers being introduced to time management demands at an earlier age, and heading into adulthood armed with better skills. Also, not everyone learns the same; the online method might yet another tool in the toolbox for learning adaptation.

Yes, we are herding animals not different than zebras, cows and goats. Yes, we will still herd… but learning and other activities might be permanently altered.

Work from Home, Good Side #3

WCG was already built to work from home as online tax accountants. Paperless office. Scattered clients throughout the country. Embracing technology. But! We only permitted work from home one day per week. Why? Many organizational behavior specialists suggest that working from home increases productivity but it also dampens collaboration. Ok, that might make sense but why? Perhaps the dampened collaboration is a human psyche that we simply need to overcome. So Bob isn’t at his desk; give Bob a call and pick his brain just the same. A paradigm shift derived from coronavirus where we are not as reliant on face-to-face interactions.

Just like school… snow days… gone! Connect to the office while the snow falls, and get stuff done. GSD! Some say the S isn’t stuff.

Environment Considerations, Good Side #4

More family time means less traveling. Online education and working from home means less commuting. All this means less traffic… less demands on our infrastructures… less pollution. According to BBC, researchers in New York City show a 50% reduction in carbon monoxide these past weeks as compared to the previous year.

Better Crisis Management, Good Side #5

COVID-19 caught us with our pants down. We were unprepared from a medical supplies perspective… food supply and distribution networks were grossly unprepared… readiness for businesses to pivot their workflow to a digital environment was poor. This just names a few. If given enough time and enough access to a ton of people, the Better Crisis Management list would be massive. The COVID-19 benefits include better preparedness.

Better Safety Habits, Good Side #6

We have learned how an open-air market in China can dramatically affect the rest of the world. In other words, no matter how clean you are here… if someone else upwind from you isn’t doing their part, it still affects you. While human behavior rarely considers the downstream effects, COVID-19 might force people… and more importantly… force legislators and enforcers… around the globe to crackdown on poor safety and hygiene habits. Until today, we didn’t care what some group of people in Wuhan did. Now we will be kicking everyone’s butts around the world if their actions are reckless. Yes, the great people of Wuhan had no idea… they do now… we all do now… and we will all become less reckless with our actions because of it.

New Shopping, Good Side #7

Blue Apron and Green Chef have been around for a bit… those are the ones who ship you ingredients that you assemble. We also have Freshly, which actually makes meals to your liking and ships them to you door. Amazon bought Whole Foods. Uber Eats picks up your food. All these businesses are going to be expanding rapidly as people see the benefits of delivered food. Royal Crest Dairy, and others like it, were seeing their market share decrease slowly over time from the height of the 60s and 70s. Now they are back, stronger than ever. Dry goods and non-perishables will be purchased more and more online. Lots of good shopping changes coming up… they were already on the way, but now they are being accelerated.

This blog post is also available on LinkedIn- https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/covid-19-benefits-jason-watson-cpa

Jason Watson, CPA is the Managing Partner of WCG Inc., a business consultation and tax preparation CPA firm located in Colorado Springs, and is the author of Taxpayer’s Comprehensive Guide on LLC’s and S Corps which is available online and from average retailers.